Bikes- The Earliest Bicycle in 1790 ouch!

The celerifere - one of the earliest bike prototypes - had no pedals or steering.

The first contraption that can realistically be said resembles a bicycle was constructed around 1790 by Comte Mede de Sivrac of France. Called a celerifere, it was a wooden scooter-like device with no pedals or steering. A similar model, improved with a steering mechanism attached to the front wheel, was created in 1816 by German Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun. He called it a Draisienne, after himself, though popular parlance also dubbed it the hobby horse.

When using either of these devices, the rider perched on a seat between two wheels similarly sized wheels, and using the feet, propelled the bicycle a bit like a scooter. Drais exhibited his bicycle in Paris in 1818, and while popularly received, its design limited its use to really just flat, well-groomed paths through gardens and parks, which were off-limits to a good portion of the population in those days.

When Pedals Were Added - A Big Improvement

A FEW historians credit the invention of the pedal bicycle to Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith who lived from 1812-1878. One day back in 1839, MacMillan was out watching people riding bikes, which at that time were driven by kicking the ground with your feet. Thrilling, eh? Seemed to him that there must be a better way.

According to later research done by family members, after musing on the matter a bit MacMillan came up with an idea for the first pedal set-up that could more effectively drive the bike. Using his blacksmith tools, he put his idea into place, and voila! bicycling suddenly took a giant leap forward.

Macmillan's contraption had a wood frame and iron-rimmed wooden wheels. The front wheel, which provided limited steering measured 30 inches (760 mm) in diameter, while the back had a 40 inch (1016 mm) wheel and was attached to pedals via connecting rods. In total, Macmillan's bike weighed 57 lb (26 kg). His creation gathered a lot of attention, and Macmillan helped generate additional publicity when he rode the bike 68 miles to visit his brothers in Glasgow. Copies of his invention produced by other firms soon appeared on the market, and Macmillan saw little profit from his innovation.


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