Group Posing with Bicycles and Tricycles, c. 1898

Group Posing With Bicycles c. 1888 - note the two gentlemen at the bottom of the photo digging a trench for the water or sewer line, PARO 2301-94 Photo Courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office

Group Posing With Bicycles c. 1898 – note the two gentlemen at the bottom of the photo digging a trench for the water or sewer line,
Photo Courtesy of the Public Archives and Records Office PARO 2301-94

200 years ago, the Laufmaschine (walking machine or later, the velocipede) was invented by Baron Karl von Drais of Germany. It had two wheels and a similar frame to our modern bicycles, but was propelled “Flintstone style” by the rider’s feet.  By the 1860s, the velocipede was improved upon – being propelled by working pedals on cranks fitted to the front axle. These velocipedes were iron with wooden wheels and had no spring on the seat so it is no wonder they were named “boneshakers”.  Later, the penny-farthing, named so because it looked like a small British farthing following a large penny, was a bicycle that was so far off the ground that it proved difficult to ride. It was the invention of the safety bicycle in the late 1800s and soon after, the pneumatic tire that made the sport of cycling become popular with the masses.

 

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