The History of The Bicycle

riginal balancing vehicles date back to the early 19th century. The earliest comes from a sketch said to befrom 1534 and attributed to Gian Giacomo Caprotti, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci. 

The first verifiable claim for a practically used bicycle belongs to German Baron Karl von Drais. He invented his Laufmaschine (German for "running machine") in 1817 and patented his design in 1818, which was the first commercially successful two-wheeled, steerable, human-propelled machine, commonly called a velocipede. The term bicycle was coined in France in the 1860s. 

During the 1820s-1850s there were many developments. These new machines had three wheels (tricycles) or four (quadracycles). Willard Sawyer in Dover manufactured a range of treadle-operated 4-wheel vehicles and exported them world- wide in the 1850s. The first mechanically propelled two-wheel vehicle is believed by some to have been built by Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, in 1839. 

By the early 1860s, the blacksmith Pierre Michaux, was producing "vélocipède à pédales" on a small scale. The wealthy Olivier brothers Aimé and René were students in Paris at this time, and these shrewd young entrepreneurs adopted the new machine. In 1865 they travelled from Paris to Avignon on a velocipede in only eight days. They recognized the potential profitability ofproducingandsellingthenewmachine. However,theFranco- Prussian war of 1870 destroyed the velocipede market in France, and the "bone-shaker" enjoyed only a brief period of popularity in the United States, which ended by 1870.  

The high-bicycle was the logical extension of the boneshaker, the front wheel enlarging to enable higher speeds (limited by the inside leg measurement of the rider) the rear wheel shrinking and the frame being made lighter. Frenchman Eugène Meyer is regarded as the father of the high bicycle. Meyer invented the wire-spoke tension wheel in 1869 and produced a classic high bicycle design until the 1880s.