Who Invented the concept of cycling?
Did you know that cycling was the first ever human driven vehicle known to mankind after the traditional horse carriage? Amazing isn’t it.
In 1817, Karl Von Drais, a German baron, invented a horseless carriage that would help him get around faster. His machine, known as the “swiftwalker,” hit the road in 1817.
The first ever designed Bicycle had two wheels and no pedal. It had a wooden frame and a seat for the rider. The vehicle needed to be propelled by pushing your feet against the ground. This pedal less feet propelled machine came to known as “Draisine” after the inventor “Karl Von Drais”, the first design of the modern day Bicycle. The two-wheeled, pedal-less device was propelled by pushing your feet against the ground. The machine became known as the “Draisine,” and led to the creation of the modern-day bicycle.
What is the history of Cycling?
Did you know that the Bicycle was the first means of transport after the horse carriage?
As they say need is the mother of all inventions. Cycling was developed in the early 18th century.
After the traditional Horse carriage which included taming a horse and having a dedicated horseman, to cut cost and dependency on others the Draisine was developed.
Draisine was a vehicle which had a wooden frame with two wheels at one in front the other at the back. It had a seat for the rider to rest his torso on. This vehicle needed to be propelled by pushing the feet against the ground.
It was much more comfortable than walking and faster too.
The term bicycle was coined in France in the 1860s, and the descriptive title “Penny Farthing“, used to describe an “Ordinary Bicycle“, is a 19th-century term.
Gian Giacomo Caprotti, have you ever heard about him. Apparently he was this naughty little lad who belonged to humble backgrounds. Apparently he used to be a pupil of Leonardo Da Vinci, he was fondly called Salai. Back in the early 1500 AD,Salai claimed to have sketched the Draisine . Leter in 1998 it was proved to be a purposeful fraud by Hans-Erhad Lessing.
However the italians still believe that the bicycle sketch was indeed a genuinely designed by Salai.
Quick facts about Cycling:
Did you know the longest tandem bicycle seated 35 people. It was more than 20 meters long.
⦁ The longest “tandem” bicycle seated 35 people, it was more than 20 meters long
⦁ You can fit about 15 bicycles in the same space that one car occupies
⦁ It is 20 times cheaper to maintain a bicycle than a car
⦁ If the number of cyclists was tripled, the rate of motorist-bicyclist accidents would be cut in half
⦁ The world manufactures about 100 million bikes each year
⦁ Bicycle delivery services have become a significant industry over the last 30 years
⦁ The word “bicycle” was not coined until the 1860s
⦁ The Tour de France was established in 1903.
⦁ China boasts more than a half billion bicycles
⦁ In America, people use their bikes for one out of every hundred trips
⦁ The fastest bicyclist is American rider, John Howard
⦁ There are twice as many bicycles in the world than cars
Best of all you don’t need a drivers license, or money for fuel and even better keeps your health in great shape, and its all for free.
Often in heavy pursuit of honing their craft, cyclists sometimes need an extra push to remember to have fun. Cycling is one of the most fun and exhilarating sports around. It’s important to not lose sight of the things that make cycling great.
Evolution of Cycle
The pneumatic tire and the chain drive, followed by the development of gears, revolutionized bicycling in the later 1800s. In the last fifteen years, there has been a revolution of sorts in the development and use of new materials for building frames. It wasn’t that long ago that frames were made out of cast iron or even wood. Today bicycles are made out of exotic materials such as titanium, aluminum, and carbon fiber. Bicycle frames in the 1990s are lighter and stronger than ever before.
Back in the day it was an Elites pride today its a sportsman’s pride. Its ironical isn’t it, back in the days it was the rich and elite who owned cycles and as of today its the rich own flashy cars and the poor ride cycles.
Cycling is a very sort after sport as of today. One of the most easiest and non time consuming sport.
People today have cut down on their cars to cycle to work to cut the cost of fuel and workout time at the same time.
So in short back in the days when cars were not around people either, walked or cycled to their desired destinations and sometimes even swam across the rives to reach their destinations. Today we do it for recreational purpose.
Amazing isn’t it?
Picture courtesy Ironman Triathlon.
A racing bicycle frame with parts of the frameset indicated.
Age of the Velocipedes
While it might seem simple and obvious now, getting the rider’s feet completely off the ground was a major step (excuse the pun) forward in the development of the bicycle. The rider used pedal-cranks attached to the hub of a wheel to propel himself. There is a dispute as to who invented the machine that became known as the “velocipede,” but there is no question as to its impact.
The velocipedes of the mid 1800s consisted of two wooden tires, a front fork, handlebars for steering, a saddle on wooden frame, and pedals on the axle of the front wheel. The velocipede also received a nickname, the “boneshaker.” With the rider now completely mounted on the bicycle, he felt all of the bumps–the early velocipedes were not equipped for absorbing vibrations. It wasn’t until the development of the pneumatic tire that this problem was effectively addressed. At around the same time the pneumatic tire was developed (1888), lighter materials began to be used for frames, improving the ride dramatically.
Materials for Frames
By the time the modern “safety” bicycle was developed in the late 1800s most frames were made with steel tubing instead of wood or cast iron. While the steel bicycles were quite strong they were also very heavy. It was not uncommon for a bicycle of that era to weigh in at over 80 pounds (36.28 kg.).
A classic “cruiser” safety bike built in 1957. The frame is made of steel and the bike weighs nearly 50 pounds (22.68 kg).
Steel frames are still used today, but the tubing has thinner walls and weighs considerably less. Modern frame makers such as Paolo Salvagione use a variety of materials for highly specialized bikes. Paolo uses steel, aluminum, titanium, and even carbon-fiber. Which material he uses depends on the type of bike, the rider’s preference, and the cost. We asked Paolo to tell us about the unique qualities of each material.
Who is the founder of cycling?
The first bicycles were made from wood, with steel “tires”. The frame shapes were also rather wild and typically curved. Manufacturers moved towards a diamond-shaped body, made from steel tubing as it was much stronger and lighter. The boneshaker 1866.
Even though it’s a relatively recent invention, bicycle is the culminated product of many centuries of innovation.
By Christopher McFadden
Jan 21, 2021
It would be hard to imagine a world without bicycles. They are everywhere, and chances are that most or all of you reading this can or have ridden one at some point in your life.
The history of this apparently simple mode of transport is a long and interesting one but the modern bicycle, as we know it, is actually a fairly new invention.
In this article, we’ll take a quick trip through time and stop off at some of the most important innovations (and hoaxes) throughout its development.
So adjust your seat and get ready to pedal. You are in for one fun ride!
Who invented the bicycle?
As you are about the find out, the answer to this question really depends on your definition of a bicycle. Do you mean a means of transport with just two wheels? Or do you mean what is commonly referred to as a bicycle today with pedals, and chains, and pneumatic tires?
Top Articles READ MORE READ MORE Two Blasts Just Shook Kabul Airport From Suicide Bombers
If the former, the original inventor could be considered Giacomo Caprotti. Caprotti was a student of Leonardo da Vinci and is widely considered the first inventor of an early bicycle. If the latter, then the first “true” bicycle is probably the Rover Safety bicycle.
Invented by Harry John Lawson (and later refined by John Kemp Starley), the Rover had all the main features of modern bicycles. In fact, it was the template for most modern bikes.
What are some of the main milestones in bicycle history?
And so, without further ado, here are some of the major milestones in the history of the development of the bicycle. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
- A bicycle is nothing without the wheels
Year: 3500 BC to 1700s
There’s nothing that is more important to a bicycle than the wheel. Or, more precisely, a wheel and an axle. Just when this simple yet powerful combination was invented is hotly debated, but historians generally agree it originated in Mesopotamia sometime around 3500 BC. The oldest surviving example, which was found in Ur, in modern-day Iraq, dates to approximately 3100 BC.
The earliest free-spinning wheels were used as potters wheels. It took another 300 years or so for someone to figure out how to attach them to chariots. The uses for the wheel and axle combination would remain relatively unchanged for millennia until the Industrial Revolution making human-powered wheeled devices more practical.
- The first bike might have been Chinese
Year: 500 BC
Inventor/Developer: Lu Ban
Reconstruction of Lu Ban’s “bicycle”. Source: herschelian
Back in 2010, a Chinese historian produced a recreation of what he believes might have been developed 2500 years ago by a Chinese inventor Lu Ban. This is supposed to have been a large wooden device with complicated gears and pedals to make it move and was, technically speaking, a tricycle.
His findings are yet to be verified and accepted by his peers but this is certainly an interesting device.
- Early bikes also needed good roads
Year: Prehistory to the Roman Empire and beyond
Inventor/Developer: Unknown/John Macadam
Source: FHWA/Wikimedia Commons
Wheeled transportation is nothing without a fairly level and smooth surface to run on. Resistance to motion varies widely depending on the surface on which it travels, with rough surfaces much harder to move along than smooth ones.
The Romans were some of the first peoples to develop a largescale network of “paved” roads. John McAdam would further improve road technology many centuries later – literally paving the way for the viability of bicycle technology shortly after.
- Leonardo da Vinci’s pupil might have invented the bike
Inventor/Developer: Giacomo Caprotti
Source: Wikimedia Commons
For some time now there has been a debate around whether Giacomo Caprotti (a student of Leonardo da Vinci) might have made a sketch of a bicycle-like device back in 1534. The authenticity of this evidence has been called into question by many prominent historians, but others attest to its validity.
- The Celerifere was an early proto-bike
Inventor/Developer: Comte Mede de Sivrac
Source: Legendre/Wikimedia Commons
Although not strictly speaking a bicycle, the Celerifere could be considered an early precursor. It was supposedly developed by Comte Mede de Sivrac in 1790 in France – but its existence may also have been a hoax.
Most bicycle historians tend to err on the side of caution and believe it never actually existed. The general consensus seems to be that it was made up during the 19th Century by a French bicycle historian Louis Baudry de Saunier.
It was said to have lacked any steering, and had no pedals, but did ostensibly resemble the technology that would later become known as the bicycle.
RELATED: THE HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF THE WHEEL
The Celerifere, according to stories, had four wheels (though some have suggested just two) and a seat and was powered by the rider, using their feet to walk or run to push off, and then glide for a short distance.
- Mt. Tambora lays waste to horses and livestock
In 1815 Mount Tambora erupted in modern-day Indonesia. This turned out to be one of the largest volcanic eruptions in Earth’s history.
This cataclysmic event pumped so much ejecta into the Earth’s atmosphere that global temperatures fell, leading to crop failures, famine, and the starvation of horses and livestock around the northern hemisphere the following year.
At this time there were very few alternatives to animal-power for transportation and so a new, less famine-sensitive transport method was urgently needed – the gauntlet has been thrown down.
- The Laufmaschine (Draisienne) comes to the rescue, sort of
Inventor/Developer: Baron Karl von Drais
Source: Wilhelm Siegrist/Wikipedia Commons
The Laufmaschine (Draisienne in French), aka the “Running Machine” or “Hobby Horse”, was invented by Baron Karl Von Drais – a German inventor. Although it might be unrecognizable today as a bicycle next to modern examples, it did consist of a frame with two wheels.
The “Running Machine” was propelled by the operator, who was effectively walking whilst seated. This allowed for a sort of ‘gliding’ walking or running experience.
The front wheel assembly also had a handlebar that was hinged to allow for a small amount of steering. Several manufacturers in France and England made their own versions during its brief popularity in the summer of 1819.
Owing to the design of the device its utility was restricted to paved areas rather than rough roads.
- The first mechanically propelled bikes might have been Scottish
Inventor/Developer: Kirkpatrick MacMillan/Thomas McCall
Source: Lesseps/Wikimedia Commons
There is some evidence, though weak, that a Scottish Blacksmith, Kirkpatrick MacMillan, might have developed the first mechanically propelled two-wheeled vehicle. Claims made by his nephew were put forward at the time about a rear-wheel-drive system powered by mid-mounted treadles connected by rods to a rear crank (similar to locomotives).
Whether MacMillan’s creation was true or not, the first documented producer of rod-driven two-wheelers, called treadle bicycles, was one Thomas McCall in 1869.
- The Velocipede/Boneshaker is born
Inventor/Developer: Pierre and Ernest Michaux/Michaux Company
Source: Länsmuseet Gävleborg/Flickr
The Velocipede was a two-wheeled bicycle that came with pedals and cranks on its front wheel. It consisted of a combination of a wooden frame with metal tires that made for a very uncomfortable ride over cobbled streets.
It was invented in France sometime in the 1860s and was first manufactured by the Michaux Company between 1867 and 1869. The Velocipede would fall out of favor relatively quickly.
Because of its design, the device quickly earned the nickname of “Boneshaker” – a good description of what it was like to ride.
- The high-wheeler bicycle (“Penny Farthing”) takes things to a new height
Inventor/Developer: Eugène Meyer
Source: Junkyardsparkle/Wikimedia Commons
Inspired by the success of the “Boneshaker”, Eugène Meyer decided to improve on the design. This led to the creation of the high-wheeler bicycle that incorporated one large front wheel and one smaller, wire-spoked rear wheel.
The high wheel allowed the rider to travel farther with a single rotation of the pedals.
This was the first model to be officially known as a bicycle and was very popular between the 1870s and 1880s. Its metal frame and rubber tires provided a more comfortable ride than the boneshaker.
In Britain, it became known as the “Penny Farthing” after its resemblance to the British penny and farthing coins, one much larger than the other, so that the side view resembled a penny leading a farthing.
- The Rover Safety bicycle: the World’s first modern bicycle
Inventor/Developer: Harry John Lawson/John Kemp
Circa 1886 variant of the Rover Safety bicycle. Source: Karen Roe/Flickr
In 1876, Englishman Harry John Lawson invented the revolutionary Safety bicycle. This bike featured a strong metal chain driven by two pedals, along with two equally-sized wheels, and a frame very similar to that of the modern bicycle.
The true bicycle was born.
The smaller wheels meant the bicycle was closer to the ground than the Penny Farthing, making it easier to get on and off, and making stopping easier. Because the rear wheel was powered by the pedals, unlike the front wheel on the Penny Farthing, the rider’s legs were kept safely away from the front wheel. Hence the name, “Safety Bicycle”.
Lawson’s model failed to catch on because of its relatively higher price tag compared to its contemporaries. Later, another Englishman, John Kemp Starley, developed the first commercially-successful version, the Rover.
Early marketing for these bicycles focussed on their relative “safety” when compared to their predecessors – and to great success. The bike also featured direct steering, another safety feature that proved to be very popular.
- Pneumatic tires become a game-changer
Inventor/Developer: John Boyd Dunlop
Source: Geni/Wikimedia Commons
In 1888, Irish inventor, John Boyd Dunlop, came up with the clever idea of filling rubber tires with air to provide a smoother ride than existing solid-rubber tires.
Like many important inventions, Dunlop’s was born from a problem very close to his heart. His son had been prescribed a dose of cycling to help with his heavy cold by a doctor.
Dunlop noticed that his son’s ride was very uncomfortable, and decided to make it a little easier. He fitted his bike with tires made of canvas bonded with liquid rubber – and quickly patented the invention.
His invention soon caught on and was given a boost by the famous cyclist, Willie Hume, who became the first to adopt Dunlop’s tires for racing events. The rest is history.
- The 20th Century saw an explosion in bike designs
Year: 1890s – Today
The 20th Century saw an explosion in bicycle designs, though all were, at their heart, simple variations on the Safety bicycle. Minor additions were made to the bicycle design, from gearing to suspension, and there were also improvements to tire designs, like the addition of different styles of treads.
During the 1970s, the so-called “Bicycle Boom” occurred in America, as the general public became aware of the value of exercise and energy-efficient transportation.
Bicycles also became lighter and stronger, as well as more aerodynamic in design. Notable design innovations included the recumbent bicycle, BMX, and mountain bikes, with the latter being one of the first to free bicycles from the need for smooth paved surfaces.
- The future of bikes
Year: Today onwards
Source: Michael Kwan/Flickr
Over the last few years, there has been a growing trend towards the specialization of bike designs. This has led to the growth in so-called hybrid/city/cross bikes designs that combine elements of road racing and mountain bikes.
Hybrid bicycles and commuter bicycles can range from fast and light racing-type bicycles with flat bars and other minimal concessions to casual use, to wider-tired bikes designed primarily for comfort, load-carrying, and increased versatility over a range of different road surfaces.
Electric bikes have also become more popular of late – a trend that is unlikely to slow down in the future.
And that, as they say, is all folks. Have we missed any other critical events in the history of the bicycle? If so, feel free to mention them in the comments.