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In Mannheim, Germany in 1817, a new invention was created. A man by the name of Karl von Drais created a two-wheeled machine made for riding on streets. Drais decided to create this machine as a solution to a very serious problem all throughout Germany and Europe at the time, which was the lack of transportation. Due to a scarcity in horses available to transport people, the two-wheeled machine played an important role in people’s daily lives.


  • Karl von Draus riding his invention.
  • The first ever bicycle.

Mannheim, Germany was the first place the two-wheeled machine, now called a bicycle, was created. In 1418, a man by the name of Giovanni Fontana, an Italian engineer, built a human-power machine that had four wheels. Fast forward to 1813, and the German, Karl von Drais, wanted to bring this four-wheeled object back. He created his own version of this machine, but he shortly realized that he could make it even better. In 1817, Drais created the first ever two-wheeled human powered machine. Drais had the idea to create this new form of transportation as Europe and Germany were faced with a big problem. In 1815, tragedy struck in Indonesia when Mount Tambora erupted with ash flying everywhere in a cloud, lowering the global temperatures. Because of the changing temperatures, crops were unable to survive, causing animals, such as horses, to die of starvation. This led to a decrease in horses available for people to use as transportation. This sparked Drais into creating his machine so that people could travel from one place to another in a very timely manner. And so, the first bicycle entered the world.

Alter, Lloyd. “The Bicycle, 200 Years Old Now, Was a Timely Response to an Environmental Crisis.” TreeHugger, Treehugger, 11 Oct. 2018, www.treehugger.com/bikes/happy-200th-birthday-bicycle-timely-response-environmental-crisis.html.

Boers, Bernice De Jong. “Mount Tambora in 1815: A Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia and Its Aftermath.” Indonesia, vol. 60, 1995, p. 37., doi:10.2307/3351140.

Palermo, Elizabeth. “Who Invented the Bicycle?” LiveScience, Purch, 30 Aug. 2017, www.livescience.com/44765-who-invented-the-bicycle.html.

Thompson, T, and M Jacob. “Bicycle Designs.” The Technology Teacher, 1995, jwilson.coe.uga.edu/EMT668/EMAT6680.2004.SU/Bird/emat6690/unitonbbike/day9.pdf.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/happy-200th-birthday-bicycle-timely-response-environmental-crisis.html

https://www.livescience.com/44765-who-invented-the-bicycle.html