Bicycles for centuries have been one of the prime modes of transportation across the world. The importance of bicycles has been felt in today’s world where every other form of transportation consumes petrol or diesel and leads to vehicular emission that causes large-scale pollution. Therefore in times of such crisis, bicycles have been adopted by environmentally aware countries like Japan. However, here we will analyze the history of bicycles and throw light on some interesting facts about a bicycle- 

Modern History of Bicycles

The history of evolution for bicycles is very interesting and is replete with mesmerizing facts. The following chronology would help you understand the history associated with Bicycles-

Year- 1818

The dandy horse or “running the machine” invented by Karl von Drais. The machinery introduced was operated by the rider. He had to push the machine using the energy in his feet. The machine was heavy and needed a lot of strength. It neither had any pedals or brakes. Therefore maneuvering and controlling the bicycle was a difficult task. However, this phase is considered the beginning of the history of bicycles. 

Year- 1850

The first three-wheeler bicycle which we now popularly call tri-cycle was introduced. The third wheel was added to improve the stability of the rider. It would also help beginners learn quickly. 

Year- 1860-61

The first true bicycle invented by Ernest Michaux and Pierre Lallement, known as the velocipede. In this machine, there were crank and pedals. Therefore the riders could use the pedals to move the machine forward from one place to another. This was considered to be a significant development in the history of bicycles. However, brakes were introduced in bicycles. Therefore accidents and collisions could not be prevented. 

Year- 1870

Penny Farthing bicycle invented. The name of the bicycle came from the wheels attached to it. The wheels resembled that of a penny or coins. One of the wheels was larger than the other wheel. Therefore the cycle was very difficult to maneuver. Moreover, the rider could not maintain balance as the cycle was built in an unscientific manner. The front wheel was essentially used for steering the bicycle. This was considered a major failure in the history of bicycles. 

Year- 1885

This year the safety bicycle was invented by John Kemp Starley. The bicycle had two wheels and both were of the same size. The two wheels were connected by a chain. This chain helped in the lateral movement of the wheels and thus the bicycle moved forward using the pressure applied by the chain on the wheels. This bicycle was considered to be an important part of the history of bicycles. The center of gravity of the bicycle was in a much better position than Penny-Farthing. Therefore it was considered a much more reliable model. 

Year- 1920

The Kids Bike was invented in 1920. This machine weighed around 65 pounds. The design was made replicating that of scooter bikes. This was in huge demand during that time. Therefore an important chapter in the history of bicycles was written with the advent of Kids Bikes. The design appealed to adults and kids alike. 

Also read: Have a look at all top Emerging fields in Mechanical Engineering

Year- 1930

Schwinn brought about a new format of the bicycle. In this new type of bicycle, a fat tyre was introduced. This was done so that the bicycle could maintain balance even when heavy people would use it. This became the primary design for mountain bikes that were introduced later. Spring fork and suspension system was also introduced in the bicycles to resist damage and shock. 

Year- 2000

Electric Bikes and Solar Power Bikes were introduced in 2000. Therefore a glorious chapter was added to the history of bicycles. The solar-powered bike was designed by Miroslav Miljevic. A solar-powered battery was introduced into the bicycle. The commuters who rode the bicycle could leave the bike to charge through solar power. No pedaling system had to be used for such bicycles.  

Some Interesting Facts about Bicycles

The evolution of the bicycle has seen many different phases of development. Following are some interesting facts about bicycles you should know- 

  • The world bicycle started being used several years after the first bicycles appeared for sale. Those first models were called velocipedes.
  • First bicycles were created in France, their modern design was born in England.
  • Inventors who first conceived modern bicycles were either blacksmiths or cartwrights.
  • Over 100 million bicycles are manufactured each. The first commercially sold bicycle “Boneshaker” weighed 80 kg when it appeared for sale in 1868 in Paris.
  • More than 100 years later after the first bicycle was brought into China, this country now has over half a billion of them.
  • Seven out of eight people in the Netherlands that are older than 15 years old have a bicycle.
  • The fastest measured speed of driving a bicycle on a flat surface is 133.75 km/h.
  • Popular bicycle type BMX was created in the 1970s as a cheaper alternative to motocross races. Today they can be found all around the world.
  • First, a bicycle-like transportation device was created in 1817 by German Baron Karl von Drais. His design became known as a draisine or dandy horse, but it was quickly replaced with more advanced velocipede designs that had pedal-driven transmission.

Also read: Myths about Mechanical Engineers and their work

Summary

Therefore an important part of the history of bicycles covers the evolution of the machine into a viable transportation mechanism. Moreover, the fact that it is pollution-free and requires no petrol or diesel to operate allows people to use bicycles. It is a cheap mode of transportation as well. 

Frequently Asked Questions (faq)

Why was the Penny Farthing model considered to be a failure in the history of bicycles?

Penny Farthing bicycle invented. The name of the bicycle came from the wheels attached to it. The wheels resembled that of a penny or coins. One of the wheels was larger than the other wheel. Therefore the cycle was very difficult to manoeuvre. Moreover, the rider could not maintain balance as the cycle was built in an unscientific manner. The front-wheel was essentially used for steering the bicycle. This was considered a major failure in the history of bicycles. 

When did tricycles come to the fore?

The first three-wheeler bicycle which we now popularly call tri-cycle was introduced. The third wheel was added to improve the stability of the rider. It would also help beginners learn quickly. 

Who invented the first bicycle?

The dandy horse or “running the machine” invented by Karl von Drais.

Which was the first commercially sold bicycle?

The first commercially sold bicycle “Boneshaker” weighed 80 kg when it appeared for sale in 1868 in Paris.

When did BMX Bicycles become popular?

Popular bicycle type BMX was created in the 1970s as a cheaper alternative to motocross races. Today they can be found all around the world.

We being one of the best colleges in Hyderabad offers aspiring engineering to upscale in innovations and work on a wide range of project and gain vast knowledge on the same. Know more about us here.

Follow us on: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

Also read: MLR Institute of Technology Engineering; A Successful Choice for Recruiters

Leave a Reply