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An award-winning concept

The scheme has received many awards. Find out why Cyclocity has attracted the attention of juries.

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Specialised teams

Maintenance personnel, technicians, mechanics… Cyclocity activities bring people together.

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Benefits of the service

Find out how Cyclocity contributes to everybody’s well-being.

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From the mists of time to the 24-hour scheme

(10/10/2011)

An object of curiosity, a mode of transport, and a piece of sports equipment... the history of the humble bike is full of surprises.

It is a tale of how a very basic invention invoked passion from a long line of innovators, transforming it over time into the accessible, secure and useful service we know today as Cyclocity.

Signs of the bicycle were found in ancient Egypt. The wheel can be seen in low-relief sculptures and a man sitting on a stick with two wheels can even be seen on an obelisk.

However, the concept of a bicycle would not be invented in the West until the 18th century.

Mr. Sivrac invented the Celerifere in 1791, which consisted of a timber beam, two wheels and two forks. It did not have handlebars or a comfortable seat, but the first step had been taken and the great history of cycling could begin.

In 1818, Baron Drais built a bike with a mobile front wheel, which could be steered far more easily. The Draisienne could "run on dry flat ground at 4 leagues an hour and go downhill faster than a horse at full gallop." But this invention fell into disuse because of its heavy weight.

Dennis Johnson designed the first iron Draisiennes, and greatly reduced the weight of the bicycle’s ancestor. Known as the Hobby-Horse, his design attracted new interest from a population eager to know more about machines on wheels.

In 1861, Pierre Michaux and his son added a footrest and an angled axle to the hub of the front wheel. With their Pédivelle, the true bike that we know today was born.

The manufacturing plant produced 200 velocipedes daily and customers had a special ring to learn how to ride! The models were even shown at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867.

The public’s infatuation for the velocipedes led to the appearance of many new features: hollow rims for full rubber tyre, rim brake, ball bearings, hollow iron tube for the frame and the forks instead of a full tube. The velocipede soon went from weighing 40kg to just 25kg.

In 1875, people attempted to make bikes faster by increasing the diameter of the wheel that was connected to the pedals. As a result, the “Grand bi” saw its wheel extended to an average diameter of 1.50m and to a height of up to 3m! It weighed 65 kg and its wheel rotation was equivalent to 9.50 m! Meanwhile, the rear wheel remained small at 30 cm.

Races were organised but they were quickly stopped because they caused too many accidents.

In 1880, a bicycle with a driving rear wheel was launched by a Mr. Starley. Thanks to a chain drive, the front wheel no longer needed to be huge. The new bike was nicknamed the Safety Bicycle because, as its users were nearer the ground, they did not hurt themselves so much when falling!

In a relatively short period of time, many inventions would revolutionise the bicycle: the chain link, tire valve and the freewheel. In 1930, the derailleur would start generating great interest among cyclists.

150 years after it was created, the bicycle remains a fast and non-polluting mode of transport, that is accessible to all.

Today’s Cyclocity bikes adapt to the individual’s needs. They have 3 speeds housed within the hub, a large basket, front and rear lights, seats with adjustable height, a padlock, a centre stand, and light-reflecting tape bands on the wheels. Cyclocity bikes also have an innovative design and offer a unique service which has earned them a place in the history of cycling.