Why Was the Bicycle Invented?

bicycle-invented Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Although used in 2014 for recreational activities and leisure, bicycles first appeared to serve as an affordable and practical alternative to help people move around without using horses. Although many inventors claim to have invented the bicycle, the purpose for the bicycle's invention remains undisputed. Bicycles arrived on the transportation scene around 1817, and sold under various names, including the running machine, velocipede and dandy horse.

According to some historians, Karl Drais created the first bicycle. He sought to give people an alternative method of transportation besides horses. Drais introduced the bicycle to consumers as a way to protest the slaughter and mistreatment of horses in the early 1800s, and to provide a less expensive and low maintenance form of transportation. Early bicycles resembled their modern counterparts by sharing a two-wheel design, but the similarities ended there. Wood formed the frames and handlebars of early bicycles, and unlike bikes today, the first bikes lacked pedals. However, pedals appeared on bicycles around 1863, which allowed people to move around more quickly and efficiently. Bikes in the 1860s and 1870s shared the two-wheel design of earlier models, but lacked springs and seat cushions, making them uncomfortable to ride. Later bicycles, introduced in the 1880s and 1890s, catered to female riders as well as men. Kids bicycles joined the bike community in the 1920s, allowing families to ride for pleasure.