The 'dandy horse', c1818. 'The dandy ' or 'hobby horse' was the forerunner of the bicycle and was invented by Baron von Drais in France in 1817. It was called the draisienne in Paris and known as the Drais Laufmaschine in Germany. It was introduced to England the following year by Denis Johnson, a coachmaker of Long Acre, London, who described it as a 'pedestrian curricle'. Dandy horses had no pedals or brakes, but were propelled by the rider pushing on the ground with his feet, and dragging the feet to slow the machine. Johnson started a school where prospective purchasers could learn how to ride the machine, and in 1819 fashionable London society was briefly gripped by a craze for riding a dandy horse.
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