The history of the bicycle

It is very difficult to tell the history of the bicycle, from one person to another the inventor can be different according to the definition we have of a bicycle.

So as not to confuse you, we have selected 5 key dates that retrace the history of the bicycle and in addition, a small video showing the evolution over time.

1817 – It all started without pedals

The ancestor of the bicycle is the dandy horse, invented by the German Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn in 1817. It is a wooden vehicle with very little steel, two wheels in a row and a handlebar for steering. To move forward, you have to push yourself with your feet on the ground. Conceived in 1817, the invention was patented in 1818.

dandy horse invented by Karl Drais von Sauerbronn in 1817

1860’s decade – Pedals on the front wheel

In the 1860’s in Paris, the first pedal velocipedes were marketed by Sargent, Michaux and Vincent. Pierre Michaux, a locksmith, is said to have invented the pedal velocipede when a hatter brought him a draisienne with a faulty front wheel for repair. One of his sons would have tried it and would have complained about the inconvenience of keeping his legs up once the vehicle was launched. Pierre Michaux would then have imagined footrests positioned on the wheel which allows to turn the hub of the wheel.

first pedal velocipede created by Pierre Michaux in the 1860's decade

Decade of 1870 – Invention of the penny-farthing

The pedals being fixed on both sides of the front wheel hub, it was necessary to increase the size of the front wheel in order to give more impulse to the velocipede at each pedal stroke and thus go faster. The size of the rear wheel is reduced, serving only to maintain the balance of the velocipede. The first penny-farthing, Ordinary was born in 1872. It was a huge success with the bourgeoisie in England and France.

penny-farthing

1880’s – The modern bicycle

In 1884, the chain was invented by John Kemp Starley. He created, with the Coventry Sewing Machine Company, the bicycle with reasonable-sized wheels and a chain drive. In 1886, Peugeot started marketing these bicycles. Finally, in 1888, John Boyd Dunlop invented the tire and filed a patent. The bicycle became more efficient and more comfortable. In 1891, Edouard Michelin, perfects the tire by imagining the “removable tire”, it is the arrival of the inner tube. The two great names of the tire are still there today.

modern bicycle with a chain, equal wheels size and pedals in the middle

20th century – The bicycle of today

At the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to the Second Industrial Revolution, the bicycle became the queen of transportation. The first Tour de France, won by Maurice Garin, is realized in 1903 and meets a real craze and allows to reinforce the popularity of the bicycle.

Finally, it is in the 1930’s that the use of a multi-speed system became widespread. Finally, it was not until the 1950s that the first derailleur appeared. We can now recognize our current bikes!

We have designed a bike tour for you

If this is the first time you come to Barcelona it is obvious that you will book your tickets for the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, that you will walk up and down the Rambla and visit the Boqueria Market. But if you already came several times today we propose you a specially designed tour with little known historical places.

We start this tour by the Drassanes which in English would be the Atarazanas. Gothic construction we refer to a set of buildings and structures with more than seven centuries of history. On the verge of being demolished during the urban reforms of Barcelona in the first decades of the 20th century, they managed to be saved and in 1935 they became part of the city’s heritage. Today the Royal Shipyards have housed the Maritime Museum of Catalonia since 1936.

Without visiting the museum you can observe the site and especially the reproduction of the first submarine, the Ictineo, a Catalan invention.

picture of the inside of the Maritime Museum  in the Drassanes in Barcelona. We can see a beautiful boat in the center
The Drassanes – Av. de les Drassanes

We move now to the Gothic neighborhood and visit the Roman Baths. Located in the Pati Llimona the baths were discovered in 2012. Some restoration was necessary, today you can see an alliance between the ancient stone, metal and glass of the new structure. It highlights two pools of which we see the stairs and the arches that support the roof.

Stone stairs which permits the entrance to the pool of the baths. It's a mix of material because of the renovation which included glass and metal in addition to the original stone
The Roman baths – C/ Regomir 3

We continue with the Roman period as we stop at the Roman necropolis. At that time the funeral rites made us bury the dead along the road leading to the city. Although the years have passed, the tombs are still in perfect condition.

Picture of the Roman necropolis of Barcelona. We can see the toms along the old road
Roman necropolis – Plaça de la Vila de Madrid

We finish this tour in the cloister of the convent of St. Augustine. Located behind the Chocolate Museum, it can be accessed by 2 entrances. The one from C/Comerç is through a luminous tunnel by the American artist James Turrell while the other is through a doorway surrounded by a pediment. Unfortunately, there is almost nothing left of this old convent except for a gallery adorned with large columns. The building in front of it is the former house of the archdeacon of Barcelona and today houses the photographic archives of the city.

And that’s the end of this original tour through the little known historical places of the city. 

In Born Bike Tours Barcelona we also do professional tours around the city with local guides, visit our website if you are interested in doing a tour with us or visit the Itinera Plus website which propose you cultural visits walking!

The first bike lane, with a pick and shovel

Today Barcelona has exactly 240 kilometers of bike lanes in the city. But do you know when the first bike lane in Barcelona was built?

It was not the City Council that built it, but the cyclists themselves who demanded the use of this means of transport in the city. Already in 1982 Amics de la Bici created an imaginary bike lane with a ride along the Paseo de Gracia and Provença.

A year later, in 1983 the Gracia Verde collective painted green what would become the first “pirate” bike lane on Passeig de Gràcia and Diputació. Using pick and shovel they lowered the curbs, painted the ground with “bike lane” and the drawing of a bicycle.

After the actions of Amics de la Bici and pressure from other groups in the City Council, that same year the first official bike lane was made on the street of Consell de Cent and Diputació, but it was still very dangerous for cyclists and could only be used on weekends.

Currently, although the number of bike lanes is increasing, several demands are still pending. Lanes not very connected, narrow, deformed lanes, dangerous crossings, Amics de la Bici tries to put forward all these problems. The main demand of Amics de la Bici is the safety of users, fairer regulations and cities for people.

As you can see, the first bike lane is quite recent and like all the others, it is not perfect. To continue to support the city’s cyclists the City Council aims to reach 308 kilometers of bike lanes before the end of its mandate, bike enthusiasts that we are we hope to reach this figure as soon as possible and not stop at those 308 kilometers.

International family day in family

On May 15th we will celebrate International Family Day in Barcelona. Born Bike wishes to take advantage of this day to take a family outing to celebrate dialogue, learning and strengthening bonds.

A day of sharing…

image containing a letter happy international family day, flowers, texts, photos of a family with a dog, Born Bike Tours Barcelona

Born Bike Tours Barcelona wishes to share with you the Catalan cultural heritage during a guided bike tour to discover the city in a different way. Let’s balance the private and professional spheres by having a good time discovering, learning and doing physical activity.

Apart from our tours, you can customize yours, let us know what you want !

Bike ride to La Pedrera

Let’s go back to 1900 …

“Sin que la naturaleza de los materiales ni sus condiciones de resistencia sean obstáculo que limit su libertad de acción” perfectly reflects the essence of Antoni Gaudí’s work : modern, atypical and inspiring nature.

The Paseo de Gracia was the most important avenue in the city where the most prestigious architectural projects were carried out. As a result, you will find the emblematic buildings of the time.

The construction of Casa Milà was entrusted by Pere Milà and Roser Segimon to the architect Antoni Gaudí in 1905. This building is known as Casa Milà because it was the residence of the Milà family. However, also known as “La Pedrera” due to its exterior appearance that evokes nature. The construction of this building was laborious whether in terms of appearance, structures, funding or legal. The victim of numerous satires for the unique structure of La Pedrera, this building has been one of the most visited places in Barcelona since its restoration in 1996.

Surprising both day and night. You can enjoy Gaudí’s work on an evening guided tour of the building and admire the view of the city from the rooftop.

And the best way to visit Barcelona and get to the city’s highlights as quickly as possible is by bike.

Why by bike? Well, because…
-It’s not expensive
-It’s ecological
-It’s easy
-It makes you exercise
-It allows you to fully enjoy the environment and simply Barcelona

Let yourself be guided by the wind and take a bike ride!

New Years, New Travel 

2021 is here and the best way to start the year with a visit. Let’s start the year with a little culture, adventure and fun. We hope that this year we can travel and enjoy Barcelona as we could not in 2020 and that you continue to choose us to give you a memorable experience.

Today we are going to tell you a little history about the Olympic Village of Barcelona, ​​a tour that we do by bike knowing Montjuic, its history, its views and its charms.

Une image contenant extérieur, statue, musée olympique

The Vila Olímpica district is made up of a series of wide avenues facing the sea. Strolling through its streets, along the promenade, is the best way to rediscover the city’s Olympic spirit.

The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games served to reshape the city of Barcelona and make it known as it is today. They were designed by the architects Josep Martorell, Oriol Bohigas, David Mackay and Albert Puigdomènech.

The Vila Olímpica was the official residence of the athletes at the 1992 Olympic Games, but the athletes gave way to the families who settled in the neighborhood, and it has become a benchmark of quality and tranquility in Barcelona. Wide avenues, such as Avenida de Icària or Avenida del Bogatell, fill with light and invite you to stroll. The Olympic port and Nova Icària opened up the seafront and allowed Barcelona to face the sea and enjoy it again. And what’s more, they have become one of the city’s major leisure spots.

Happy New Year 

Happy 2021!

In our last note of the year, we wanted to wish you a Happy 2021 and leave you more historical data so that we can know together the history of Barcelona. We will talk about El Fossar de les Moreres. 

Une image contenant bâtiment, extérieur, lieu de culte, voûte

For those who do not yet know the Fossar de les Moreres is an old church cemetery. 

The Fossar de les Moreres had historical relevance during the siege of Barcelona (1713-1714), when it became a common grave for the men and women who died in defense of the city. In 1989 the space was remodeled, acquiring the aspect that it has today, and in 2001 the cauldron was erected with the flame in memory of those who fell during the siege. 

On September 11, 1714, in the context of the War of the Spanish Succession, Barcelona surrendered to the Bourbon troops after 13 months of resistance, and Felipe V entered the city triumphantly, initiating a harsh repression against the Catalan population and institutions. Eventually, September 11 became Catalonia’s National Day, and the Fossar de les Moreres, the stage where different political, cultural and social events take place every year. 

Happy Holidays

Born Bike Tours Barcelona wishes you happy holidays! 

This year has been a different and special year, but we will not stop celebrating Christmas and wishing you happy holidays.

une image contenant une fontaine d'eau, des arbres, des lumières décoratifs de Noël

We recommend taking a stroll through central Barcelona, ​​where you can see the traditional Nativity scene in Plaça de Sant Jaume, this year focused on family meals and good wishes, or the classic Nativity scene in the Frédéric Marès Museum.

Plaça de Catalunya will once again be the epicenter of the city’s Christmas program for 12 days. Morning and family activities, whether literature, science, plastic arts and sports. Evenings with dance, circus and live music proposals. And you will find the universalism of Charles Dickens with “Life cinema” made in Barcelona.

This year, traditional Christmas fairs are also organized, such as Santa Llúcia, Sagrada Familia or the Fair of the Three Kings on Gran Vía. According to health authorities, these fairs are considered comparable to non-sedentary markets and must meet specific conditions. For example, restrictions on access control, perimeter or capacity limitation.

Historical bicycle tour

Today we will show you one of the most interesting place in Barcelona and what it behinds.

The archeological remains excavated and that can be seen today inside the old Born Market show us the history of Barcelona from medieval times until the beginning of the 18th century, when life in this part of the city was suddenly interrupted by the outcome of the War of Succession.

Not all the remains have the same entity nor have they been preserved in the same way. We must keep in mind that the remains preserved before the 13th century were not part of the urban core of Barcelona, although they were related. On the other hand, from the 13th century, the structures onwards the city, as a consequence of its growth.

Despite being an area far from the city of Barcino, the Born area preserves in its subsoil burial from medieval times.

The first archeological remains documented in areas close to the Born date from the low-Imperial period. In this period an extensive necropolis was located, the main nucleus of which was located in what, some centuries later, would be the subsoil of Santa Maria Del Mar. No burials from this period have been located inside the old market, but in the archeological intervention of the Commercial Square in 1991, fourteen were located.

Live the Barcelona’s parks

The city of Barcelona is characterized by having large parks, full of nature and very beautiful structural designs, that is why we leave you a list of five parks, where you can enjoy a bike ride through Barcelona and beautiful sunny days in winter. 

an image which contain a park, people, nature, born bike tours Barcelona
  • Ciutadella Park 

Built at the end of the 19th century, it was the first park designed specifically as a public park, and it is a space widely used for all kinds of recreational and cultural activities. It has more than a hundred plant species, with many hundred-year-old trees and interesting sculptures. 

-The address so you can visit it is passeig de picasso 21 of the Ciutat Vella district. 

  • Guinardó Park 

The Guinardó park has three well differentiated parts: an urban, which becomes the prelude to the great space that this green area occupies, another historical one and, in the highest part, the lush forest vegetation. Its landscaped terraces and pine forests make this place one of the most refreshing and placid green spaces in the city. 

-This park is located in the district of Horta-Guinardó. 

  • Botanical Garden 

The current Botanical Garden houses the legacy of a long tradition of gardens designed with the aim of studying, maintaining and preserving plant species. A space specialized in showing the biodiversity of the flora of the Mediterranean climate. It allows locating, in the proper geographic context, dozens of species that can be found in all the gardens of the city. They are plants that have adapted perfectly to the temperate climate even though they are typical of other latitudes. 

-To visit the botanical garden you should arrive at the Sants-Montjuïc district, carrer Doctor Font i Quer, 2. 

  • Gardens of Mossèn Costa i Llobera 

It is one of the most important gardens specialized in cacti and succulents in Europe. Facing the sea, sheltered by the Montjuïc mountain that welcomes them, they are located in a privileged viewpoint and a few minutes from the city center. 

-The gardens are located at Ctra Miramar, 38. 

  • Laberint d’Horta Park 

The Laberint d’Horta park includes the oldest preserved garden in the city. Born as a neoclassical garden with a touch of Italian physiognomy, it ended up as a romantic garden. 

The d’Horta labyrinth is located in the Horta-Guinardó district, in Passeig Castanyers, 1. 

The Barcelona’s Head

The Barcelona’s Head is a sculpture created by the American artist Roy Lichtenstein and made by the sculptor Diego Delgado Rajado, a very visible monument for its fifteen meters high and six meters wide, being a clear tribute to the modernist architect Antoni Gaudí with its colors striking and its coverage of mosaics. 

lacarabarcelona, Barcelona's head, elcapdebarcelona, bicicletabornbiketoursbarcelona

It is located on Paseo Colón, near the post and telegraph building. It was created in 1991 and 1992, at that time the city of Barcelona suffered many urban changes due to the 1992 Olympic games, decorating one end of Port Vell, an area that was remodeled and where artistic pieces such as the sculpture el pez de oro (the golden fish) were created Designed by Canadian Frank Gehry, la estrella herida  (Horn’s Wounded Star) designed by  Rebecca or the matches by Claes Oldenburg. 

We have more things to tell you about The Barcelona´s Head  and other secrets of the city, so don’t miss our bike tours.

Discover Itineraplus

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Born Bike Tours Barcelona and Itineraplus

Born Bike Tours Barcelona and Itinera Plus, the perfect match of sustainability and culture to get to know #Barcelona

Discover our new partner! Visite our web : https://itineraplus.com

Integrated in the Born Bike Tours group. Barcelona, ​​Itinera Plus is dedicated to offering educational guided tours. Our goal is to communicate for educational purposes. We want to convey our enthusiasm for our heritage.

We organize routes and cultural, literary and educational visits on different aspects of the history of Barcelona.

It is made up of a multidisciplinary team of professionals (historians and official guides) with more than 15 years of experience in culture and tourism. In terms of managing cultural and literary visits and thematic events, we always try to offer a quality service. With an expansion of the portfolio of services, we offer you varied routes related to the world of Culture, Architecture, History and outdoor activities.

Professionalism and Flexibility represent our spirit.

Live a memorable experience!

What do you know about the best means of transport? The History & Evolution of the Bicycle

May 16, 2018

We love to talk about how useful is going around Barcelona by bicycle, but, what do de know about this incredible and, at the same time, simple means of transport? Here you will find some interesant notes about its history.

Photo by Oberholster Venita

There are many different histories of the bicycle. One source claims that it has a history that goes back about 600 years and is quite different than the bike as we know today. Another day we will speak about the source that claims the history of the bicycle began in 1815 after a large volcano, Mt. Tambora, erupted in present-day Indonesia.

Following we highlight major milestones for the bicycle that show the evolution leading up to the modern bicycle:

1418 – Giovanni Fontana builds the first human-powered land vehicle. It has four wheels and uses a rope connected by gears to the wheels.

1790 – Comte Mede de Sivrac invents the celerifere. It has two wheels and a seat, but no steering or pedals.

1817- Karl Drais invents the steerable “Laufmaschine”.

1866 – James Starley, a British engineer, invents the penny farthing.

1870’s – The unicycle is invented.

1878 – The first portable bike is made by William Grout.

1879 – Henry J. Lawson patents the bicyclette – a rear wheel, chain-driven safety bicycle.

1880’s – The adult tricycle is invented and offers a more dignified alternative to its high-wheeled counterpart.

1885 – John Kemp Starley invents the Rover safety bicycle in England.

1894 – Michael B. Ryan is granted the first patent for a folding bike.

1924- The velocar is invented by Charles Mochet.

1933 – Cruiser bikes are invented and sold by Schwinn.

1979 – Joe Breeze creates the mountain bike.

1989 – The Sanyo Encale electric bike is released with NiCd batteries – a big advancement from lead-acid batteries.

1989 – Michael Kutter develops what is considered to be the first pedelec, an electric bike where pedaling causes the motor to assist the rider.

1991 – The conference bicycle is invented.

 

I would like to share what Ernest Hemingway said about riding a bicycle.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. ― Ernest Hemingway

Women are unstoppable, even more so if they ride a bicycle

March 8th, 2017

The 8th of March, the International Women’s Day, of this year, has coincided with this spring week in Barcelona. And in this day of historic fight, we want to remember how women are still progressing by bicycle.

Photo by Manfred Antranias Zimmer

Bicycle has been a revolutionary symbol for women, breaking taboos, such as the female’s strength and her resistance capacity through a simple outdoor activity. Women have been empowered by this sport up to the point that a lot of brands have already detected a market niche which is specialized in this gender.

However, it is clear that the fight has to continue.

The image of a woman riding a bicycle in her quotidian life is something that we have interiorized, but as the result of many years working on it. Now, we need to interiorize this image in the competitive world, where they are also achieving great results.

Again, we want to remember the historic quote that Susan B. Anthony, North American suffragist, said in 1898: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

The women also use the bicycle

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

Susan B. Anthony North American suffragist, (1898)

 

JGKlein-Women_on_bicycles,_late_19th_Century_USASuch as was declared in the 19th century, by the North American suffragist, Susan B. Anthony, who had also traveled on bicycle, this vehicle had been one of the symbols of the women empowerment during this age.

This fact had not only taken place in the United States, it also happened in a lot of other places around the world. A similar case is Great Britain, which has been thoroughly documented by Dr. Sheila Hanlon.

Because it is during this century when the bicycle became a bold element which started a lot of debates: a woman could go from one place to another without the necessity of being accompanied by a man; the image of a physically weak woman was demolished; some clothes became uncomfortable for being used on the bicycle… some little changes which revolutionized a lot of aspects and won against the ridiculous theories, such as some of them the emerged from the medical sector, from where they alerted physical damage such as the sterilization or the abortion. A useless attempt for trying to control women.

Although the evolution is obvious in a lot of countries, nowadays we still have a lot of work and tours to do. On this International Woman’s Day, we want to keep going this way with all the women on this historical symbol, the bicycle.

Discover the coast of Barcelona in a different way, a new plan for this summer

To plant yourself under the sun of the beach in the Barceloneta all day is not the only way to enjoy the coast of Barcelona. Discover that by taking a ride by bicycle.

If the last week we proposed a tour around the mountain of Montjuïc, this week we suggest for you to also discover the history and the evolution of the beaches in Barcelona, especially the Barceloneta.

We will start at the Port Vell (Old Port), one of the oldest parts of Barcelona. It has gone through more than four centuries of transformations: from being one of the first stable docks of the city to becoming an important commercial and touristic zone.

Following the sea line, we will go through the sector of the Barceloneta to arrive at the Port Olímpic, built for the 1992 Olympic Games, a key event in the Barcelona transformation. And in this line of transformations, we will arrive at the Universal Forum of Cultures, another great place of modern architecture of the city.

bornbike ciutadellaUpon returning, in order to not repeat, the best place to get to know on bicycle and stop to rest is the Parc de la Ciutadella with perfect earthen pathways for circulating and green spaces for lying down and enjoying the shade. In addition, you will find great jewels (although this will be the content of another mail, so we will do it in the future…).

Enjoy this tour through the coast of Barcelona which is full of activity during day and night. From now until the 16th of August, on Thursdays and Sundays at 9 p.m., there are also free projections of films and short films at the San Sebastian Beach of Barcelona!

From the sea to the mountain during a morning of a cultural and historic tour through Barcelona on bicycle

Barcelona is not only a port city with lively beaches; it also stands out thanks to its green places, especially Montjuïc, a magic mountain, which we can reach by pedalling from the sea and where we will find the best combination of nature and culture.

tour-bornbike-MontjuïcFrom this elevated place we will have the best view of Barcelona, but before, we will enjoy an amazing tour, because in BornBike we think that without the previous experience the end is not so worthwhile.

In order to arrive at the top from the port, the best choice is to start at the Statue of Colón, although instead of following its indication, we will go up through the Paral·lel Avenue, a homage to the scenic arts in the city.

At Plaça Espanya, we will continue going up through the Maria Cristina Avenue, a street that, without any doubt, you should not miss if you want to get to know the history of the great events in Barcelona. We will see the National Palace, the Magic Fountain lit up in the evening and the Poble Espanyol in first person. All of them are the results of the International Exposition in 1929.

Once we have arrived at the top, we cannot forget the Sant Jordi Palace and the Olympic Stadium: both were protagonist of the 1992 Olympic Games.

And then yes, we can observe Barcelona at the Mirador (Lookout) de Miramar, because then we are going to do that with a richer and more experienced vision.tour-bornbike-Montjuïc-vistas