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History of Bicycle Discovery and Its Development in Indonesia

Did you know that the bicycle we know now has a very long history? Starting from the simple shape, three-wheeled to modern bikes with various types and variations that we know today. All that can not be separated from the creativity and innovation developed by experts from various fields that complement each other.

In various information and historical records, the first bicycle was discovered by Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn or more commonly known as Karl Drais-born on April 29, 1785, in Karlsruhe, Germany. He works as the chief forest supervisor. To support his duties as chief forest supervisor, he needs transportation equipment with high mobility.

Based on these needs, Karl Drais then innovated to create a means of transportation to support his work. Until finally he succeeded in creating a breakthrough that is very important for the modern bicycle technology that we encounter now. The initial form of the bicycle that was created at that time was a three-wheeled bicycle without pedals.

Quoted from Akhmad, Karls Drais made his first trip on June 12, 1817, from Mannheim to Schwetzinger Relaishaus. His second trip from Gernsbach to Baden was also carried out in the same year. With that vehicle, Karl Drais was reportedly able to go faster.

The first trip with his bicycle was covered and published in a local German newspaper in 1817. Karl Drais himself gave the name of this creation bicycle with Draisienne. Draisienne’s popularity did not last long. Because thereafter new types of bikes with their respective advantages emerge.

Thanks to this idea and creativity, Karls Drais was awarded the title of duke on January 12, 1818. In addition, Grand Duke Karl Drais was also appointed as a professor of mechanics. This degree is an honorary degree that has nothing to do with universities or other institutions. When retiring from civil service, Karl Drais continued to receive a salary in return for his services as a bicycle inventor.

In Indonesia, the popularity of bicycles was introduced in the Dutch colonial period. The Dutch brought bicycles made in Europe as a means of transportation during their occupation in Indonesia.

Unlike what we are seeing now, once the common people have not been able to enjoy the means of transportation. Only rulers and aristocrats can enjoy bicycles. Almost everyone recognizes that bicycles, which are generally made in Europe, were a luxury means of transportation at that time.

In the 1960s, along with the development of transportation technology, the position of the bicycle as a high-class vehicle was slowly displaced by the popularity of motorbikes and cars. While bicycles made in the 1930s to 1950s soon became old things that were easy to leave behind, even though there were also people who started collecting bicycles in this era.

As reported by Akhmad, ancient bicycles made in England include Humber Cross (1901), Raleigh (1939), Phillips (1956), Hercules (1922). While bicycles made in the Netherlands are Batavus (1920), Gazelle (1925), Valuas (1940), Master (1950), and several others.

Ancient bikes made in the Netherlands (Dutch Bike) are often also dubbed as bicycles or camel bicycles. Even now in the 21st century, there are still collections of bicycles made in the early 20th century such as the Veeno brand that is sought after by bicycle lovers.

In addition to onthel, we also know the term bike jengki. The term “jengki” comes from the word “Yankee”. This title is intended for Americans. This term emerged when Americans in the 1960s could invade Indochina. At that time, Americans and their products brought new physical characteristics, behaviors, thoughts, and appearance to Asians.

President Sukarno even had time to ban the entry of all Western-made products. As a result, bicycles made in the Netherlands and Western Europe could no longer enter Indonesia, so the bicycle market was enlivened by Chinese-made bicycles with new shapes and proportions such as the Butterfly and Phoenix brands.

When viewed, the frame of a bicycle made in China is much lighter and its size is smaller so it is easier to drive by Indonesians. The new output bicycles are often also called people by the name of the jengki bike.

From there jengki bikes became popular terms related to antique bicycles in addition to other designations such as beetle bikes and sounding bikes.

Besides jengki bikes, Indonesia actually has long known racing bikes. Before World War II there were already several professional Indonesian bicycle riders funded by companies such as Mansonia, Triumph, and Hima.

Initially, bicycle racing activities were in Semarang. The velodrome was founded in the city by architects Ooiman and Van Leeuwen. But this activity was stopped during the Japanese occupation. After the proclamation, bicycle racing was held again.

At the 2nd National Sports Week of 1951, bicycle racing had become an official sport in the competition. Several regions later formed a bicycle racing association, and finally, the Indonesian Bicycle Sports Association (ISSI) was established on May 20, 1956, in Semarang.

Starting in the 1980s, the popularity of bicycles in Indonesia began to be dominated by modern bikes such as mountain bikes, urban bicycles (commuting bikes), children’s bicycles and later there were folding bikes.

Of the many types of modern bikes, mountain bikes are the most popular in Indonesia. The bike, which was first introduced in 1977 by Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, and his team, was indeed favored by many urban communities in Indonesia.

Now in the millennial era, bicycle models are also growing. Currently, there are MTB bikes (mountain bikes) to folding bikes. Besides that BMX bikes are also starting to be in demand by young Indonesians. This is because BMX bikes can be used to perform extreme attractions that challenge adrenaline.