Invention and evolution of the bicycles
Traditionally bicycles are two-wheeled and self-propelled modes of transport. The first design of one was back in 1817 and was created by Karl von Drais. Bicycles have come a long way since then and come in many different forms. Here is a short history to get you up to speed.
Bicycles have been a means of transportation since the early 1800s.
Over the decades they have been shaped by design, developed for better performance, and improved so that we can reach high speeds.
These human-powered vessels have served as the design basis for human-powered transport.
But do you know who invented bicycles? Or when was the first one made?
In this article, we will explore the history of bicycles.
Who Invented the First Bicycle?
Bicycles have evolved over the last two hundred years, and it all started in 1817.
Karl von Drais, a German baron, designed a two-wheeled contraption that was one of the first bicycles ever made.
It was made of wood and had no peddles, brakes, or chain.
The rider would ride the bike and then kick his feet to gain momentum.
This invention earned many names like; "Hobby horse", "treadmill" and "velocipede".
Drais is known as the father of bicycles.
When was the turning point in bicycle design?
It wasn't until the 1860s that the bicycle really began to develop into the form that we use today.
French inventors Pierre Lallement, Pierre Michaux and Ernest Michaux worked on creating pedal bicycles.
The initial designs had the pedal attached to the front wheel, and these were what we know as penny-farthings.
The front wheel was considerably larger than the rear, and there were pedals at the front, with a small seat and handlebars.
This design became known as the "bone breaker" for its bumpy ride.
These really took off in the 1870s - 1880s and were the inspiration for the creation of competitive racing and bike clubs.
In 1884, the Englishman Thomas Stevens embarked on a trip around the world with a penny.
How did the "bone breaker" influence the design of bicycles?
Although the penny was the turning point in the development of bicycle design, they were difficult to ride.
With a seat perched at 4 ft (1.2 m), the bike was not only difficult to ride, it was also unsafe if dropped.
Therefore, in 1885, the English designer John Kemp Starley invented the "safety bicycle" called the Rover.
This was a breakthrough in bicycle design at the time.
The safety bike had wheels of equal size and a chain drive, followed shortly after by brakes and tires.
This was the template for what we call today a bicycle.
In the 1890s, bicycles became the latest fad in Europe and the United States.
In 1889 the first safety bicycle for women was launched, making transportation available to everyone.
The safety bike was the catalyst in the design of human-powered transportation.
When were unicycles invented?
Unicycles are one-wheel bikes and surprisingly, they were not invented before two-wheel bikes.
The first design for a The unicycle was patented in 1869 and was based on the penny-farthing design.
Unicycles are considerably more difficult to ride than a two-wheeled bicycle, and therefore they were associated with entertainers.
Skill was needed to ride and ride a unicycle, as there were no handlebars to balance and very few could do it successfully.
Are electric bikes a modern adaptation to the safety bike?
You might think electric bikes are a pretty modern adaptation of the original human-powered bikes, but they're just as old!
Soon after the safety bike was designed, the development of different types of bikes began.
The first electric bicycle was patented in December 31,1895, by American inventor Ogden Bolton Jr.
This design had a 10-volt battery connected that would provide around 100 amps to the motor.
In 1897, Hosea W. Libbey invented an electric bicycle that had a double electric motor.
The Japanese automotive company Yamaha built one of the first prototypes of a "" in 1989. The
electric bicycle development of electric bicycles continued for a few years in the US, but it was not until the 1990s that there was considerable progress.
Who Invented the Folding Bicycle?
It wasn't until the early 20th century that people began to show interest in the concept of a folding bicycle.
The Danish engineer Mikael Pedersen invented the first folding bicycle in Britain in 1900.
It was developed for the British Army and weighed 15 pounds (6.8 kg) and had 24-inch (60 cm) wheels.
Although it was designed for military use, it also became popular with the public.
The design was the first of its kind; however, it was not folded but separated into two parts.
Pederson's "Folding & Military" bike was phased out within 4 years of launch.
It was not until 60 years later, in 1962, when Moulton launched its “Stowaway” folding bike model, that folding bikes became fashionable again.
How many types of bicycles are there?
It is difficult to put a number to the exact number of bicycle designs available today, as there are many brands that create bicycles around the world.
Some of the most common types of bikes are mountain bikes, road bikes, cruisers, tandems, BMX bikes, and many more.
The bikes are designed to suit specific terrain and climates, as well as speeds.
You can find a bike for virtually any type or style of riding, and many companies make custom bikes to meet your needs.
There are hundreds of bicycle designers and manufacturers around the world, and between 15 and 20 million bicycles are sold in the US each year.
Bicycles are an important human-powered mode of transportation.
Without them, we would depend on walking, trains, or using vehicles that would limit our travels.
Not only are they an eco-friendly way to get around, but they are also a great form of daily exercise.