The History of the Bicycle
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The History of the Bicycle

When and where was the first bicycle made. What is the history of bicycles?

Paris in 1817 was the home of the first bicycle, which was made entirely of wood and did not have pedals. This early “walking bike” evolved over the years to become the safety bicycle, a replacement for the unsafe high-wheel models. Some form of the straight crossbar has existed since the first bicycle (Ref 1). The crossbar on men’s bicycles has a functional design purpose. The use of the slanted crossbar on bicycles was a response to the needs of women bicyclers in the 1800s (Ref 2).


Bicycle History

  The velocipede, or “fast foot,” replaced the first bicycle in 1865 and although it was also made of wood, it had pedals and, eventually, metal wheels. These two earliest bicycles had a crossbar. The high-wheel bicycle of 1870, the first to be called a “bicycle,” was the first all-metal bicycle. Subsequent improvements and attempts to make the bicycle safer led to the high-wheel tricycle and the high-wheel safety. The high-wheel models had different size wheels (Ref 1). Same size wheels returned with the safety bicycle in 1875, which had a standard cross-bar until later adaptations (Ref 3).



  The diamond-frame is formed by the steering column and the front forks sloping toward the hub combined with the chain stays and the rear forks. The cross-bar provides strength and stability to the diamond-frame. The seat of the bicycle positions the rider directly over the pedals, and between the wheels, and makes it easier to reach the handlebars. Later models would have a tube running from the seat to the pedal area (Ref 3).


  Safety Bicycle

Before the creation of the safety bicycle, bicycling was mostly performed by men. The safety bicycle erased the safety concerns of the high-wheel bicycles and tricycles and became an appropriate mode of transportation for women (Ref 2). The invention of pneumatic tires improved the comfort of the bike and widened its appeal. The safety bicycle is credited with changing what constituted acceptable dress for women and providing a way for women to be more mobile (Ref 1).


  Slanted Bar

The popularity of the safety bicycle led to the adapted bicycle frame for women, which was designed in the 1880s to accommodate women’s clothing (Ref 2). While the adapted cross-bar made the bicycle less sturdy, women usually weighed less and used the bicycle with greater care. The slanted bar, or drop-tube, made it possible for women to ride the bicycle for transportation. Women could mount the bicycle without raising and swinging their legs over the bar. They could ride the bicycles and still cover their legs with the required long skirts (Ref 1).


Modern Choices

You can purchase unisex bicycles, which is the new name for men’s bicycles with the cross-bar. Manufacturers make women’s bicycles with drop-tubes of different lengths and angles to fit the bodies of different women. While a drop-tube is easier to mount and dismount, the cross-bar provides more strength and rigidity for the bicycle frame. Bicyclers often choose between a drop-tube and cross-bar based on how the bicycle’s use – recreation or sport (Ref 4).




Pedaling History: A Quick History of Bicycles


Pedaling History: Frequently Asked Questions


Canada Science and Technology Museum : The Safety Bicycle


Consumer Reports Unisex, Drop-tube, and Female-specific Bikes - What to Consider

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Comments (5)

great information well written. voted.

Very interesting history of the bicycle. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks. Voted up.

Page love, very interesting history here! Have a great weekend. : )

Very interesting article

Thanks, was a fun and interesting piece my kids loved it.