A variety of inventors contributed to the development of the bicycle as we know it today in the 19th century. In 1817, a German baron named Karl von Drais invented the first steerable, two-wheeled vehicle. In Europe, bicycles were introduced in the 19th century.
Bicycling was brought into the mainstream by the penny-farthing, but its four-foot-high saddle made it too hazardous for most people to ride. In 1884, an Englishman named Thomas Stevens rode a high-wheeler bike worldwide. John Kemp Starley, the nephew of James Starley, designed a “safety bicycle” in 1885 that featured equal-sized wheels and a chain drive. Eventually, brakes and tires were developed, establishing a basic template for what would become the modern bicycle.
Here are some stunning historical photos of Ladies with their bicycles in the 1940s.