The Bicycle

Can you imagine riding a bicycle with no pedals or steering?! The first apparatus that resembled a bicycle was created in 1790 in France. It was made of wood and had no pedals or steering. Fortunately, in 1816 in Germany, a steering device was attached to the front wheel, although the device still had to be propelled with the rider's feet. Years later, a man by the name of MacMillan, from Scotland, created the first pedals to be used on a bicycle. It was a huge improvement in design, but bikes were still very heavy, since the wheels were made of wood, wrapped in iron! Rubber tires were added in the 1870's, which made for a much more comfortable ride. Unfortunately, the design of the bicycle was such that the front wheel was much bigger than the back wheel, which allowed for greater speed, but also greater risk for injury due to its height.

Finally, in 1885, John Kemp Starley created a bicycle where the rider and wheels were at a similar height. This was the "diamond design" and much like the bicycles we use today.


Did You Know?
  • There are over 1 billion bikes in the world
  • China has a half billion bikes
  • UPS was founded by two teenagers with one bicycle and $100 borrowed from a friend
  • There are more bikes than people in the Netherlands, and the cities are planned to accommodate bikes rather than cars