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  • Germany
    1817

    The first Bicycle

    Germany
    1817

    In 1817, the German Baron Karl von Drais, a civil servant to the Grand Duke of Baden in Germany, invented his Laufmaschine (German for "running machine"), The first verifiable claim for a practically used bicycle, which was called Draisine, in English, or draisienne, in French, by the press. In the same year, Drais introduced his machine to the public in Mannheim.




  • Germany
    1818

    Dandy Horse

    Germany
    1818

    In 1818, Karl von Drais patented his design, which was the first commercially successful two-wheeled, steerable, human-propelled machine, commonly called a velocipede, and nicknamed hobby-horse or dandy horse. It was initially manufactured in Germany and France.




  • London, England, U.K.
    1819

    First in London

    London, England, U.K.
    1819

    During the summer of 1819, the "hobby-horse", thanks in part to Johnson's marketing skills and better patent protection, became the craze and fashion in London society.




  • London, United Kingdom
    1819

    Out of their Boots

    London, United Kingdom
    1819

    Riders, in London, wore out their boots surprisingly rapidly, and the fashion of riding the dandy horse, bicycles, ended within the year, In 1819, after riders on pavements, sidewalks, were fined two pounds.




  • Scotland, U.K.
    1839

    First mechanically-propelled Bicycle

    Scotland, U.K.
    1839

    In 1839, The first mechanically-propelled, two-wheeled vehicle may have been built by Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, although the claim is often disputed. A nephew later claimed that his uncle developed a rear-wheel-drive design using mid-mounted treadles connected by rods to a rear crank, similar to the transmission of a steam locomotive.




  • Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.
    1842

    First bicycle Accident

    Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.
    1842

    Kirkpatrick MacMillan was also associated with the first recorded instance of a cycling traffic offense, when a Glasgow newspaper in 1842 reported an accident in which an anonymous "gentleman from Dumfries-shire... bestride a velocipede... of ingenious design" knocked over a little girl in Glasgow and was fined five shillings.




  • Worldwide
    19th Century

    3 and 4-Wheeler

    Worldwide
    19th Century

    Though technically not part of two-wheel ("bicycle") history, the intervening decades of the 1820s–1850s witnessed many developments concerning human-powered vehicles often using technologies similar to the draisine, even if the idea of a workable two-wheel design, requiring the rider to balance, had been dismissed. These new machines had three wheels (tricycles) or four (quadricycles) and came in a very wide variety of designs, using pedals, treadles, and hand-cranks, but these designs often suffered from high weight and high rolling resistance. However, Willard Sawyer in Dover successfully manufactured a range of treadle-operated 4-wheel vehicles and exported them worldwide in the 1850s.


  • Schweinfurt, Bavaria, Germany
    1853

    First in Germany

    Schweinfurt, Bavaria, Germany
    1853

    In 1853, once again, Germany was the center of innovation, when Philipp Moritz Fischer, who had used the Draisine since he was 9 years old for going to school, invented the very first bicycle with pedals. The Tretkurbelfahrrad from 1853 is still sustained and is on public display in the municipality museum in Schweinfurt.


  • France
    1870s

    The Velocipede

    France
    1870s

    In the early 1860s, the blacksmith Pierre Michaux, besides producing parts for the carriage trade, was producing "vélocipède à pédales" on a small scale, where he took bicycle design in a new direction by adding a mechanical crank drive with pedals on an enlarged front wheel. The wealthy Olivier brothers Aimé and René were students in Paris at this time, and these shrewd young entrepreneurs adopted the new machine.


  • Paris, France
    1863

    Lallement's patent

    Paris, France
    1863

    Bicycle historian David V. Herlihy documents that Lallement claimed to have created the pedal bicycle in Paris in 1863. He had seen someone riding a draisine in 1862, then originally came up with the idea to add pedals to it. It is a fact that he filed the earliest and only patent for a pedal-driven bicycle, in the US in 1866. Lallement's patent drawing shows a machine which looks exactly like Johnson's draisine, but with the pedals and rotary cranks attached to the front wheel hub, and a thin piece of iron over the top of the frame to act as a spring supporting the seat, for a slightly more comfortable ride.


  • U.S.
    Jul, 1865

    Across The Atlantic

    U.S.
    Jul, 1865

    In July 1865, Lallement had left Paris, crossed the Atlantic, settled in Connecticut and patented the velocipede, and the number of associated inventions and patents soared in the US. The popularity of the machine grew on both sides of the Atlantic, and by 1868–69, the velocipede craze was strong in rural areas as well.


  • France
    1865

    The Olivier Brothers

    France
    1865

    In 1865, the Olivier brothers Aimé and René traveled from Paris to Avignon on a velocipede in only eight days. They recognized the potential profitability of producing and selling the new machine.


  • Coventry, England, U.K.
    1868

    Coventry Machinists Company

    Coventry, England, U.K.
    1868

    In 1868 Rowley Turner, a sales agent of the Coventry Sewing Machine Company, which soon became the Coventry Machinists Company, brought a Michaux cycle to Coventry, England. His uncle, Josiah Turner, and business partner James Starley used this as a basis for the 'Coventry Model' in what became Britain's first cycle factory.


  • Paris, France
    1868

    Michaux et Cie

    Paris, France
    1868

    Together with their friend Georges de la Bouglise, they formed a partnership with Pierre Michaux, Michaux et Cie ("Michaux and company"), in 1868, avoiding the use of the Olivier family name and staying behind the scenes, lest the venture proves to be a failure.


  • Scotland, U.K.
    1869

    Treadle Bicycles

    Scotland, U.K.
    1869

    In 1869, the first documented producer of rod-driven two-wheelers, treadle bicycles, was Thomas McCall, of Kilmarnock. The design was inspired by the French front-crank velocipede of the Lallement/Michaux type.


  • Scotland.U.K.
    1869

    Followed Inventions

    Scotland.U.K.
    1869

    Several inventions followed the velocipede, by Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement, using rear-wheel drive, the best-known is the rod-driven velocipede by Scotsman Thomas McCall in 1869.


  • Paris, France
    1869

    Spokes

    Paris, France
    1869

    In 1869, bicycle wheels, with wire spokes, were patented by Eugène Meyer of Paris.


  • France
    Tuesday Jul 19, 1870

    the Franco-Prussian war

    France
    Tuesday Jul 19, 1870

    Despite having a strong market share, the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 destroyed the velocipede market in France.


  • U.S.
    1870

    The bone-shaker

    U.S.
    1870

    The bone-shaker, the common name for the bicycle in America back then, enjoyed only a brief period of popularity in the United States, which ended by 1870. There is debate among bicycle historians about why it failed in the United States, but one explanation is that American road surfaces were much worse than European ones, and riding the machine on these roads was simply too difficult.


  • France
    1880s

    The high-bicycle

    France
    1880s

    At the beginning of the 1870s, the high-bicycle was the logical extension of the boneshaker, making the front wheel enlarging to enable higher speeds, limited by the inside leg measurement of the rider, the rear wheel shrinking, and the frame is made lighter. Frenchman Eugène Meyer, the inventor of wheel spokes in the bicycle, is now regarded as the father of the high bicycle by the ICHC in place of James Starley.


  • France
    1875

    Popular Again

    France
    1875

    By 1875, high-wheel bicycles were becoming popular in France, though ridership expanded slowly.


  • U.S.
    1878

    Once again in America

    U.S.
    1878

    In the United States, Bostonians such as Frank Weston started importing bicycles in 1877 and 1878, and Albert Augustus Pope started production of his "Columbia" high-wheelers in 1878, and gained control of nearly all applicable patents, starting with Lallement's 1866 patent. Pope lowered the royalty (licensing fee) previous patent owners charged and took his competitors to court over the patents. The courts supported him, and competitors either paid royalties ($10 per bicycle), or he forced them out of business.


  • New Jersey, U.S.
    1880

    American Star Bicycle

    New Jersey, U.S.
    1880

    In 1880, G.W. Pressey invented the high-wheeler American Star Bicycle, whose smaller front wheel was designed to decrease the frequency of "headers".


  • Worldwide
    1884

    Worldwide

    Worldwide
    1884

    By 1884 high-wheelers and tricycles were relatively popular among a small group of upper-middle-class people in all three countries, the largest group being in England. Their use also spread to the rest of the world, chiefly because of the extent of the British Empire.


  • London, England, U.K.
    1885

    Safety Bicycle

    London, England, U.K.
    1885

    John Kemp Starley, James's nephew, produced the first successful safety bicycle, the "Rover," in 1885, which he never patented. It featured a steerable front wheel that had significant caster, equally sized wheels, and a chain drive to the rear wheel.


  • U.S.
    Thursday Oct 10, 1889

    First diamond frame

    U.S.
    Thursday Oct 10, 1889

    On 10 October 1889, Isaac R Johnson, an African-American inventor, lodged his patent for a folding bicycle – the first with a recognizably modern diamond frame, the pattern still used in the 21st-century bicycles.


  • Worldwide
    1890s

    The Ladies Bike

    Worldwide
    1890s

    The ladies' version of the roadster's design was very much in place by the 1890s. It had a step-through frame rather than the diamond frame of the gentlemen's model so that ladies, with their dresses and skirts, could easily mount and ride their bicycles, and commonly came with a skirt guard to prevent skirts and dresses becoming entangled in the rear wheel and spokes.


  • Worldwide
    1890s

    Stratified

    Worldwide
    1890s

    Up till the 1890s, bicycling remained the province of the urban well-to-do, and mainly men. It was an example of conspicuous consumption.


  • Germany
    1893

    The Recumbent Bicycle

    Germany
    1893

    In 1893. the recumbent bicycle was invented, which is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons: the rider's weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks.


  • Chichester, West Sussex, England, U.K.
    1897

    First Electric Bike

    Chichester, West Sussex, England, U.K.
    1897

    Most likely the first electric bicycle was built in 1897 by Hosea W. Libbey in England.


  • U.S.
    1900s

    Dropped Off

    U.S.
    1900s

    Due to the invention of automobiles, cycling dropped off dramatically in the United States between 1900 and 1910, as automobiles became the preferred means of transportation.


  • France
    1910s

    Evolving

    France
    1910s

    Bicycles continued to evolve to suit the varied needs of riders, as derailleur gears, a variable-ratio transmission system commonly used on bicycles, consisting of a chain, multiple sprockets of different sizes, and a mechanism to move the chain from one sprocket to another, developed in France between 1900 and 1910 among cyclotourists, and was improved over time.


  • Aigle, Switzerland
    1934

    Banned

    Aigle, Switzerland
    1934

    In 1934, the Union Cycliste Internationale banned recumbent bicycles from all forms of officially sanctioned racing, at the behest of the conventional bicycle industry, after relatively little-known Francis Faure beat world champion Henri Lemoine and broke Oscar Egg's Hour record by half a mile while riding Mochet's Velocar.


  • Japan
    1940s

    Second Sino-Japanese War

    Japan
    1940s

    During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan used around 50,000 bicycle troops. The Malayan Campaign saw many bicycles used. The Japanese confiscated bicycles from civilians due to the abundance of bicycles among the civilian population. Japanese bicycle troops were efficient in both speed and carrying capacity, as they could carry 36 kilograms of equipment compared to a normal British soldier, which could carry 18 kilograms.


  • Germany
    1939

    Military Usage

    Germany
    1939

    The German Volksgrenadier units each had a battalion of bicycle infantry attached. The Invasion of Poland saw many bicycle-riding scouts in use, with each bicycle company using 196 bicycles and 1 motorcycle. By September 1939, there were 41 bicycle companies mobilized.


  • Europe
    1940s

    Bikes in World War II

    Europe
    1940s

    Although multiple-speed bicycles were widely known by this time, most or all military bicycles used in the Second World War were single-speed. Bicycles were used by paratroopers, the military parachutists, during the war to help them with transportation, creating the term "bomber bikes" to refer to US planes dropping bikes for troops to use.


  • U.S.
    1950s

    Racer

    U.S.
    1950s

    At mid-century, there was a predominant bicycle-style, called racers, Lighter cycles, with hand brakes, narrower tires, and a three-speed hub gearing system, often imported from England, first became popular in the United States in the late 1950s.


  • China
    1970s

    The Flying Pigeon

    China
    1970s

    The Flying Pigeon was at the forefront of the bicycle phenomenon in the People's Republic of China. The vehicle was the government-approved form of transport. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the logo became synonymous with almost all bicycles in the country.


  • London, England, U.K.
    1970s

    Racer in Britain

    London, England, U.K.
    1970s

    In Britain, the utility roadster declined noticeably in popularity during the early 1970s, as a boom in recreational cycling caused manufacturers to concentrate on lightweight (10–14 kg (23–30 lb)), affordable derailleur sportbikes, actually slightly-modified versions of the racing bicycle of the era.


  • California, U.S.
    1980s

    BMX

    California, U.S.
    1980s

    In the early 1970s, when teenagers imitated their motocross heroes on their bicycles, BMX bikes, specially designed bicycles that usually have 16 to 24-inch wheels (the norm being the 20-inch wheel), were originated in the state of California. The 1971 motorcycle racing documentary, On Any Sunday, is generally credited with inspiring the movement nationally in the U.S., as in the opening scene, kids are shown riding their Schwinn Sting-Rays off-road.


  • U.S.
    1981

    Mountain Bike

    U.S.
    1981

    In 1981, the first mass-produced mountain bike appeared in the U.S., intended for use off-pavement over a variety of surfaces. It was an immediate success, and examples flew off retailers' shelves during the 1980s, their popularity spurred by the novelty of all-terrain cycling and the increasing desire of urban dwellers to escape their surroundings via mountain biking and other extreme sports.


  • Sweden
    1990s

    Commercial Failure

    Sweden
    1990s

    In the early 1980s, Swedish company Itera invented a new type of bicycle, made entirely of plastic. It was a commercial failure.


  • China
    1986

    Demand

    China
    1986

    In the early 1980s, Flying Pigeon was the country's biggest bike manufacturer, selling 3 million cycles in 1986. Its 20-kilo black single-speed models were popular with workers, and there was a waiting list of several years to get one, and even then buyers needed good guanxi (relationship) in addition to the purchase cost, which was about four months' wages for most workers.


  • U.K.
    1990s

    Death of the Roadster

    U.K.
    1990s

    By 1990, the roadster was almost dead, while annual U.K. bicycle sales reached an all-time record of 2.8 million, almost all of them were mountain and road/sport models.


  • Worldwide
    2000

    Outstripped Sales

    Worldwide
    2000

    By 2000, mountain bike sales had far outstripped that of racing, sport/racer, and touring bicycles.


  • Worldwide
    2000s

    Hybrid Bikes

    Worldwide
    2000s

    In the 2000s, bicycle designs have trended towards increased specialization, as the number of casual, recreational, and commuter cyclists has grown. For these groups, the industry responded with the hybrid bicycle, sometimes marketed as a city bike, cross bike, or commuter bike. Hybrid bicycles combine elements of road racing and mountain bikes, though the term is applied to a wide variety of bicycle types.


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