In 1817 Baron Freiherr Karl von Drais originating from Mannheim applied for a patent for his invention: the ancient bicycle. The patent with original signature of this running machine is certainly a highlight of the bicycle exhibition at the Ludwigsburg State Archive, which will open its doors today. The exhibition shows however also clearly that not only Baden people were inventive, but also Swabians who contributed a lot into the development of the bicycle in these 200 years.
The exhibition includes various aspects of bicycle history. It not only shows historical documents, but also a few old bicycles like a Swiss military bicycle, pieces of cycle artwork and cycle and bike films. The focus was not on the State Archive, but on the participating school, says Dr. Peter Mueller, Head of the State Archive.
The exhibition was developed by pupils of the technical grammar school Oscar-Walcker-School together with their teacher Hans-Jörg Gerste who had the idea to make this show. Each of the ten pupils created a showcase together with the State Archive and welded bicycles into a piece of artwork which is exhibited in the show room. In addition, numerous partners, among others the State Archive, Ludwigsburg’s Garnisonmuseum, Ludwigsburg’s Road Racing Club Komet as well as the local Institut für Fahrradtechnik und -Sicherheit Zedler participated in creating the show.
Bicycles are tested in Ludwigsburg
The managing director of the institute, Dirk Zedler, als made available to the show a few historic bicycles from his collection. Furthermore, Zedler’s first wheel tested developed by the graduate engineer in 1994 is to be seen in the show. The STW (stiffness-to-weight) factor which is used internationally is not an American invention, but originated from Ludwigsburg, emphasizes Dirk Zedler. "All over the world bicycles are tested in accordance with standards developed in Ludwigsburg", says Zedler.
And even beyond that the exhibition shows again and again a relation to Ludwigsburg - even with items from the archives. "In former days, cycling was a thing you did in a club", explains Dr. Simon Karzel, Head of the City Archive. In Ludwigsburg, there had allegedly been four of such clubs with the first of them being founded in 1888. The members participated jointly in competitions. From 1900 on the clubs offered even private liability insurances to their members. Such a document is equally shown like a regulation of the city to use the bicycle (1898). "During the Nazi era the clubs were dissolved", explains Karzel. And after the Second World War it was not allowed to everybody to cycle right away. “The Americans filled out permission cards”, states Karzel. You were only allowed to own a bicycle with this card.
Knowledge testing and pedalling
Visitors cannot only look and read, but also touch and become active in testing their cycle knowledge or pedalling forcefully. "Our claim: We want to strengthen the social aspect of the bicycle", says teacher Gerste.
Zedler is also happy with the show. According to Zedler, the exhibition would show that the bicycle had been the very means of transport for decades. The car were only a short break. "According to research, there is a megatrend towards bicycles", says Zedler, with a particular focus on e-bikes and pedelecs. And here the show ends: The final exhibit to be seen is a Ludwigsburg e-bike. “The bicycle is mainly made of Swabian components”, explains Dirk Zedler. The brakes, for example, were made by a well-known manufacturer from Bad Urach and the assembly of the e-bike was made in Freiberg am Neckar.
Author: Martina Peao