2012 45¢ Bicycling
Issue Date: June 7, 2012
City: Minneapolis, MN
Printed By: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset
Perforations: Die Cut 10 ¾
Bicycles have come a long way since the 19th century, when cycling was considered a pastime for rich young men. Now it has become an inexpensive means of transportation and an enjoyable form of recreation for people of all ages.
In 1817, German Baron Karl von Drais invented a wooden bicycle he propelled by pushing his feet on the ground. This became a fashionable pastime for the wealthy and was nicknamed the “dandy horse.”
During the following decades, the wooden frame was replaced with lighter-weight metals, and a crank and pedals were added to the front tire. To increase speed, the five-foot-tall “high-wheel” was invented. Though faster, these were dangerous with riders “taking a header” if a stone or rut stopped the front wheel.
The most important change occurred with the development of “safety bicycles.” A chain and sprocket added to the back wheel allowed for greater speed without the large front tire. By the 1890s, the bicycle became an affordable means of transportation and recreation for men and women of all ages and income levels.
Today there are bicycles for racing on dirt tracks or up mountains. Models are available for commuters and children alike, giving nearly everyone the chance to enjoy the freedom and excitement that comes from taking a bike for a spin.