- In 1817, Karl Von Drais (a German baron) invented a horse-less carriage that would help him get around faster. The two-wheeled, pedal-less device was propelled by pushing the feet against the ground. This device became known as the “draisine”, which led to the creation of the modern-day bicycle.
- The term “bicycle” was not introduced until the 1860’s. It was coined in France to describe a new kind of two-wheeler with a mechanical drive.
- Orville and Wilbur Wright (the brothers who built the first flying airplane) operated a small bike repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. They used their workshop to build the 1903 Wright Flyer.
- In 1935, at the age of just 25, Fred A. Birchmore circled the globe by bicycle. The entire trip through Europe, Asia and the United States covered 40,000 miles. He pedaled about 25,000 miles and wore out 7 sets of tires.
- There are over a half billion bicycles in China. Bikes were first brought to China in the late 1800’s.
- About 100 million bicycles are manufactured worldwide each year.
- Over the past 30 years, bicycle delivery services have developed into an important industry (especially in cities) where the couriers have earned a reputation for their high speed and traffic-weaving skills.
- Americans use their bicycles for less than 1% of all urban trips. Europeans ride a lot more often – in Italy, 5% of all trips are on a bicycle and in the Netherlands, 30% of all trips are on a bicycle. 7 out of 8 Dutch people over the age of 15 own a bike!
- The Tour de France is one of the most famous bicycle races in the world. Established in 1903, it is considered to be the biggest test of endurance out of all sports.
- Bicycle Motor Cross (BMX) (an extreme style of bicycle track racing) became a sport in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Latvia’s Maris Strombergs received the gold medal for Men’s BMX, and France’s Anne-Caroline Chausson took home the gold in the first Women’s BMX Olympic event.