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Who Invented the Bicycle?

Most historians agree that the man who invented the bicycle was Ernest Michaux. However, before this conclusion came about, there were other people to consider. They contributed greatly to the invention of the bicycle.

Ernest Michaux
Ernest Michaux actually had a partner in the invention of the bicycle—Pierre Michaux, his father. In the 1860s they built a carriage that looked something like the bicycle people know of today, though yet unperfected. Then in 1861, Ernest finally ended up with the modern bike after doing innovations to it. Installing cranks and pedals, he was given the title—man who invented the bicycle.

Running Bikes
Before the modern bike came to be, it used to be a running bike. It was what people called “Laufmaschine” or running machine. It was made of wood, had no pedals, and was run by pushing the feet against the ground. Baron Karl Drais Von Sauerbronn, a German, was the man who invented the bicycle Laufmaaschine. He first presented his crude invention to the world in Paris in 1818. This initial invention of the bicycle was earlier heralded by the introduction of the “Celerifere” in 1790. Built by Comte Mede de Sivrac, it was similar to the Laufmaschine but without any means of steering. It just ran straight ahead.

Mechanical Crank
The addition of the mechanical crank to the bicycle was done in 1839. It was introduced by a blacksmith in Scotland named Kirkpatrick MacMillan. The mechanism that pushed the bicycle—the crank—was placed at the rear wheel. MacMillan was not the man who invented the bicycle but his mechanical crank was a big breakthrough in the invention of the bicycle, the modern type.

James Starley
Another name popped up in 1870 after the modern bike was invented. James Starley designed a challenging bike with a high seat and one that is difficult to balance. It was called an ordinary bike. It was something for the daring to ride on, not the weakling. However, his ordinary bike was no match to that which the man who invited the bicycle came up with.

Dwarf Bikes
Dwarfs had much smaller front wheels and with the seat drawn further back. The pedals were also re-positioned from the front wheel to middle. This was made possible by the chain drive. This chain linked the pedals with the crank at the rear wheel. J.K. Starley, James’ nephew, and someone named Shergold designed this. In 1885 the nephew Starley came out with the Rover, a more updated model and the closest to the modern bike people have today.