Naive as I am, I thought “Bicycle Day” was created to honor the two-wheeled, Earth-friendly, leg-powered vehicle! It wasn’t. But since I have little interest in chemicals more potent than strong tea, I’d prefer to talk about bicycles. And so I will.
The first modern bicycle is the German “draisine” from 1817. Baron Karl von Drais invented a “running machine” called Laufmaschine in Germany. The rider would sit upon the seat of the 48 pound wooden vehicle, also called a “velocipede”, and steer while propelling himself along the ground with his feet. He could coast down hills and there was a brake but no pedals. While not as fast as the peddled version, soon to come, it was faster than walking. It was nicknamed a “hobby horse” and the French coined the term “bicycle” in the 1860’s.
There are claims of earlier versions—from as far back as the Renaissance—but these assertions remain unverified or have been revealed as hoaxes.
Shown above, a greeting card with a proper, peddle-version bicycle. It’s part of our new collection of summer-themed greeting cards, now in-store. Please come in to see the full range of summer greeting cards.