The bicycle is a marvel of modern technology, which survives to this day despite the existence of many other means of transportation. While its main appeal is fun and ease of use, the bike also has a long history of innovation and evolution that has brought it to where it is today. Discover the history of the bicycle in this article.
The first bicycle models
It was at the beginning of the 19th century that the first bicycle models were really made. The first historically confirmed bicycle was made by Baron Karl von Drais in Germany. His machine was conceived in 1817 and patented a year later in 1818, becoming the first device of its kind to achieve commercial success. Nicknamed the velocipede, it was quite popular for a while, spreading to many countries, even England, before numerous accidents forced European municipal authorities to temporarily ban cycling. bike rides.
During the 1820s, inventors from several countries worked to improve on the original German design, including Denis Johnson of London, who helped streamline the design. In this regard, three- and four-wheeled bicycles began to appear, as the idea was to allow a cyclist to balance on himself. In 1839, Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick MacMillan created what is believed by many to be the first mechanically powered two-wheeled vehicle, based on the steam train. In 1845 Gavin Dalzell is also said to have made a similar machine to help him in his work as a cloth merchant.
In 1863, the Macmillan bicycle was born, designed by Pierre and Ernest Michaux. The first mass-produced bicycle, it quickly gained a reputation for being uncomfortable and difficult to balance on paved roads. However, it could run on the track without any problem, which brought it a certain popularity.
The appearance of bicycles equipped with chains
In 1885, the bicycle concept underwent its greatest change, when John Kemp Starley perfected the safety bicycle. This model used a chain drive to help riders move the wheels, allowing the designers to move the seat to the center of the vehicle instead of on one wheel. As a result, bicycles became much safer, more stable and easier to control. Popularized by John Dunlop’s tire in 1888 and Isaac R Johnson’s diamond frame in 1889, the safety bicycle virtually eliminated the high wheel and laid the foundation for ancient development.
Companies like Raleigh, Schwinn and other major bicycle manufacturers emerged in the late 1890s and their business flourished well into the 1900s. However, the safety bicycle would soon die out and be replaced by the roadster model that is still used in many places around the world. the world. Mass production by large companies has allowed the roadster to quickly gain popularity as it emphasizes durability. In addition, the models specially designed for women and for sports use have contributed to a long service life of almost 50 years after the turn of the century. The roadster is responsible for the more upright riding position on modern bicycles, as well as the shifting system.
In the 1980s, new types of bicycles appeared. Mountain biking or BMX started to exist. Its use in extreme sports and racing has exploded due to the availability of more and better materials for manufacturers. Cargo bikes designed specifically for commuting also began to gain momentum, thanks to the realization of the benefits of exercise that became popular in the 1960s and 1970s. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, bicycles almost stopped innovating. Due to new regulations from sports authorities dictating what a bike must be to be valid in competition, designers were less inclined to innovate than to refine what they had already created. This is why few drastic changes have been made to the general appearance or function of bicycles since that time.