Six early forms of bicycle, 19th century.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 21cm x 32cm

Six early forms of bicycle, 19th century.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


The cycles shown are two primitive bicycles (top), the 'dandy horse' (centre left) , Gompertz's velocipede (centre right), the Dublin velocipede (bottom left) and the boneshaker (bottom right). The dandy (or hobby) horse was invented by Baron von Drais in France in 1817, but was only popular for a short period as it was not very comfortable or practical, having to be propelled and stopped by the rider pushing or dragging their feet on the ground. The velocipede (fast foot) appeared in 1865, and had pedals applied to the front wheels. It was popularly known as the 'boneshaker', as the combination of wood and metal tyres and cobblestoned streets made for a very uncomfortable ride.

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