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Bicycle history

The history of the invention and evolution of the bicycle

Historical information about scooters and bicycles very contradictory and vague. For example, the image of a two-wheeled bicycle equipped with a chain drive and a steering wheel is attributed by some to Leonardo da Vinci (his student and follower Giacomo Caprotti), and, according to other pundits, this is nothing more than a fake. The stained glass painting at Stoke Poges Church dates from the 16th and 17th centuries and depicts an angel on what looks like a scooter. But this so-called "scooter" was rather a one-wheeled chariot with which seraphim and cherubim were associated in medieval iconography.

The scooter allegedly of 1791, which is attributed to the Comte de Sivrac, turns out to be the most ordinary falsification of 1891, the author of which was the French journalist Louis Baudry. In reality, such a graph did not exist at all, and its prototype was a certain Gene Henri Sivrak, known for having received the right to import four-wheeled carriages in 1817.

Most likely, the story of the serf peasant Artamonov, who allegedly designed a bicycle in 1800, is nothing more than a legend. She tells that this inventive man made a successful run on his bicycle about two thousand miles from his native Ural village of Verkhoturye to Moscow. This bike ride was the very first in the whole world. And Artamonov was sent on this journey by the owner - the owner of the plant. And the owner was driven by the desire to amaze the imagination of Tsar Alexander I with “an outlandish scooter”. For merits of this kind, Artamonov and all his offspring were granted freedom from serfdom. Now the bicycle is an exhibit of the local history museum in Nizhny Tagil. The results of the chemical analysis of the metal indicate that this bicycle was not manufactured earlier than 1870. Artamonov himself was first mentioned by V.D.Belov in his book "Historical Sketch of the Ural Mining Plants" (published in 1898, St. Petersburg): ran on a bicycle invented by him, for which, by order of the emperor, he received freedom with all his offspring. " In fact (and this is a historical fact) the coronation of Paul I took place in 1797, and Alexander I was crowned in 1801. The author of the book does not refer to any documents that would confirm the amazing invention. They were not found later either. There is no mention of Artamonov either in the then chamber-furrier ceremonial magazines of 1796, 1797 and 1801, or in the “agenda on the occasion of the death of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Paul Petrovich. They are also absent in the description of the coronation of His Imperial Majesty Alexander Pavlovich, and in the "List of all the favors poured out by the late Emperor Paul I on the day of his coronation on April 5, 1797". Also, you cannot find them in the archives of N.N. Novosiltsev, which was created in 1801 with the aim of considering all kinds of technical innovations and inventions, and in a selection of materials about serf inventors published in the Notes of the Fatherland by P. P. Svinin (1818-1830). No other papers were found to support Belov's story. The metal "Artamonov's bicycle", shown in the Ural museum, turned out to be a homemade product of the late 19th century, which was embodied according to English models.

The prototype of the legendary history, perhaps, was the serf inventor E.G. Kuznetsov-Rzepinsky, who, in fact, was granted free will (together with his nephew named Artamon) in 1801 for his inventions.But Kuznetsov was destined to design a droshky with a verstometer and a musical organ, not a bicycle.

The history and evolution of the bicycle since 1817.

Although the bicycle appears to us as some kind of ingenious and simple whole (as evidenced by the saying "reinvent the wheel"), in reality it was invented in at least three steps.

The German professor Baron Karl von Drez from Karlsruhe built the first two-wheeled scooter in 1817, called the "walking machine". It was equipped with a handlebar and generally looked like a bicycle without pedals with a wooden frame. In his honor, Drez's invention was named a trolley, and the word "trolley" is still used in Russian today. The likely reason for the invention was that the previous year, 1816, was "a year without summer." The Northern Hemisphere then experienced the most severe climatic anomaly in history, which disastrously affected the harvest, caused a terrible famine and reduced the number of horses. Von Drez in 1818 in Baden - Baden received for his invention "Großherzogliches Privileg" (the then analogue of the patent). Very soon, the Drez car became popular in Great Britain, where it was named "Dandy Horses".

In 1839-1840, in a small village in the south of Scotland, the blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan perfected Dres's invention by adding a saddle and pedals. From all this, it turns out that it was Macmillan who designed the first bicycle. The pedals pushed the rear wheel, to which they were connected by metal rods by means of connecting rods. The front wheel was turned using the handlebars, the cyclist was between the front and rear wheels. MacMillan's bike remained little known, as it was somewhat ahead of its time.

In 1845, the Englishman R.W. Thompson received a patent for an inflatable tire, but technologically it turned out to be imperfect.

In 1862, Pierre Lalman, a 19-year-old stroller maker from Nancy, France, saw the Dandy Horses and decided to equip it with pedals on the front wheel. Lalman had never heard of Macmillan's bike, and his car had to be pedaling, not pushing. In 1863 Lallemand moved to Paris, where he invented the first bicycle, which resembles all of us beloved.

In 1864, the Lyon industrialists, the Olivier brothers, having appreciated the potential of the Lallemand machine, in cooperation with the carriage engineer Pierre Michaud, began the mass production of "dandy Horses" with pedals. Michaud realized that the bicycle frame needed to be made of metal. According to some information, it was Michaud who came up with the idea of ​​calling the device a "bicycle". After working for a short time with Michaud-Olivier, Lallemand moved to America, where he patented his invention in November 1866. Most likely, it was Pierre Lalman who should be considered the actual inventor of the bicycle.

In the 70s of the XIX century, the "penny-farthing" scheme began to gain popularity. This method characterizes the proportionality of the wheels, since the penny was significantly larger than the farthing. The pedals were located on the front wheel hub - "penny", and the rider's saddle was located almost above them. The center of gravity shifted towards the front wheel, and the high seat height made such a bike very dangerous. Three-wheeled scooters have become an alternative option.

In 1867, the inventor Cowper proposed a successful design for a spoked metal wheel. The English inventor Lawson introduced a chain drive into the bicycle design in 1878.

The first bicycle, very similar to those in use today, was called the Rover - "Wanderer". It was created by the English inventor John Kemp Starley in 1884 and began to be produced in 1885. Unlike the penny-farthing bike, the Rover had a chain drive to the rear wheel, the wheels were the same size, and the rider sat between them. Starley's bike has gained a famous reputation as a "safe bike" and has become so popular that the word Rover in many languages ​​means a bicycle (Polish Rower, Belarusian Rovar).Rover became the largest automobile concern and existed until the spring of 2005, after which it was liquidated due to bankruptcy.

In 1888, Scotsman John Boyd Dunlop invented inflatable rubber tires. Technically, they were better than the tires patented in 1845 and began to be widely used. Thanks to the tires, the bicycles got rid of the nickname "bone shakers". This invention contributed to the widespread popularity of bicycles, as it made them much more comfortable to ride. The 1890s have been called the golden age of bicycles.

In 1898, a freewheel mechanism was invented, which made it possible not to pedal when the bicycle rolls itself, and pedal brakes. At the same time, hand brakes were invented, but they did not find widespread use immediately.

The first folding bicycle was made in 1878, the first made of aluminum in the 1890s. The first rikambent was released in 1895, and in 1914 the Peugeot company began mass production of rikambent. The first bicycle with rear and front suspension was made for the Italian army in 1915.

The first gearshift mechanisms appeared at the beginning of the 20th century. But they were imperfect. One of the earliest gear shifting methods used on sport bikes was to provide the rear wheel with two sprockets, one on each side. In order to change the speed, it was necessary to stop, remove and turn the rear wheel, re-fix and tighten the chain. In 1903, the planetary gearshift mechanism was invented, which was so popular in the 1930s.

It wasn't until 1950 that the derailleur was invented, the kind in which it is used on most modern bicycles. Its inventor was the Italian cyclist and bicycle manufacturer Tullio Campagnolo, quite famous in sports circles.

Bicycles were improved in the second half of the 20th century. In 1974, the mass production of bicycles from titanium began, and in 1975 - from carbon fiber. In 1983, the bicycle computer was invented. In the early 1990s, indexed gearshift systems became widespread.

Throughout the 20th century, interest in bicycles experienced its ups and downs. Somewhere from the beginning of 1905 in many states, in particular in the United States, the fashion for bicycles ended with the development of road transport. The traffic police generally saw cyclists as an obstacle to the movement of cars. By 1940, bicycles were considered toys for children in North America. And since the late 1960s, in developed countries, bicycles have become fashionable again due to the general awareness of the enormous importance of environmental problems, the need to solve them and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.

The most widespread at the end of the 20th century, among bicycles in the USSR, were the models Levushka, Druzhok, Veterok, Shkolnik, Olympic, Eaglet, Desna. And also Kama, Salut, Ukraine, Uralets, Stork, Tourist, Ural, Start-highway.

Social role bike.

In the production of bicycles, a huge technical base was created for the development of other types of transport, primarily cars and airplanes. A large number of metalworking technologies that were invented for the manufacture of bicycle frames, as well as other parts of bicycles (gears, washers, bearings, etc.) later found application in the manufacture of cars and even in aircraft construction. A large number of car companies that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century (for example, Skoda, Rover, Opel, Morris Motor Company) started out as bicycle companies. The Wright brothers also started with the production of bicycles.

Cycling societies have worked to improve road conditions. An example of such an organization is the League of American Wheelmen, which led the United States in the late 19th century and funded the Good Roads Movement. The improvement in the quality of roads has also accelerated the development of road transport.

Bicycles also played a role in the emancipation of women.

It was because of them that women's harem pants came into fashion in the 1890s, which made it possible to save women from wearing corsets and other constraining clothing. In addition, with the advent of bicycles, women have gained unprecedented mobility. For example, the famous American suffragist Susan Anthony (1826-1906) on February 2, 1896, said in an interview with the New York World:

“I believe that the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else put together. It gives women a sense of independence and freedom. My heart is filled with joy every time I see a woman on a bicycle ... it is a spectacle of a free, unrestrained woman. "

Bicycles made it possible for villagers to visit neighboring villages and towns more often, due to which marriages between residents of different settlements became more frequent. Thanks to heterosis, the genetic health of the population has improved. Bicycles have reduced urban overcrowding by allowing workers and employees to live relatively far from their place of work, in the suburbs.

Application of bicycles.

Since the end of the 19th century, bicycles have been used by postal services in many countries. For example, the British Post has been using bicycles since the 1880s. The total number of postmen-cyclists in the UK is 37,000, in Germany - 27,500, in Hungary - 10,500.

Bicycles are used by police in many countries to patrol the streets, especially in rural areas. Bike patrols appeared, like bike mail, at the end of the 19th century. For example, in 1896, the police in the English county of Kent bought 20 bicycles, and by 1904 the number of police bike patrols reached 130. The advantage of bike patrols was the ability to stealthily approach suspects, patrolling in pedestrian zones and freedom from traffic jams.

Bicycles in the UK are traditionally used to deliver newspapers. This makes it possible to hire teenagers who do not yet have a driver's license. In poor countries, bicycles are often used to deliver meals.

Even the automotive industry uses bicycles. At the Mercedes - Benz plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, workers move around the plant on bicycles. Each department has bicycles of a certain color.

Bicycles were also used in war. During the Second Boer War (1899-1902), both sides (the South African republics and Great Britain) used bicycles for reconnaissance and for delivering messages. Special units on bicycle rails patrolled the railways. During the First World War, bicycles were actively used for delivering messages, for reconnaissance, for transporting victims. In 1937, Japan successfully used bicycles to invade China and to invade Singapore via Malaysia in 1941.

Bicycles made it possible, catching the enemy by surprise, suddenly and secretly transfer thousands of soldiers. In addition, they do not need scarce fuel or trucks to transport them. The Allies used paratroopers equipped with folding bicycles in their operations. During the Vietnam War, bicycles were used to transport goods by partisans. Bicycle troops in Sweden existed until 2001, and in Switzerland until 2003. According to some reports, bicycles were used by American special forces during the Afghan campaign.

Cycling races.

Cycling spread immediately after the invention of the bicycle. The first competitions in this sport often ended in injuries, because they were carried out on penny-farthing bicycles and other dangerous bicycles. Long-term, multi-day cycling races have become popular since the 1890s. Among them is the oldest of the cycling races, which is still held today. This is the 1200 km Paris-Brest-Paris race. It was first held in 1891.It is not at all divided into stages: the stopwatch turns on at the start and turns off when the athlete reaches the finish line. How much time he spends on sleep, the athlete-cyclist decides on his own. The Tour de France bicycle race, which has been held since 1903, is the most famous and popular of all cycling races, and perhaps of all races in general.

In addition to multi-day competitions, short-distance cycling races are also held. In the USA, cycling at a distance of up to 5 km was recognized. Mountain bike racing - cross country - has gained popularity in the last decade. Cyclocross is also close to them - cross-country racing on bicycles, very similar to road ones. Special track bicycles, usually without gear shifting, are used for racing on velodrome.

In addition, the races are divided into team and individual. There are a large number of disciplines and types of cycling racing.

Bicycles nowadays.


Today bicycles are most popular in the countries of Northern and Western Europe. Denmark is the most cycling country in Europe. A typical resident of this state rides 893 kilometers on a bicycle throughout the year. Further, the Netherlands (853 km) picks up the palm. In Germany and Belgium, the average citizen travels about 300 kilometers per year on a bicycle. The least popular bicycle is in southern Europe - the average Spaniard rides only 20 kilometers per year on a bicycle.

In Europe, the current popularity of the bicycle is a result of government policies, as the use of a bicycle not only helps to relieve traffic in central parts of cities, but also contributes to better health.

Various active measures are taken to popularize the bicycle. This is the arrangement of cycle paths, other infrastructure, and measures to facilitate the use of bicycles in combination with public transport. It has long ceased to be a rarity covered, and, as a rule, guarded bicycle parking at bus stations and train stations, the availability of special carriages for passengers with bicycles on passenger trains, and so on.

Bicycles can be rented at the train station in many European cities.

In Copenhagen, you can rent bicycles free of charge, and for any length of time. It is forbidden to use them outside Copenhagen on pain of a fine. Passing off bicycles as your own will not work because of the unusual design and coloring. Helsinki also has a similar program. Bicycles can also be rented free of charge in the Hoge Veluwe Park in the Netherlands. This can be done elsewhere as well. Amsterdam calls itself the bicycle capital of Europe. Here bicycles can be rented not only at the train station, but also in many hotels, in most bike shops, in rental offices. There is even the Van Ostade Bicycle Hotel, a special hotel for cyclists. You can rent a tandem bike, pedal boat and even a bike for 8 people.


In countries of East and Southeast Asia such as China, India and Indonesia, bicycles are one of the main means of transportation due to their low cost. Although a persistent trend of the last decade in Asian countries, in particular in China and India, their use is decreasing, because many of their inhabitants are switching to mopeds, motorcycles and cars. Authorities sometimes take action against cycling because they often obstruct the movement of vehicles. For example, in December 2003, the movement of bicycles in Shanghai was temporarily banned.

Thanks to the fact that today most of the bicycle manufacturers have transferred their production to this country, China has become the main manufacturer. bicycles... About 95% of cycling products now come from China.