1817 Though many claim that two-wheeled muscle-powered machines existed in Paris as early as 1791, it is recorded that Baron von Drais of Sauerbrun in Germany developed the first one that was at all practical in 1817.
1819 An issue of ‘Ackermann’s Magazine’ described it as a seat upon two wheels propelled by the two feet acting upon the ground in a motion similar to skating.
1819 Englishman Denis Johnson improved the von Drais machine by making it lighter and enabling the height of the saddle and armrest to be adjusted. He introduced it in England, first as the ‘pedestrian curricle’. Although it was referred to as the ‘swift walker’ or the ‘dandy horse’, often ridden by fashionable young bloods called dandies, most people referred to it as the hobbyhorse.
1861 Ernest Michaux invented a rotary crank propulsion system, which is essentially the same as that used on today’s bicycles, he called his invention “velocipede”.
1888 Irishman John Boyd Dunlop designed a new tyre and the foundation of Grand 1888 was laid.
He created a hollow tyre, which he filled with air under pressure. A thin endless rubber tube held the air and a tough outer casing made of canvas and rubber covered and enclosed the air tube. This was cemented to the rim, providing an air cushion. The innovation carried bicycles into their greatest period of popularity and refinement.
This was the beginning of a decade in which cycling would influence social, political and industrial life. The new tires had an immense effect upon the ride-ability of the bicycle. Women took cycling with a passion; they wore billowy bloomers on their rides into the countryside. A bicycle was for everyone to enjoy.