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From Draisienne to Dandyhorse

The English discover the Baron’s bicycle.

The Draisienne was copied by builders and mechanics around the world. Some of the finest examples were made in England by a coach builder named Denis Johnson. He called his patented vehicle (810202) a “pedestrian curricle” or “velocipede,” but the public preferred “hobbyhorse,” after the children’s toy or, worse still, “dandyhorse,” after the foppish men who often rode them.


Johnson hobbyhorse, 1818

Compared to their continental cousins, Johnson’s machines were lighter and more finely constructed, but uneven roads and the inefficient and awkward method of propelling the machines made them punishing vehicles to ride any distance.


Johnson’s riding school in London, 1819