The "Boneshaker"

A ride on a draisine inevitably resulted in dirty clothes and shoes. Draisine users, moreover, had to brake with their feet against the ground, which resulted in quickly worn-out shoes. Such problems were solved in 1861 by the French maker Ernest Michaux. He added a couple of pedals to the front wheel and, a few years later, also a pair of brakes: the bicycle was born. Because of the irritating vibrations produced by the wheel impact with the ground, the bicycle was also known as the "boneshaker." It was nonetheless a success, both for producers and riders. Need only to say that in the whole 1865 the Michaux brothers produced 400 bicycles, while in 1869 they produced 200 per day. The son of Napoleon III was seen riding a Michaux bicycle about Paris - he was also nicknamed "Velocipede IV"- while on the other side of the Atlantic, Harvard and Yale students zipped about their campuses on two wheels.

Fun Facts

● The first boneshaker race took place in 1868 in Paris, in the Saint-Cloud Park. The winner was the American James Moore. In 3 minutes and 50 seconds he covered 1,200 meters.

● In 1869, 120 people, including two women, participated in the Paris-Rouen race (123 km). This competition too was won by James Moore. He completed the route in 10 hours and 40 minutes, including stops.