Brief tour through the history of the bicycle

Brief tour through the history of the bicycle

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The use of the bicycle it is more and more widespread. This means of transport dominates the urban landscape of most cities around the world, which have also promoted its use with the introduction of public systems for renting bicycles by the hour and cycle lanes.

Some bicycles that will play a leading role in the future, since a report on climate change, prepared by a group of scientists from the United Nations (UN), points out that this means of transport will be one of the ways to save the world from environmental imbalance. A transport of the future that has come a long journey since the invention of the first model more than two centuries ago.

The wheel, one of the most important inventions in history, It was invented around 3,500 BC. in Mesopotamia. However, the bicycle was not devised until the 19th century. The German inventor known as the Baron Karl von Drais created the most similar prototype to the current bicycle in 1817 in Germany.

Baptized asLaufmaschine(running machine in Spanish), although the press of the time called itDraisine Or velocipede, this wood-built model became the first human-powered two-wheeled steerable transport in history.

The main objective of this German aristocrat was to find a cheaper substitute for the transport of the time, the horse.Draisine, what made his first documented trip on July 12, 1817 covering a distance of 13 kilometers from the city of Mannheim, marked the great explosion for the development of the bicycle.

In 1819, the English businessman Denis Johnson redesigned theDraisine creating an improved version that registered the under the name ofHobby horse to try to cut travel time in half. In addition, this model included a support in the lower part of the bicycle so that women could accommodate their long skirts.

These two pioneering models did not include pedals. The invention of the pedal bicycle is credited to the ScotsmanKirkpatrick MacMillan in 1839. This blacksmith born in Keir, a small village in the council of Dumfries and Galloway, incorporated into his prototype some bars made of metal to the front axle of the wheel, with which men and women could propel themselves with the force of their legs . Despite this, many historians doubt the veracity of this theory, since there is no model prior to the decade of the 60s.

The popularization of the bicycle

The first documented pedal bicycle was known asBoneshaker(bone shaker), due to the sensation it transmitted when driving through the cobbled streets.Pierre LallementThe son of French carriage manufacturers, he invented this prototype in the shop of a baby carriage manufacturer, where he worked in 1862.

This Frenchman traveled to the United States, where he patented his invention of the pedal bicycle in 1866 thanks to the financial support of James Carroll, becomingthe world's first public registration of a two-wheeler with pedals.

In 1870, one of the most iconic models in history, the high-wheel bicycle ofJames starley. Popularly known asPenny farting, this bicycle was the first to be made entirely of metal. In addition, the wheels were getting bigger, since in this way it was possible to advance faster with each pedal stroke.

The main problem with all these bicycle models was the large number of falls. For this reason, in the 1880s the so-called “safety bicycles” emerged.English inventor John Kemp Starley devised theRovera chain-drive, rear-wheel-drive two-wheel bike that provided greater stability over previous designs.

In 1888, the Scotsman John Boyd Dunlop, founder of the famous tire company, invented the first inflatable rubber tires with an inner tube. These pneumatic wheels made the journeys much more comfortable at the time.

The bicycle was the machine of freedom for women in Victorian times. This means of transport provided the English ladies, who wore heavy suits and corsets, greater mobility to be able to visit other neighborhoods and open their horizons.

An invention that became a symbol of freedom and emancipation for the female sector, who lived condemned to the isolation of the family home in the corseted English society of the late nineteenth century.

Starting in the 1990s, the fashion for bicycles, which had begun to be mass produced, declined with the appearance of the automobile, considered as the transport of the future. The popularization of automobiles from the 1920s began a new era of researching new models to build increasingly fast bicycles, such as the designs that can be found today.

Video: Fascinating forgotten history of bicycle gears development u0026 timeline 1890 to 2017