Bicycle History"Running machine" of Karl Drais

"Running machine" of Karl Drais

Before the 1880s-90s, bicycle was mostly used in circus and for entertainment purposes, and not as everyday means of transportation.

It is difficult to determine, who and when first thought of a two-wheel balance-operated vehicle, because current bicycle is the result of combination of various smart inventions. One remarkable initial concept was to enable turning of the front wheel and addition of handlebar, which allows keeping balance when riding such two-wheel vehicle.

 According to general belief, the creator of the predecessor of modern bicycle was a German called Karl Drais (1785-1851), who constructed a balance bike - "running machine" or draisine in the 1810s (Laufmaschine in German). It was made of wood (including wheels) and had central saddle, high enough to reach ground to give the bike an impetus, and, while holding the handle bar, it was possible to keep the balance and stay upright on two wheels. According to historical records, his first longer journey on balance bike took place near Mannheim on 12 June 1817.

Over the next 50 years, many people worldwide followed his example and built their own versions of balance bike.