Who Invented the Bicycle?

invented-bicycle Credit: Kool Kats Photography/CC-BY 2.0

The earliest predecessor to the modern bicycle was invented by Pierre and Ernest Michaux in 1861. Their machine featured pedals and gears and was propelled by the rider, three features that made it very similar to the modern bicycle.

Several significant two-wheeled machines or concepts pre-dated the Michaux bicycle, but these lacked features that would make them true bicycles. In 1790, Comte Mede de Sivrac invented a two-wheeled machine called the celerifere. Though it looked similar to a bicycle, the celerifere had no steering and was powered by getting a running start and then hopping on board, rather than by peddling.