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Who Invented The Bike?

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When you ask the above question, you definitely need to be prepared to hear different answers. Most people have an idea of who is responsible for the invention, but those ideas tend to vary. Listed below are some of the inventors associated with the invention, and then you can decide for yourself who you think is the actual inventor of the bicycle. Either way, there are several people associated with the formation of the bicycle, and that made improvements that took the bicycle to the point it is at today that you may be interested to learn about. Read on!

The running machine by DraisThe running machine by Drais.

German Baron, Karl von Drais

The first bicycle is typically credited to German Baron, Karl von Drais in 1818. Karl Drais worked on a device that he named “laufmaschine”, which is a German word that roughly translates to “running machine”. It didn’t completely resemble the bicycle that we use today because it was made of wood, and more importantly, it had no pedals. The machine required human force, using the feet that had to push on the ground to make the wheels begin to turn. However, the design was the first bike like design to be publicly displayed, and was helpful to later bicycle designs.

Serpentine frame by the MichauxSerpentine frame by the Michaux.

Pierre and Ernest Michaux

Debate comes about over the bicycle because many people believe that the true first inventors of the bicycle are Pierre and Ernest Michaux. Their bicycle was designed almost forty years after Karl Drais’s, but the father and son inventors’ bike was the first to include pedals, which is of course essential to our modern bike’s movement.

Penny-farthing or high wheelerPenny-farthing or high wheeler.

James Starley and Penny Farthing

Separately, another inventor made significant improvements to Michaux’s bicycle. James Starley created a higher bicycle that stood farther away from the ground. He is often regarded as the “Father of the bicycle industry” in Britain. He made ball bearings, solid rubber tires and hollow-section steel frames as a standard. This helped to reduce the weigh of the bicycle and made the ride even smoother. Penny Farthing or high wheeler made great improvements by adjusting the sizes of the front and rear tires, and by using better rubber for the wheels, which helped to improve mobility. No matter who you think is the “true” inventor of the bicycle, all of these inventors truly made bicycling possible with their great ideas.

More on the bike: Who invented the motorcycle?