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Baron von Drais’ Bicycle

The von Drais’ vehicle had two wheels but no pedals.

The first documented cycle was built in the early 19th century. In 1818, Baron von Drais introduced a machine to the public in Paris. It had two in-line wheels connected by a wooden frame. The rider sat astride and pushed it along with his feet, while steering the front wheel.


Riding a Draisienne or hobbyhorse, 1819

It was not very efficient but it was faster than walking and many upper-class young men found it an amusing pastime. Before long, the “Draisienne,” as the Baron’s vehicle was known in France, became the latest society craze.