18 May '17, 7pm

It Took the Bicycle 200 Years to Find Its Way in the World

It Took the Bicycle 200 Years to Find Its Way in the World

Some technical advances are delayed by either a failure of imagination or a concatenation of obstructive circumstances. I can think of no better example of both of these than the bicycle. Two centuries ago, on 12 June 1817 in Mannheim, Karl Drais , a forester in Germany’s grand duchy of Baden, demonstrated for the first time his Laufmaschine (“running machine”), later also known as a draisine or hobby-horse. With the seat in the middle, front-wheel steering, and wheels of the same diameter, it was the archetype of all later vehicles that required constant balancing. However, it was propelled not by pedaling but by pushing one’s feet against the ground, Fred Flintstone fashion. Drais covered nearly 16 kilometers (10 miles) in little more than an hour on his heavy wooden bicycle, faster than the typical horse-drawn carriage. But it’s obvious, today at least, that the design ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation/human-factors/it-...

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