Kids' bikes go back to the future

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Have children's balance bikes reached a tipping point? The pedal-free machines--which look a lot like the world's first bicycle--have gone mainstream, rolling over the competition in stores and on reality TV.


Germany's Baron Karl von Drais invents a wooden contraption--two in-line wheels, no pedals--designed for gliding. The French call it a draisienne; the English, a hobbyhorse


The velocipede adds pedals to the front wheel; wooden spokes and iron rims that clatter over cobblestones help earn it the nickname "boneshaker"


Bicycles with huge front wheels begin to surge in popularity. Initially called ordinaries, they are later dubbed penny-farthings, in...

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