Timeline of the Bicycle History

The goal of many inventors over the past 6 centuries was to discover a device for fast and easy road transport. From the earliest sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci to the first wheel based bicycle of Baron Karl von Drais they all wanted to make one device – the bicycle. Here are some of the most important points in the long history of bicycle:

  • 1493 – One of the earliest bicycle sketches was found during the 1960s restoration of the Leonardo da Vinci’s "Codex Atlanticus". Bicycle drawing was not attributed to Da Vinchi himself but is speculated to be made by his student Gian Giacomo Caprotti in 1493. His designs could be made with materials that were widely available in those times, but no working prototype of the device was ever made. Some historians claim that traveling with bicycle was not socially acceptable in during that period.
  • 1649 – German inventor Johann Hautsch created an automated carriage that could transport one passenger over 500m with the use of the complicated mechanical drive. His device reminded more of a motorcar than a bicycle.
Picture Of The Original Pedal Bicycle
  • 1680 - German inventor Stephan Farffler created a first known tricycle. This model did not feature pedals, but it was propelled with the use of hand crank.
  • 1817 – German Baron Karl von Drais created the precursor to the today’s bicycle. His invention known as Laufmaschine (Draisine in England and Draisienne in France) represented first commercially successful human powered, two wheeled, steerable transport machine. Its design closely resembled modern bicycle, but with the omission of the chain based transmission to one of the wheels. The force of human walk or run solely powered his velocipede. After achieving desirable speed passenger could lift his feet from the ground and continue cruising.
  • 1820 – Few years after Laufmaschine, English inventor Denis Johnson improved version of Baron Karl von Drais’ design. His “Dandy Horse” had much larger wheels, which improved the stability during the ride.
  • 1860s – During the 1860s decade bicycle one of the most important improvements of all time. Pierre Michaux patented bicycle pedal in 1861 and he started using rubber tires and ball bearings for faster and easier use. First recorded bicycle race happened on May 31, 1868.
  • 1870 – Frenchman Eugene Meyer made a bicycle with very large front wheel and smaller back wheel. Popular model of that type was mass-produced by Englishman James Starley who improved the comfort of the ride but added more danger in some situations (riding downhill, increased injuries after the fall).
  • 1874 – H.J. Lawson made the first bicycle with a chain.
  • 1885 - James Starley started production of his safety bicycle “Rover” which is today regarded as the first model of “modern” bicycle. This model was very and comfortable to use and it started the era known as “Golden Age of Bicycles”.
  • 1900 – The bicycle design became standardized (basic diamond shape made from metal, pneumatic rubber tires, roller chain, one gear, coaster brakes) and was unchanged for more than 50 years. At that time, many cycling clubs formed in America and Europe, which gave much more popularity to that way of transport. Until the appearance of mass production cars, bicycles and horses were the only way private transportation.
  • 1980 – During 1980s, use of Mountain Bikes and BMX became popular. They introduced multiple gears and much lighter construction frames made from aluminum alloy or carbon fiber.
Picture Of The Original Pedal Bicycle
Picture Of Bicycle Chain
Picture Of Tires For Bicycles
Picture Of Two Men Ride Penny Farthings 1886