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Five of the Most Impactful Bicycle Models Throughout History

By George J. Newton

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From the very first bike, to what models we are familiar with now, there have been many influential adaptations. Without the innovators responsible for elevating bikes, we wouldn’t be using them as a fun activity or method of transportation. These are the five most impactful bicycle models throughout history.

1. The First Bicycle
The first bicycle was built as a basic form of transportation. The German inventor Baron Karl Freiherr von Drais wanted to create a simplistic way to travel, which brought up the idea of a simple bike.

It all started when the Baron crafted a two wheeled wooden device that could be used for transportation. On June 12th, 1817, he was the first to ride a bike. He rode for 4.3 kilometres, and his average speed was 15km/h. He called it a “Laufmaschine,” which means “running machine'' in German.

Karl von Drais riding his invention.

Due to his test drive being successful, multiple Laufmaschines were made to help people get places more quickly. It’s been over 200 years since the anniversary of the first bike ride. Baron Karl Freiherr von Drais laid the groundwork for future innovators that contributed to the evolution of bikes.

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2. Michaux Velocipede And Pierre Lallement
A few decades later, Pierre Michaux made a huge adaptation to the Baron’s Laufmaschine. Pierre lived in Paris, and decided to work on improving bikes during the 1860's. Pierre added cranks and pedals to improve bike function for users. Problems occurred while Pierre was developing a more user-friendly bike model. A man with the same first name, Pierre Lallement worked with Michaux on the project. Lallement took the model to America, and the bike became mainstream. University students, and those in Eastern American cities used the Velocipede bike model to get around. Thus, Lallement was credited for creating the pedal bicycle, since he had refined the invention, and had gotten a patent from the U.S. Patent Office. On November 20, 1866, the patent was granted to him as Patent Number 59,915 for “Improvement in Velocipedes.”

Pierre Lallement on his Velocipede

3. Starley Rover
John Kemp Starley is known for also creating another bike model. He was an inventor from Coventry England, Before his innovation of the “Starley Rover,” he invented the “Ariel penny farthing” in 1870. The Ariel penny farthing had one big wheel and a smaller wheel at the back; its purpose was for faster transportation. Since the huge front wheel made dismounting challenging, Starley craved to create a bike model with fewer setbacks. This is how he came to produce the Starley Rover, a bike named after himself in 1885. Starley’s main goal was to adapt current bikes to include safety measures. He designed the bike by incorporating: two same-sized wheels, a lower seat, and better steering mechanics. Starley was able to achieve safety, comfort, and speed with the Starley Rover.

John Kemp Starley on his "Rover" bicycle.


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4. The Schwinns
Frank Schwinn thought of the Super Balloon Tire Bicycle with his Schwinn Motobike B10E in 1933. Although the Schwinn company’s successor Richard Schwinn paved the way for the affordable Schwinn Varsity in 1960, people still remember Frank’s model for having tires that were more innovative and effective than the original single-tube tire model from US Rubbers.

5. Surly Pugsly
In 2005, the Surly Pugsley bike was released to the bike market. Unlike the other bikes on this list, the Surly Pugsley had thicker, more durable tires. This bike model drew more people to learn how to ride a bike. Without this model, fatbikes wouldn’t be a trend. Modern day bike riders prefer a fatter wheel, especially when traveling over rough surfaces. Other companies saw the success of the Surly Pugsly, and became inspired to incorporate a wider wheel in their models.

Bikes Today
Now we have endless options to choose from because of the continuous innovations throughout bike history. There are sports bikes, BMX models, bikes targeted towards kids, and standard everyday models. This method of transportation has helped many get to where they need to go, enjoy exercise, and learn how to balance.

Business development manager George J. Newton works at Write my assignment and Thesis writing service. George has been married for ten years, and has mastered being able to apologize to his wife. He writes for Next Coursework as well.

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