In Pictures: The Evolution Of The Bicycle

  • Ever since their invention, bicycles have been a popular and universal mode of transport. On World Bicycle Day, Reader's Digest takes a look at their evolution through the centuries.Ever since their invention, bicycles have been a popular and universal mode of transport. On World Bicycle Day, Reader's Digest takes a look at their evolution through the centuries.

    Bicycles have been a part of peoples' lives for over two centuries now. It's therefore only fitting that on World Bicycle Day, we take a look at their evolution through the centuries.

  • The wooden draisine is widely considered as the first two-wheeler and the archetype of the modern bicycle. It was invented by the German Baron Karl von Drais, possibly in 1817.

     
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons
  • The velocipede or the ‘boneshaker’ bicycle became popular in the 1860s and is believed to be the first true bicycle with pedals, but it made for an extremely uncomfortable ride.

     
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons
  • The penny-farthing or the high wheel replaced the boneshaker in the 1870s. It became a cultural icon of the late Victorian period.

     
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons
  • Safety bicycles became popular in the 1880s. Several models were developed over the decades but its basic design—the bicycle frame, two identical/nearly identical wheels, the chain—continues to be used in bicycles even today. Pictured above is the 1886 Rover Safety Bicycle.

     
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons
  • The early 20th century also saw many variations of the safety bicycle which had become universally popular by then. This photo of the Starley Diamond-Frame prototype was taken at Plymouth.

     
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons
  • One of China’s and the world’s most popular bicycles, more than 500 million units of the Flying Pigeon bicycle have been manufactured since the 1950s.

     
    Photo via Wikimedia Commons
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