Friday, May 20, 2011
The Early Origins and Progression of the Bicycle
The concept of a self-powered travelling machine de facto has been around since the late 18th century. The actual creation of the bicycle, however, had to wait until the late 19th century. The first physical representation of what a self-propelled machine might look like was assembled by the German Baron Karl von Drais in 1813. The machine was a four-wheeled sort of carriage that was intended to transport two to four people. One person would steer the machine and one or more riders would have to propel the machine by means of cranking a tiller with their legs. Clumsy and difficult to maneuver, the machine was soon forgotten. Disappointed, Drais began work on a two-wheeled machine where the rider must balance his or herself and pedal a crank with their legs to move. The frame was made of wood and the wheels were made of iron. After presenting the invention, he called it a velocipede, meaning "fast foot" in Latin. The invention travelled up to speeds of 12mph and quickly caught the attention of people all over France and Germany. This primative bicycle was destined to become a revolutionary machine within the next century.