'The Cyclepede', c 1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Printed handbill advertising 'The Cyclepede and Physical Exerciser', a form of bicycle propelled by the feet. The Cyclepede was a later version of the 'hobby' or 'dandy horse', invented by the German Baron Karl von Drais in France in 1817 and introduced to England the following year by Denis Johnson, a London coachmaker. Hobby horses had no pedals, but were propelled by the rider pushing on the ground with his feet. As there were no brakes, the feet had to be dragged to slow the machine. Johnson started a school where prospective purchasers could learn how to ride the machine and, in 1819, fashionable London society was briefly gripped by a craze for riding a hobby horse.