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Deutsches Technikmuseum - June

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:


The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month June 2017

Photo: White children´s bike with yellow tires and blue seat. The fenders as well as the chain guard and handlebar are chromed. The folding mechanism is found right in front of the bottom bracket. There is a hexagon key in a holder on the seat post.

This small bicycle can be made even smaller in a few easy steps. © SDTB / Photo: C. Kirchner

Graziella Junior Folding Bicycle, 1969

On June 12, 1817 Karl Drais took the first ride on his "Running Machine". He had no way of knowing that he was laying the foundation for today’s individualized mobility. He and his invention were scorned and ridiculed during his lifetime.

But around 90 years later the bicycle had indeed become the backbone of individualized transport. Its importance declined in the 1950s when everyone began dreaming of having their own car and bikes became more and more relegated to providing transport to children, adolescents and the poor. The low point was reached when folding bicycles were advertised as being able to fit in the trunk of a car.

Bicycles did continue to serve as the introduction to the world of road transport. Generations learned traffic regulations and their daily application aboard their bikes. In the GDR, where cars were rare, things of course developed differently.

Photo: Christmas in the 1960s: A little girl in holiday clothes sits proudly on her new bike, which still has support wheels. In the background a Christmas tree with burning candles.

The best Christmas present ever: my first bike! © private

Popular again: Not just as a sports and leisure device

In recent years the bicycle has gained in importance and popularity and not only in the realms of sport and recreation. In urban areas, the bicycle has been able to make the most of its advantages over cars and it is against this backdrop that the folding bike is enjoying a resurgance. When folded up it only counts as luggage in a bus or train and therefore requires no ticket.

The child´s bike shown here can also be folded up. Fare regulations for public transportation were presumably a critical design factor for this children´s bike as it would already have been small enough to fit in a car´s trunk.

"200 years on two wheels".

More information about the history of the bicycle can be found here in our free audio guide.
Or scan the QR code on the display case with your tablet or smartphone and download the audio file.