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January 12, 2016

14 Interesting Vintage Photos of Bicycles from between the 1850s and 1890s

Vehicles for human transport that have two wheels and require balancing by the rider date back to the early 19th century. The first means of transport making use of two wheels arranged consecutively, and thus the archetype of the bicycle, was the German draisine dating back to 1817. The term bicycle was coined in France in the 1860s.

There are several early but unverified claims for the invention of the bicycle. Many people claim credit for inventing the first bicycle. The answer to the question often depends upon the nationality of who you ask; the French claim it was a Frenchman, Scots claim a Scotsman, the English an Englishman, and Americans often claim that it was an American.

A four-wheeled "pedamotive carriage," 1850 (Getty Images)

1881 (Getty Images)

A tricycle with inflated rubber tires built by John Boyd Dunlop, founder of the Dunlop Rubber Company, 1888 (Getty Images)

The first world cycling championship in Berlin, Germany, 1889. (Getty Images)

A penny-farthing race in New York, 1890. (Getty Images)

A lady mounts a safety bicycle, 1890. (Getty Images)

Victorian cyclists perform a balancing act on a penny-farthing, 1891. (Getty Images)

Charles Stewart Rolls (right), cofounder of Rolls-Royce, rides a tandem bicycle with a fellow Cambridge University student, 1895. (Getty Images)

A seven-man tandem bicycle, 1895. (Gettty Images)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife ride a tandem tricycle, 1895. (Getty Images)

Men ride penny-farthings down the steps of the United States capitol building, 1895. (Getty Images)

"Wheelmen" pose with their penny-farthing cycles, c.1890. (Corbis)

c.1880 (Corbis)

"The Stearns Sextuplets" attempt to outride a train pulling four cars, c.1896.


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