“Codex Atlanticus” by Leonardo da Vinci had the first sketches of a device that looked like a bike. Historians said that this sketch wasn’t made by da Vinci, but they speculate that it was invented by his student Gian Giacomo Caprotti in 1493. The prototype was never made because historians claim that a bicycle was too disruptive for that age. A few centuries later in 1817, German Baron Karl von Drais created his first bike, named Laufmaschine (Draisine in England). It actually looked like a balance bike for adults. That’s how the history of bicycles timeline began.
From that day on, inventors have worked for centuries to create various bicycle variations, that led to bicycles which are used today.
Interesting Facts about Bicycles
History of Bicycles Timeline infographic is behind us now, so let’s mention a few interesting facts about bicycles – the greenest mode of transportation.
- They are good for the planet and good for your health!
- The term “bicycle” first entered into popular usage when a High-Wheeler (Penny Farthing) bike was made (around 1870).
- It is around 18 to 22 times cheaper to maintain a bike compared to a car.
- In the 1890s, there was an actual concern that straddling a bicycle saddle combined with the motion required to move a bike would lead to arousal in women. So they “fought” that with special saddles with little or no padding, and high handlebars to reduce the “risk” of getting aroused.
- There are around twice as many bikes in the world than cars
- Thanks to activists, paved roads became mainstream because of bicycles not because of automobiles.
- Every year between 13,000 and 16,000 bikes are pulled out from the canals of Amsterdam.
- UPS was founded by two friends with one bicycle and $100 borrowed from a friend.
- The longest “tandem” bicycle was more than 22 meters long. It seated 35 people.
- The 1913 Tour de France rules forbade outside assistance if bicycles broke. At one point in the race, Eugene Christophe (he held the 1st place) bike (front fork) broke, and he ran 8.5 miles to Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, where he found a forge. He happened to also be a skilled mechanic, so he forged a new fork from 22mm steel by himself. Because he allowed a seven-year-old boy to help him, the race marshal who policed the operation gave him a 10-minute time penalty. He finished the race 3 hours and 50 minutes after the winner.
- There are almost 100,000 bicycle-related patents at the EPO (European Patent Office).
- There are more than one billion bicycles found throughout the world.
- The pneumatic tire was re-invented by John Boyd Dunlop Dunlop in the later years of the 19th century along with the rear freewheel, and coaster brakes. Mr. Dunlop tried to patent this pneumatic tires, but it was unsuccessful since Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson patented this idea a few years before him. Dunlop and president of the Irish Cyclists’ Association, Harvey Du Cros decided to capitalize on this invention, so they made a Dublin-listed company named Pneumatic Tyre and Booth’s Cycle Agency. They sold the business for £3 million to Terah Hooley. In the 20th century, this company was renamed Dunlop Rubber. In 2005, J B Dunlop was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Although the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company no longer exists, the Dunlop name lives on.
- The energy needed to cycle at low to medium speeds is roughly the same as the energy required to walk.
- There were almost half a bike bicycle thefts in England and Wales in 2012. That’s almost one every minute.
- Massachusetts transit police did an experiment using cardboard-cutout cops near two bike racks in Cambridge. In 1 month, bike theft had dropped by more than 65%.
- You can fit about 16 bikes in the same space that one car occupies.
- If the number of cyclists would increase by 2x-4x times, the rate of motorist-bicyclist accidents would be decreased by around 50%.
- During WW2, The Japanese army forces invaded Malaysia while riding bicycles.
- A bicycle Race Across America is 700 miles longer than the Tour de France, and it is without stages. This means the competitors cycle more than 2,800 miles and they rarely stop.
We hope that you find these facts about bicycles and a “History of Bicycles Timeline” infographic interesting.
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A quick recap – History of Bicycles Timeline
|1418||First human-powered land vehicle||Giovanni Fontana|
|1817||Laufmaschine (running machine)||Karl Drais|
|1870||Penny farthing (high-wheeler)||James Starley|
|1888||Pneumatic tires||John Boyd Dunlop|
|1890||Safety bike||John Starley|
|1965||Bike sharing||Luud Schimmelpennink|
|1977||Mountain bike||Joe Breeze and friends|