The history of the bicycle

March 02, 2020

The history of the bicycle

Are you ready for a history lesson? You might think; “I'm good thanks...”. But hold up, this might be one that would interest you! 

We have taken the time to dig into the history of the bike. So, below you will find the development of the bike going 200 years back.

Timeline 

  • 1800-1830: The first bike invented

The first bike was created in Germany in the year 1817, by Baron Karl von Drais. It was called a Laufmaschine meaning running machine. It was the first two-wheeled, human-driven transportation machine ever made, and it was patented in 1818. It was made from a tree, had a handlebar, but no pedals (which was also the reason for its name). One simply had to push forward with the feet.

 

 

(Picture from Bikester.dk)

 

  • 1840-1870: The bone cracker  

During the 1860ies the first commercial, two-wheeled bike got popular. It had pedals and the cyclist could now move forward by spinning the pedals around. The bike became very popular, however, there was a backside of the medal. The frame was made out of heavy metal and the tires were made of iron making the bike very heavy and hard to drive. The bike could weigh up to 50 kilos. Therefore, it got the name “the bone cracker”. During these decades the development of the wheels started and the iron wheels got rubber on them. 

 

 

(Picture from Bikester.dk)

 

  • 1880-1910: The victorian bike

Between 1869 and 1880 the demand for bikes that could be used over far distances and with high speed increased. Therefore, distributors enlarged the size of the front wheel. This is the bike that was known as farthing penny, due to the fact that it looked like an English penny followed by a small penny. The farthing penny bike was only popular for a short time since its design made it almost impossible to get somewhere without getting hurt.

 

 

(Photo from Bikester.dk)

 

The first lady-bike

At the end of the 1890ies, the more safe bike was invented. The wheels were now the same size, and this became an important development in bike history. The bike development in this time period also affected the female role in society - giving the bike the nickname “the freedom machine”. The new way of commuting promoted the development of more neutral and practical clothing for women. 

 

(Photo from Bikester.dk)

 

 

  • 1920-1950: War-pause but Chinese uprising 

During this time war broke out in many countries. Therefore, the car became the preferred transportation vehicle. People mocked people taking the bike, and for that reason, most bikes sold in this period were for children.

In China, however, the popularity of the bike arose. In 1958 China produced more than a million bikes a year, and it became the preferred vehicle in China. 

 

  • 1960-1990: Film-inspiration

After the war, a time with hope, freedom, and a generation ready to move borders was first and front of the development of many things, including the bike. Female freedom had come far since the victorian time, and the miniskirt came to define a new generation of liberated women. In the US a boom in popularity of the bike was seen from the middle of the 1960ies. This was known as the bicycle-boom. At this time the bike started to appear in films such as E.T. and Karate kid. The bike became part of popular culture and became more and more popular amongst young people. 

 

 

(Photo from Bikester.dk)

 

  • 2000-today: Environment, clothes, and renting-systems  

Today it is easy to be a cyclist in most cities around the world. Many people take the bicycle to work in order to get some exercise and to be good for the climate. Many clothing brands saw the trend and started to create collections suitable for a cyclist so that people could look stunning while biking. Many big cities today also have bike-renting systems which indicated how integrated biking has become. 

Now it is 2020 and the world finally loves cycling! But the development keeps rushing forward - if not with the look of the bike, then with the many gadgets invented for commuting safer and easier by bike. 






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