The Evolution of the Bicycle: 3 Things That Will Surprise You

The evolution of the bicycle is a wild ride! From the very first wooden contraption to the tech-packed models we see today, bikes have come a long way. Are you ready to uncover some surprises about bicycles?

The First Bicycle Wasn’t Pedal-Powered

The first bicycle didn’t have pedals and gears but was a two-wheeled walking device. Invented in 1817 by Baron Karl von Drais, the “Draisine” or “running machine” was made almost entirely of wood and was propelled by the rider’s feet pushing against the ground. 

The High-Wheeler: Fashionable But Dangerous

By the 1870s, the “High-Wheeler” or “Penny-Farthing” became popular, especially among young men of means. Its design featured a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel, a setup that allowed for greater speeds. However, this design came with significant risks. The high center of gravity made falls common and injuries severe, earning it the nickname “boneshaker”. 

War Accelerated Bicycle Innovation

The two World Wars had a profound impact on the development of bicycles. With fuel shortages and the need for efficient, reliable transportation, bicycles became an essential tool. This necessity drove innovation, leading to the development of folding bikes for paratroopers and the integration of new materials to make bikes lighter and more durable. 

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