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The Bicycle Portal
Bicycles have a fascinating history that's shrouded in some mystery. One of Leonardo Davinci's pupils was said to have penned the first drawings of a bicycle but that was later debunked. The first official patent was issued in 1881 and goes to Karl Von Drais (Draisine) who was a German civil servant.
Bicycles were normally ridden by men. Bicycles were ridden by "men of means" and elite social groups were created. Although the bicycle does have a very influential role in the women's liberation movement. Annie Londonderry became the first woman to ride her bicycle around the world and the Londonderry water company paid her $100.00 to carry their sign while she rode her bike back in the 19th century. The bike liberated women and women no longer needed to depend on men to get to where they were going. Clothes were a bit of a problem. Women had been confined to corsets and skirts but when the bicycle came along "bloomers" or pants became the rage. Women had very defined roles in society in what was expected of them. Women were the "fair" gender. Susan B. Anthony called the bike the single most important thing that went to the women's liberation movement.
While Von Drais holds the patent for the bicycle there seems to be some debate as to where the origins of a bike came from. An American holds a patent for 1819 but it isn't known what the patent specifically covered because that particular office was destroyed by a fire. By the middle of the 19th century bicycles were booming in America and a number of different bicycles like tricycles were invented. Safety was a bit of an issue as there were some groups of men who were speeding on their bikes and the restriction of women's clothes became a problem. Towards the 20th century is when the bicycle began balancing out and the wheels were even.