We don't want to be presumptuous, but Dirk Zedler’s bicycle measurement methods conquered the world from Ludwigsburg. The Palmarès of the local cycle sports, in particular that of the traditional club RSC Komet, also names rainbow jerseys and the German Championship. But there is especially one thing at the show in Ludwigsburg, what the Mannheim show is astonishingly missing. The document with which everything began, i.e. the patent application of Baron Freiherr Karl von Drais dated November 1, 1817. The loan originates from the General State Archive in Karlsruhe, which just like the State Archive in Ludwigsburg, belongs to the Regional Archive of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
But how was it looking at all, the first bicycle of the world? The drawing and the reconstruction of that draisine on which Karl von Drais made the first 13 kilometres of bicycle history on June 12, 1817 show that the first bicycle was actually a running machine. Cycling as we know it today, i.e. pedalling on a velocipede, came up only 50 years later. Air tyre equipment and bicycle chains are yet younger.
Dr. Peter Müller from the State Archive drew the attention of the first visitors to something particular on Monday. Whereas most exhibitions in his house were created by exhibits from their own collection, this show was the product of a collaboration. Many hands had contributed to its success.
Pupils of the Ludwigsburg Oscar-Walcker-School were picked out by him in this connection. Because it was them who had the idea for this exhibition 200 years after the invention of the two-wheeler principle. Hans-Jörg Gerste and Elke Koch, head of the seminar “200 years of bicycle” made the contact with Dirk Zedler.
Zedler loves bicycles above all and he knows almost everything about them. He collects among other things historical models together with Helge Schultz. A few treasures from the Zedler/Schultz collection certainly count among the three-dimensional main attractions of the exhibition. For example a bicycle made of bamboo, a recumbent bike and a bicycle as used in the era of the six-day races.
Photos and numerous documents about the early years of the bicycle movement in Ludwigsburg originate from the State Archive Ludwigsburg. Around the year 1888 it had picked up pace mainly thanks to the foundation of several bicycle clubs. They met for a ride, organised cycle rallies.
Numerous exhibits demonstrating the military use of the bicycle from the collection of the Garrison Museum Ludwigsburg found their way on the exhibition space. A Swiss military bicycle which must be able by the way to survive undamaged being thrown twenty times from a troop transporter completes the military facet.
Furthermore, there are historic film documents, the Walcker pupils developed a computer game and Dirk Zedler sew up top tubes which suspended on cords show today’s material used for soldering bicycles or for modelling with epoxy resin. In addition, visitors are invited to pedal on roller trainers. And certainly, the show must not lack an official pedelec of the City of Ludwigsburg. It marks the provisional peak in development of a means of transportation moving the world.
Author/Photo: Michael Langjahr
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