Bicycles were more than just a toy


Through the years, toys with wheels have been of interest to everyone. Older types are rare, and those in rather good condition were likely stored away and forgotten.

Bicycles are the most familiar wheeled toy. Today, bicycles aren’t viewed as much as toys as they are a means of exercise or quiet country side transportation.

Bicycles weren’t always just for kids. This vehicle was first utilized in 1816 in Germany. It was devised by Karl von Drais in a cart-like vehicle with a small wheel in the front and a large one at the rear.

Movement was attained by the rider straddling a cross bar, and actually walking or running to move the “bicycle” forward. Steering was similar to today’s bicycle.

In England, the bicycle had two alternate names – hobby horse or dandy horse.

Name changes.

As time progressed, this device came to be known as a “velocipede.” In 1869, it was patented as a “bicycle” by Frenchman Pierre Michaux.

Previously, a velocipede was moved by pedals attached to the front wheel. Michaux, after moving to America, introduced the “ordinary” or “high wheel” bicycle in 1871.

This vehicle was somewhat difficult to ride with a front wheel of 40 to 48 inches in diameter and a rear wheel only 16 inches in diameter.

Easier to ride.

Today’s modern style of bicycle, with two equal size wheels equipped with a chain-drive, replaced the older rope method and became known as a “safety bicycle.”

This new type was introduced by James Starley in 1886 in England. This new style, easier to handle, became quite a fad to both men and women during the later 1800s.

Remember the song On a Bicycle Built for Two? This became popular at that time, as a tamden seated version was introduced. Also during this period, the center bar was removed to allow ladies with long dresses to pedal more modestly.

After the introduction of the automobile, the bicycle was relegated to the youngsters.

Originally, the velocipede was as fast or as slow as the rider could move – the high wheel was developed to increase speed.

Costs vary.

Modern bicycles are quite sophisticated in mechanics and prices range quite a bit. Some special types cost what a used car used to.


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