The bicycle is the most energy-efficient means of transportation in existence (Cycling . It has had a long and interesting history. People have used bicycles throughout history for transportation, sport and recreation. It has had a profound effect on all humankind and is one of the most important inventions ever created. .
The bicycle has developed quite a bit since its invention more than two hundred years ago. The first vehicles resembling bicycles were developed in England in the 1790's (Cycling . 1). These were called hobby horses and celeriferes. They had no steering control or pedaling mechanism. They were essentially two wheels on a heavy wooden frame. They were bulky and awkward but assisted people in walking. Earlier sketches by a pupil of Leonardo Da Vinci show a device resembling a bicycle with pedals, cranks, and chain drive but these had no steering and would be unridable (Whitt 5). .
Draisienne, 1817 (Birth . 1).
The major discovery in bicycling history was made by Karl Von Drais. He studied mathematics and mechanics at Heidelberg and was named the master of the forests of the grand Duke of Baden (Whitt 7). Von Drais developed a front steering mechanism and added it to the hobby horse in order to negotiate the windy root covered paths of the forest where he worked. Later, while riding his modified hobby horse one of his workers discovered that it was possible to balance on two wheels while coasting down a hill (Whitt 8). This is by far the most significant discovery in bicycling history. He called his new vehicle the Draisienne. It was published in German newspapers in 1817. Karl Von Drais' other inventions include the binary digit system, the meat grinder and the typewriter (Whitt 7). .
Velocipede, 1839 (Birth . 1).
The next major development of the bicycle was made by a Scottish man named Kirkpatrick Macmillan. He was the person who, in 1839, powered the Draisienne directly from leg power.