Birth of Cycling

The first machine use the principles of a bicycle was invented and patented in 1817 in Mannheim, Germany by Karl von Drais. This was the Laufmaschine (Known on England as the Hobby Horse).

The term bicycle (velocipede) was coined in France in the 1860s and was applied to the first really popular and commercially successful design developed around 1863 by the Michaux Company of Paris.

The design used rotary cranks and pedals mounted to the front wheel hub. Pedalling made it easier for riders to propel the machine at speed, but the rotational speed limitation of this design created stability and comfort problems – leading them to be termed “Boneshakers” and led to the large front wheel of the "penny farthing".

The high-wheeled bicycle (nicknamed the “Penny farthing”) was the logical extension of the boneshaker, the front wheel enlarging to enable higher speeds (limited by the inside leg measurement of the rider), the rear wheel shrinking and the frame being made lighter.

Hobby Horse

The Frenchman Eugene Mayer invented the wire-spoke tension wheel in 1869 and produced a classic high bicycle design until the 1880s. The development of the Safety bicycle was arguably the most important change in the history of the bicycle.

It shifted their use and public perception from being a dangerous toy for sporting young men to being an everyday transport tool for men—and, crucially, women - of all ages.

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