Bicycles have come a long way since its invention back in the19th century. They have evolved and been perfected over time but very little has changed design-wise, since first being introduced. It all began in Europe and they quietly entered in our lives in various forms. For some it was leisure for others it was work, nonetheless they changed our lifestyle forever. But how and when did the gears start shifting? What was the first crazy invention that led to people falling in line with this insane idea and further pushes its development?
The First of Its Kind – The Dandy Horse
The first model of the Bicycles was created by Baron Karl von Drais, which was named Draisienne or Laufmaschine. It was called the Dandy Horse in the west became the reference design to which later bicycles where designed.
It was the first means of transport that used two inline wheels and was steered at the front. His invention was showcased to the public in Mannheim in 1817 and then Paris in 1818. The design was very simple as the rider sat on a wooden seat and pushed bicycle with their legs while steering it using their hands.
So, began the journey of the bicycle. Invention after invention progressing the bicycle further while sticking to the initial design. This led to the velocipede, the first bicycle in mass production designed by Frenchmen Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement in the early 1960s. They were the first ones to add pedals to the bicycle, essentially making them the inventors of the bicycle.
Constant Improvements and Tinkering Led the Way for Modern Bicycles
The velocipede was made out of wood and iron, which made for an incredibly uncomfortable ride, earning it its nickname, The Boneshaker. The design continued to evolve as inventors worked tirelessly on making bicycles what they are today. Research and development led to the introduction of gears, suspensions, and various other equipment, all aiming to make the ride more comfortable, convenient and even enjoyable.
The popularity of the Bicycle pushed the numbers to 1 billion in the 21st century. This meant that they were already far ahead in numbers when compared with cars. Also, Bicycles became the prime choice for many who wanted to traverse both long and short distances.
Soon their application also saw a broadened susceptibility as they were used in the police, army, recreational purpose and even had miniature models for kids. Soon, bicycles were adopted by workers of all ranks and they became an important part of the industrialization era.
As the use of bicycles diversified and made its way into leisure as well as work, the types of bicycles increased over time as well. Today bicycles come in all different sizes and for all different purposes. Mountain bikes, if you fancy off-roading, folding bikes, if you’re looking for portability or racing bikes, electric bikes if you’re simply interested in raw speed. These are just a few in a pool of different models and various specifications produced and the pool just keeps getting larger as we continue to push the limits of what the bicycle is capable of and with that, what we’re capable of.