. . . cycling through Jamaica's history


There must be a start somewhere to the story of bicycles in Jamaica, but I am not sure I have found it yet! The bicycle story really got started in the early 19th century with the invention of a sort of aid to walking sometimes called the Draisienne (after Baron von Drais, its inventor) or hobby-horse. (No, we don't really think da Vinci invented the bicycle.) There was a craze in Europe for the Draisienne in the 1820s, but I have not found any source so far which can tell me if anyone in Jamaica got that bug.

I wonder if anyone actually tried this machine out on the streets of Spanish Town or Falmouth in the 1820s.
The next development in the history of the bicycle came when pedals were added to the front wheel of the Draisienne. This meant that the rider's feet no longer walked along the ground to move the machine; it worked the way modern children's tricycles still work. The new machine was usually called a 'velocipede' and in the late 1860s it was all the rage in Europe and North America. It was at this point that Jamaicans, who have always loved technical novelty, got into the act.the act.  act.
Remarkably, this first mention of the velocipede that I have found so far in Jamaica, indicates that a Jamaican craftsman was trying, as many others were elsewhere, to find some way to make the rear-wheel the driver of the machine, which was to be the major way forward in improving this new mode of transportation.