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Precursor of Bicycle: Pedestrian Hobbyhorse or Pedestrian Curricle

Aquatint engraving circa 1820 from Ackermann’s Repository entitled Pedestrian Hobbyhorse. An elegant gentleman rides one of the “pedestrian curricles” patented by Denis Johnson in England in the early 19th Century.  This precursor of the bicycle was propelled forward by the rider striking his heels to the ground, as though running. Johnson opened several Hobbyhorse Riding Schools to instruct gentlemen in how to riding his new contraption, but they caused so many accidents that ultimately many cities banned them.