Culture

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the bicycle.

we are used to seeing bikes wherever we go The main urban areas have remodeled their streets to make bike lanes and the new cities already have them in their construction plans. Deep down, it’s very medium very comfortable, ecological and economical of displacement. In some cities, like Amsterdam, they are a symbol and you can see more bicycles than cars. Now, even amateur cycling races are held to raise awareness among as many of the population as possible about how beneficial it can be for their health and also for the environment. But, what is the origin of the bicycle?

this 2017as Bikester reminds us, it is not another year for bicycles because its 200th anniversary. Of course, its origins are not exempt from controversy since there are those who affirm that the bicycle comes from before 1800. In any case, there is no doubt that in 1817 the German inventor Karl Freiherr von Drais came up with what came to be called velocipede, which would give rise to the current bicycle. Freiherr von Drais’ first demonstration covered the distance from Mannheim to Schwetizingen, and since then many kilometers have been provided by this ‘walking machine’, as he called it.

Freiherr von Drais would be followed by other inventors who saw the potential of that machine. One in particular, denis johnsoncontributed by making the front wheel could be steered, which helped reduce travel time. It should be noted that, for the moment, they did not have pedals but whoever got on one of these inventions had to propel himself with his own feet or help himself in the downhill areas. He still had a long way to go, but he already laid solid foundations from that so-called ‘toy horse’, since he remembered those that were used as a seesaw.

Drais’s velocipede / photo Gun Powder Ma on Wikimedia Commons

The arrival of the two pedals

the year arrives 1860 and Pierre Michaux manages to develop what would be the first bicycle, with pedals and cranks swivels on the front wheel, which would become tremendously popular. The problem came from several nuances. On the one hand, it was a design that weighed a lot (more than 45 kilos), with a rigid metal structure. On the other hand, the wheels themselves were made of iron and in order to get on the cyclist had to run next to it and jump on the saddle.

Little by little, some changes began to be introduced in what came to be called ‘jalopy’, using rubber tires or spherical bearings that made the pedals move better.

A giant front wheel

We continue advancing in time until we are two decades later. In the 1880sbicycle manufacturers decided that the front wheel must have been a lot larger, giving way to what came to be called ‘penny-farthing’. Actually, your use was quite dangerous since, with any obstacle, the cyclist could fall on his head.

Already in 1890 appears named as ‘safety bike’which is the one that has the two wheels of the same size. This is the basis of the current bicycle. In fact, to this novelty were added the gears, the handlebars or the forks, which are much more reminiscent of the bicycles that can be found today.

For the woman of that time the bicycle was also important because it helped to give a step plus towards your freedom. In fact, those who had it could be compared to men in that and the first specific models for them began to emerge. At the same time, as those who rode required more comfortable clothes, there were also changes in their outfits.

Evolution of the bicycle / photo Al2 on Wikimedia Commons

From the 20’s to the 50’s

We change the century and, with it, tastes. now what will predominate will be the car. It got to such an extent that cars were considered the transport of the future and bikes were only bought, for the most part, for children.

The exception came from China, which already in the 1920s saw an increase in enthusiasm for the bicycle. The trend continued to rise, and today China is the world’s leading producer of bicycles.

From the ‘bicycle boom’ to the present

The 60’s brought with them many changes and one of them was reflected in the bicyclesthat they gained followers again, partly because it became aware that it helped to keep fit. BMXs appeared in the 70s.

Now, more and more people turn to the bike and the fact that there rental systems by the main cities has contributed to this. They are perceived as a means to avoid undesirable traffic jams. To this has been added the fact that fashion itself has known how to see the vein and there are many options for cycling, whatever the destination and the commitment that has to be met.


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