190 years ago, today on 12th June 1817, Karl Drais presented to the world his running machine (“Laufrad”, “Velociped” – as he called it, “Draisine” – as others called it). As I believe it is the first bicycle (bi – cycle) and therefore one of the most advanced inventions ever made. It is an invention that I need 2 hours every day and an invention that could cure many of the problems discussed now at G8 conference in Heiligendamm.
Sure, I am biased as Drais was born in my hometown Karlsruhe (German Wikipedia has his CV). The Drais Grundschule in Karlsruhe was the first school that I attended. And for sure, I am impressed by the fact that Drais did not use his aristocratic title “Freiherr Drais von Sauerbronn”. As a democrat he did not use his title although the Margraf von Baden was his grandfather. Here is a picture of an original draisine that I took in April 2006 at the Deutsche Museum München – it comes at a weight of 18 kg, length 196 cm, height 108 cm. The draisine has been built in 1817 and is owned by THE Germanische Nationalmuseum Nürnberg.
Note the original tag at the handlebar