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Draisine: the invention of bicycle

Bicycles turn 200 this year. In this post I attempt to recite the whole history of bicycles. It has been a long, bumpy road from the first wooden bike to nowadays super-optimized carbonfiber frame monsters.

Bikes were invented in the early 19th century. We are not quite sure about the origins, but the first verified and documented prototype was built by Charles, Baron von Drais, of Sauerbrun in Mannheim, Germany. The first bicycle was similar to what we call running bike today. It had no drivetrain of any sort, no proper handlebars and it was carved out of wood. First they called it draisine, later on velocipede, drasienne and then it arrived to Britain and got nicknamed dandy horse. The word draisine is still in use for railbikes.

Draisine - ancient bicycle made from wood
Draisine - the first bike model. Illustration sourced from wikipedia.

...continue reading "The short history of bicycles (part 1)"