Recently I have had some extra time on my hands. I have been combing the internet for some good info on bicycle design and other gleams of inspiration. I found that on Google Books that there are some really good books on bicycles way back to 1876. I was amazed at what level bicycles were at in 1898, most things were already figured out way back then. One book in particular that I enjoyed was called The Modern Bicycle, by Rider, Dealer and Makerr. It is free and you can view and Download a copy here.
Chapter 15 really cracked me up, Freaks and Useless Devices.
The book starts with a history of bicycles from 1806-1899 and then goes on to describe individual componets, hub, frame, chain, lamos , tires etc. Grab a copy and see what you think.