Shad Bikes

In this Shad Bikes article, we'll explore the early steps in the evolution of the bicycle, from rudimentary wooden vehicles to the more sophisticated designs that anticipated the arrival of the modern bicycle.

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Precursors of the bicycle (17th - 19th centuries)

Embark on an exciting journey through time to discover the ingenious inventions that laid the foundations for the bicycle we know today.

The Carroceler or wooden velocipede (1618): A wooden giant that marked the beginning

This colossal vehicle, with two large wheels and a raised seat, allowed its users to move with a certain agility through the streets of the 17th century. Although its design was simple and rudimentary, the carrocelerer represented a significant advance in the search for a more efficient and comfortable means of transportation.

The Draisiana (1817): a dandy horse without pedals that revolutionized mobility

In 1817, the German Karl Drais took a crucial step in cycling evolution with the invention of the draisiana, also known as the pedalless velocipede or horseless chariot. This ingenious vehicle, made up of a wooden frame and two iron wheels, was propelled by the driver's feet on the ground. The draisiana, despite its simplicity, enjoyed great popularity among the upper classes, becoming a symbol of status and modernity.

The Celerifero (1818): a more aerodynamic design that elevated the cycling experience

Just a year after the draisiana, the celerifer burst onto the scene as an improved version of the pedalless velocipede. This invention, the work of Baron Karl Drais, incorporated a more aerodynamic design and articulated front steering, which allowed greater maneuverability and control for the driver. The celerifer laid the foundation for the development of future bicycle models, laying the foundation for a smoother and safer cycling experience.

The bicycle with front pedals (1861): a technological milestone that promoted the evolution towards the modern bicycle

In 1861, the history of the bicycle took a radical turn with the appearance of the bicycle with front pedals, invented by the French brothers Pierre and Ernest Michaux. This ingenious design, which incorporated pedals attached to the front wheel axle, revolutionized the way the bicycle was propelled, allowing users to reach higher speeds and travel longer distances. The front-pedal bicycle marked a crucial milestone in cycling evolution, laying the foundation for the development of the modern bicycle we know today.

The era of high-wheel bicycles (1869 - 1885)

Now, we will discover the technological advances that marked a before and after in the history of the bicycle.

The velocipede (1869)

In 1869, the velocipede burst onto the scene as the undisputed queen of high-wheel bicycles. This colossal vehicle, with its enormous front wheel and small rear wheel, was propelled by pedals attached to the axle of the front wheel. Despite its unconventional design, the velocipede enjoyed great popularity, especially among the wealthy classes, becoming a symbol of status and modernity.

The penny farthing bicycle (1870): An icon of cycling culture

The penny farthing bicycle, also known as the "Big Wheel" or "Ordinary", became the emblem of the high-wheel bicycle era. This peculiar design, with its enormous front wheel that could measure up to 1.5 meters in diameter and its small rear wheel, was known for its speed and elegance. However, its considerable height and lack of brakes made it difficult to handle, making it a dangerous vehicle for many cyclists.

Technological advances during the high-wheel era

Despite the challenges that high-wheel bicycles presented, this period was marked by important technological advances that laid the foundation for the development of the modern bicycle. Among the most notable milestones are:

Rubber tire development

In 1868, John Dunlop invented rubber tires, an innovation that revolutionized driving comfort and safety.

Brake implementation

The addition of brakes, initially rudimentary, allowed cyclists to better control their speed and stop safely.

Improvements in the transmission chain

More efficient and durable chain drive systems were developed, optimizing bicycle performance.

The safety bicycle and the modern era (1885 - present)

At this point, we will show you the milestones that marked the path towards the modern bicycle, from the revolutionary safety bicycle to the avant-garde proposals of the 21st century, discovering how the bicycle has evolved to adapt to the needs and lifestyles of each era.

The safety bicycle (1885)

In 1885, the invention of the safety bicycle by John Kemp Starley marked a turning point in the history of cycling. This innovative design, with its same-sized wheels, direct drive chain and steel frame, prioritized rider comfort and safety, making it more accessible to a broader audience. The safety bicycle quickly became the dominant model, laying the foundation for the modern bicycle we know today.

Evolution of the bicycle in the 20th century

The 20th century was marked by a constant evolution of the bicycle, driven by technological advances and the new needs of society. Among the most important milestones are:

Incorporation of gear changes

The invention of gear shifts in the 1890s allowed cyclists to adapt their pedaling to different terrain and conditions, improving performance and comfort.

Development of lighter and more resistant materials

The introduction of materials such as aluminum and carbon in the manufacture of bicycles made them lighter, stronger and more durable, expanding their range of use and improving the riding experience.

Diversification of bicycle types

Throughout the 20th century, a wide variety of bicycle types emerged, such as mountain bikes, road bikes, BMX bikes and touring bikes, each designed for a specific use and to meet the needs of different people. types of cyclists.

Impact of the bicycle on society and the environment

The bicycle became a popular means of transportation, especially in urban areas, helping to reduce pollution and promote a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, its use extended to different areas, such as sports, leisure and tourism.

Current trends and the future of the bicycle

Currently, the bicycle is experiencing a new boom as a sustainable and ecological means of transportation. Among the most notable trends are:

Growth of the bicycle as a sustainable means of transportation

Cities around the world are implementing policies and infrastructure that encourage the use of bicycles as a regular means of transportation, helping to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

Technological advances in electric and assisted bicycles

Electric and assisted bicycles are gaining popularity, offering a more comfortable and accessible alternative for those looking to get around by bicycle without excessive physical effort.

Popularization of different cycling disciplines

Cycling has diversified into a wide range of disciplines, such as mountain biking, road cycling, urban cycling and adventure cycling, attracting an increasingly wider and more diverse audience.


Throughout its history, the bicycle has witnessed the capacity of human beings to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of society. From the first wooden vehicles to the sophisticated electric and assisted bicycles of the present, each stage of cycling evolution has reflected the ingenuity and creativity of its inventors, driving the development of more efficient, safer and more comfortable technologies.

The bicycle has transcended its original function as a means of transportation to become a symbol of freedom, independence and a healthy lifestyle. Its impact on society has been profound, contributing to improving people's physical and mental health, reducing environmental pollution and promoting more sustainable urban development.

Looking to the future, the bicycle is presented as a fundamental tool to build a more sustainable and resilient world. The growth of the bicycle as a means of transportation, the development of innovative technologies and the diversification of cycling disciplines are just some of the indicators that point to a promising future for this iconic vehicle.