History of the Bicycle

History of the Bicycle

The Bicycle

The bicycle is not the most recent or technologically advanced invention, but the relevance it still holds today is pretty astounding. Two wheeled vehicles that transported people started appearing in the early 1800s, lacking the name bicycle.

The very first model of two wheels being arranged in order was the German bike prototype called the Draisine, which was invented in 1817. It wasn’t until the 1860s, in France, when the term bicycle was coined. This was a long time ago, and may seem like it has little to do with modern bike-riding. Biking of any kind certainly piques Bike Tour Vacations’ interest and we are sure it will pique your interest too! It’s always good to know the origins of the hobby you must love, finding out where something is from is certainly telling.

Early Origins

Like we said, the first model of the bike came in the early 1800s. However, sketches of bikes came much earlier than that. The earliest known sketch of a bicycle came from Gian Giacomo Caprotti, in 1534. Caprotti was a pupil of the famous artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. However, there has been some question about this and basically, there were many influences, and influencers that contributed to the first sketch of the bike and the first bike itself.

For example, there are some accounts that contend that someone who went by Comte de Sivrac developed what was called a célérifère in 1792 at the Palais-Royal. However, this notion is unverified and subsequently, the unequivocal earliest bike demonstration is the Draisine. The DRaisine was invented by German Baron Karl von Drais, a German civil servant. His design was patented in 1818 and soon became commercially relevant and available. The design was enjoyed by many British cartwrights, who brought production value to the venture.


Throughout the 19th century the design of the bike witnessed some mechanical changes. During the period from the 1820s to the 1850s, three and four wheeled bikes prevailed; this design hailed rectly from that of the Draisine. In the 1830s, specifically 1839, the idea of a two-wheeler came into play, conceived by Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a scottish blacksmith. Since this time, the bike has seen many improvements, including higher wheels making bikes farther off the ground. Another Improvement that is especially pertinent in this day and age is the advent of new safety features that accompany modern bikes.

Different bikes have been different throughout different periods of history; the Flying Pigeon was wildly popular in the People’s Republic of China, the Roadster was ubiquitous in late 19th century Europe, and the cruiser/racer are both popular in more modern Northern America settings. Though the bikes may vary, the love of bike-riding experienced by those upon them remains steadfast. If you feel as passionate about bikes/biking as we do, try out a tour with the renowned Bike Tour Vacations!