Definition of the Bicycle: The Bicycle is
defined as a light, human powered, road vehicle that has two wheels, one behind the other, a saddle seat and is moved by the bike rider's feet on foot pedals acting on cranks or levers.
Fact 1: Who invented the Bicycle? Prior to the invention of the Bicycle
people used horse drawn transport. There were many early forerunners to
the modern bicycle and the names of the first contraptions and their inventors
are detailed in the article.
Fact 2: Who invented the Bicycle? The Celerifere: The first bicycle (from
'bi' meaning "two" and the Greek word kyklos meaning "circle, wheel") was called
the Celerifere. In 1790 Comte Mede de Sivrac invented the Celerifere, a wooden
scooter-like vehicle consisting of two big wheels connected to a wooden beam.
The Celerifere had no handlebar or pedals and the rider sat on a cushion and
propelled the device by pushing his feet against the ground. The Celerifere was
the first move away from horse drawn vehicles.
Fact 3: Who invented the Bicycle? The Dandy Horse: In 1817 Baron Karl von
Drais invented the Dandy Horse that he called the Laufmaschine, the German for
"running machine" also known as the Draisine in English. The Dandy Horse
was a two-wheeled vehicle propelled by the rider pushing along the ground with
the feet by walking or running. Dandy Horse also became known as a hobby-horse
and a modern version is used as a starter balance bicycle for children.
Fact 4: Who invented the Bicycle? The Pedal Bicycle: In 1839 a Scottish
blacksmith named Kirkpatrick Macmillan was having a go at building a Dandy Horse
when he had an idea for a self-propelled machine that would move forward without
the traveller putting his feet to the ground. He invented a pedal driven bicycle
made of wood. In 1842 Kirkpatrick Macmillan travelled 76 miles to Glasgow from
Dumfries on his pedal bicycle. Kirkpatrick Macmillan never thought of patenting
or selling his invention but other people soon realized the potential of his
pedal driven bicycle. Kirkpatrick Macmillan is the name most often used as the
inventor of the bicycle.
Fact 5: Who invented the Bicycle? Gavin Dalzell Pedal Bicycle: In 1846
Gavin Dalzell of of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire in Scotland made a copy of
Kirkpatrick Macmillan’s pedal machine. One of Gavin Dalzell’s metal and wood
bicycles still survives today in the Riverside Museum of Transport in Glasgow
and is one of the oldest bicycles in the world
Fact 6: Who invented the Bicycle? Pierre Michaux Velocipede: In 1868 a
blacksmith called Pierre Michaux (1813 - 1883) added pedals to a Dandy Horse to
form a Velocipede, another forerunner of the modern bicycle. The
Velocipede, meaning "fast foot", was propelled by the feet of the rider with
alternate thrusts of each foot on the ground and had a steer-able front wheel.
Fact 7: Who invented the Bicycle? Pierre Lallement Velocipede: Although
Pierre Michaux has credit for inventing the first commercially successful
Velocipede it was another inventor, a carriage maker called Pierre Lallement
(1843 - 1891), who is considered by many historians to be the inventor of the
pedal bicycle in 1862. Lallement added pedals and a crank mechanism which were
attached to the hub of front wheel of the Dandy Horse. Pierre Lallement moved to
America in 1865 and received a patent for his invention in 1866.
Fact 8: Who invented the Bicycle? Boneshaker: The Velocipede was made of
cast iron frames, had straight angles, steel wheels and was extremely
uncomfortable to ride. Used to ride over the cobblestone roads of the day the
Velocipede was given the nick name of the "boneshaker".
Fact 9: Who invented the Bicycle? Penny Farthing (High-Wheeler): The
Penny Farthing or High-Wheeler followed the boneshaker vehicle in 1870. The name
"Penny Farthing" was given due to the design of this bicycle which had a small
wheel in back and a big wheel in front. The British coin called a Penny was much
larger than the farthing coin. A French mechanic called Eugene Meyer is credited
with making important contributions to the development of the Penny Farthing
bicycle. The British inventor James Starley is also closely associated with the
Penny Farthing and is known as the father of the bicycle industry.
Fact 10: Who invented the Bicycle? Penny Farthing: Solid rubber tires and
the long spokes of the large front wheel provided the Penny Farthing with a much
smoother ride than the boneshaker. The front wheels of the Penny Farthing became
larger and larger as manufacturers realized that the larger the front wheel, the
faster and farther you could travel with just one rotation of the pedals. James
Starley added a mounting step to facilitate using the large front wheel of the
Penny Farthing. The Penny Farthing was expensive, tricky to ride, difficult to
mount and resulted in many injuries.
Fact 11: Who invented the Bicycle? Safety Bicycle: The popularity of the
dangerous Penny Farthing came to an end in the 1870s as people started
experimenting with a link-chain connecting the pedals to the drive wheel. The
new bikes with equal sized wheels were called Safety Bikes.
Fact 12: Who invented the Bicycle? H.J. Lawson Safety Bicycle: In 1874
Harry John Lawson designed several types of bicycles and one of his inventions
launched in 1874 and called th "Bicyclette" was described as the "first
authentic design of safety bicycle employing chain-drive to the rear wheel which
was actually made".
Fact 13: Who invented the Bicycle? John K. Starley Safety Bicycles: In
1885 John K. Starley (the nephew of James Starley who pioneered the Penny
Farthing) launched the Rover Safety Bicycle, the term safety referred to
having a normal sized front wheel. The Rover Safety Bicycle was more stable
and easier to stop that the Penny Farthing bicycles and featured the unique
diamond pattern frame. The John K. Starley Rover Safety Bicycle was more
compact and had lighter frames than any other bikes and soon dominated the
Fact 14: Who invented the Bicycle? J. B. Dunlop Pneumatic Tires: In 1888
the Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop (1840 - 1921) invented the Pneumatic
rubber tire and fitted them to bicycle wheels. The addition of Dunlop's
Pneumatic rubber tire made cycling significantly more comfortable and made bikes
much faster and led to the mass production of bicycles and led to the bicycling
Fact 15: Who invented the Bicycle? Sturmey Archer: In 1903 the Sturmey
Archer manufacturing company invented internal hub gears producing the
world's first 3-speed internal gear hub. By 1930 these were used on bikes
manufactured around the world.
Fact 16: Who invented the Bicycle? Derailleur: In 1905 Paul de Vivie
(1853 - 1930) invented the first Derailleur enabling gears to be changed easily.
The Derailleur shifted gears by moving the chain between sprocket wheels of
Fact 17: Who invented the Bicycle? The Chopper Bike: In 1967 Alan
Oakley (1927 - 2012) who worked for the Raleigh Bicycle Company invented the
Chopper bike especially for children. The Chopper featured the radical new long
'Polo' seat, wide tires, a distinctive frame and was available in a variety of
colors. The Chopper bike became one of the most popular types of bicycle of the 1970s.
Fact 18: Who invented the Bicycle? BMX Bikes: The Chopper bicycle was
overtaken in popularity by the invention of BMX bikes in California. The BMX
racers were developed in 1971, their name was a semi-acronym from bicycle
motocross. The person most associated with the development of the BMX is Scot
Alexander Breithaupt (1957 - 2015). BMX bikes emerged when teenagers began
imitating the motocross stars of the time began racing their bicycles on dirt
Fact 19: Who invented the Bicycle? Mountain bikes: In 1978 Joe
Breeze Marin County, California introduced the first purpose-built mountain
bikes called Breezers.
Fact 20: Who invented the Bicycle?
The invention of the Automobile
by Karl Benz in 1886 eclipsed sales of
the bicycle but there has been a resurgence in their popularity in recent
years. Latest bicycle innovations include the electric bicycle and the Solar
Another recent invention of the two-wheeled
king is the Segway that was invented by Dean Kamen in
Impact: The invention of the bicycle
made personal transportation practical for the general population and
significantly increased the distances people could travel and the places they