The Dennis Johnson Wheel
The Dennis Johnson Wheel was the first velocipede to be sold in England. It had no pedals, but had two wheels and was steerable, and was definitely the “in” thing, the summer of 1819. The dandies and Corinthians of the Regency adopted the use of the velocipede, and thanks to that, the public dubbed it the “dandy horse”. However, thanks to a high number of accidents and a high level of wear-and-tear on their fancy boots, the fashion only lasted one year.
After the two-wheeled velocipede craze, more safety-minded people began to turn to tricycles and quadricycle (four-wheeled) machines. In the end, it was the two-wheeled velocipede that was adopted and modified into the basic bicycle that we know today. But between the Dennis Johnson Wheel, and the advent of the “safety bicycle” with the chain and gears that we know today, there were definitely some crazy machines thought up…
Image from Cycling Art, Energy and Locomotion. Robert P. Scott, 1889.