Difference Between Bicycle and Velocipede

Bicycle and velocipede are means of transportation that have been developed over different periods. Both have helped in moving around more efficiently and without trouble and since ancient times, have been preferred by many people.

Such means of transport are not hindered by traffic and signals as they are small and easy to squeeze through.

Bicycle vs Velocipede

The main difference between bicycle and velocipede is that while bicycles have got two evenly proportioned wheels of the same dimension and area, the two wheels that are seen in a velocipede are of two completely different sizes with a different area of cross-section and also the dimensions. Velocipede was mainly used before the 19th century whereas bicycles came into existence after the 19th century and are used even now.

Bicycle vs Velocipede

Bicycles are one of the highest manufactured forms of transportation that are there in this age. They are easy to use and can have many varieties. Due to its small size and ability to ride through any area, people prefer to purchase bicycles and it also has another added advantage and that is it requires no fuel to run which makes it financially very viable.

Velocipede was present in the pre-bicycle era and was famous as it helped not only in the movements of humans but also to carry goods from places in large quantities. These have no fixed number of wheels as the initial sketches of velocipede shows that it could have as many wheels as five. But for a long period, the two-wheeled types were used by most people for transportation.

Comparison Table Between Bicycle and Velocipede 

Parameters of ComparisonBicycleVelocipede
Period Of InventionAfter 19th centuryBetween 16th and 17th century
Frame With Additional AddingYesNo
Wooden WheelsNoYes, initially
Number Of WheelsTwoOne to five or sometimes more
Still In UseYesNo

What is Bicycle?

The bicycle is a two-wheeled mode of transportation that was invented in Europe during the 19th century.

The introduction of bicycles eased traveling in Eastern Europe and following this, the sales of the original design skyrocketed to more than a billion in a short period.

Back in the 19th century, cars and other modes of transportation were owned only by the well-off people and therefore those who couldn’t avail of rail transport found bicycles a blessing.

Bicycles were highly used for improving the growing industrial age by helping in cheap transportation as bicycles require manpower to move forward and not fuel.

Aside from transportation, bicycles have created a new era for the human community.

It is widely believed that since bicycles were not a single structure but instead is a frame with additional fittings such as wheels and chains, many things such as bearings and different tire types were introduced.

These introductions and inventions for the sake of bicycles have helped humanity in many fields such as construction and mechanics.

Nowadays bicycles are used mostly by the youth or by the oldest of old people who can’t get over their old habits.

It is not common to see adults on bicycles going on about their daily day-to-day tasks.

But now that people have gotten much more health-conscious and have started feeling more eco-friendly, there is a general slide towards the use of bicycles.

Another positive side of bicycles is that it is easy to find our way in heavy traffic while on a bicycle due to its lean size.

People have started inventing more classier versions of the initial bicycle sketch to match the personalities and even professions of individuals.

What is Velocipede?

Velocipede is a wheeled vehicle that was introduced in Germany in the 16th or 17th century.

Eventually, over time velocipede started gaining popularity as people started seeing it as an ideal mode of transportation.

Those who had to walk long distances to reach their place of work back in time found inventions such as the velocipede really valuable and a time saver.

Later on, even after the establishment of coal trains, the velocipede was still in high use as the railway wasn’t present at all places.

Velocipede starts as a single-wheeled ride that was later on used in circuses to attract customers with the skills needed to ride one of those.

But as time went on, velocipede got different versions added on where two and more wheels were present.

Velocipede with five wheels was common for industrial uses such as carrying raw materials or even supplying the finished products.

Even for the proper functioning of coal trains, the velocipede was essential.

This was because the velocipede was used to carry the coal to the pit stop points at each station for the train to get energy.

The process of manufacturing velocipede was different according to the number of wheels that were present in the cycle.

The smaller the number of wheels the less the price was.

This was because the safety was lax in the lesser wheeled velocipede and there was more safety in the three or more wheeled velocipede.

This could therefore determine the buyers and their financial capabilities as well as their position in society.

Therefore, it was the daily wage workers or the people in the lowest strata of the economy that preferred to purchase the single-wheeled velocipede.

The clergymen or a bit better of such individuals such as ladies and even men belonging to the upper class usually purchased a three-wheeled velocipede or maybe even a rare four-wheeled velocipede.

It is now rare to find a velocipede as it is a thing of the past and better forms of similar transportation have been invented.

Museums in Europe and also vintage monuments around the world could be expected to hold different types of velocipede in their hold.

Main Differences Between Bicycle and Velocipede

  1. While bicycles are always expected to be two-wheeled and stable, velocipede can have as many wheels as five or even one, which might prove to be highly unstable while using.
  2. Velocipede is constructed as a single structure with the seat attached to the rest of the body along with the wheels where none of these are added on separately, but bicycles on the other hand include many parts that are added to the mainframe.
  3. The initial velocipede was constructed completely with wood and later on with the common presence of iron, the velocipede got upgraded to iron manufacture, whereas bicycles were always constructed with iron and many more elements.
  4. For bicycles to be released at the markets, it needs to have many additional supports such as ball bearings which were introduced just for the completion of a bicycle whereas no such inventions were made for a velocipede.
  5. While bicycles are still in common use, people are no longer seen using velocipede.


Both bicycles and velocipede have marked different eras of simple transportation that doesn’t require much hassle.

It is both an environment-friendly means of transport as it does not release poisonous fumes out into the atmosphere killing the biosphere.

This is because it requires no fuel such as petrol or diesel for motion and can work on the mechanical power generated from the muscle power of humans.

It is always better to have either of these as it reduces the amount of time spent on traffics and in crowded places.

Even though velocipede is not in use, bicycles are an evolved form of it.

If both had been present in the same era, bicycles would have been much safer than velocipede as the wheels of bicycles provide less probability of tripping and falling, unlike velocipede.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11116-006-9109-1
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uS9LAAAAYAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=velocipede&ots=eZsLj6zFyL&sig=QngiQ7c-1hE90CXJ2nXJ2k7wJB0
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