Friday, March 25, 2016

It's almost 200 years since the first bike ride

A von Drais hobby horse
On 12 June 1817 Karl von Drais left Mannheim to travel down to "Schwetzinger Relaishaus" (a coaching inn in Rheinau, a suburb of Mannheim) for a quick refreshment. He cycled, he scooted or he pushed his hobby horse or draisine on Baden's best road which is why he went to Rheinau. It was less than 5 miles. The round trip took him little more than an hour, but it was the "small step for a man and a big step for mankind". It was the start of individual horseless transport. It was the first bicycle.
Although Mannheim is better known as the birthplace of the motor car due to Karl Benz, the city is going to celebrate the 200th anniversary of this ride in a big way.
  • There will be a major exhibition on the bicycle in the provincial museum of science and industry: Technoseum from 11 November 2016 until 25 June 2017 - Zwei Räder 200 Jahre Two wheels 200 years. The exhibition will show original hobby horses, historic bicycles and special developments along with social aspects of the bicycle's development and its changing image over the centuries.
  • From May to September 2017 films are going to be shown in unusual spots all over Mannheim. The audience will supply the power via bike dynamos.
  • Tour de Karl On 2 June 2017 children from classes 4 to 6 will follow the route taken by Karl Drais from Mannheim city centre to Rheinau.

Tour de Karl 2015 Waiting around for the start

  • Monnem Bike - das Festival Three days of bicycle events from 10 - 12 June 2017 including hobby horse racing, the recumbent bicycle world championships and a World Klapp event - racing on modified or original Klapprads.
  • Monnem Bike - die Show The Finale is an event with theatre and music in the courtyard of the Mannheim Schloß on 16 September 2017.
Mannheim is lies in the middle of good cycling country and is not far from Germersheim, home of the SPEZI Special Bicycle Show, so next year would be a good year to visit SPEZI and get new design ideas by reviewing the history of the bicycle.

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