Happy 200th Birthday to the Laufmaschine !
The "running machine", which fifty years later started to morph into the bike as we know it today The Laufmaschine – or draisine – was invented by Baron Karl von Drais of Mannheim, Germany, in June 1817.
Drais was a civil servant who created his machine as a horse substitute. In 1815, dust from the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia covered the Northern Hemisphere causing the so-called "year without a summer" of 1816, which led to famines in Europe and beyond in 1817. A shortage of oats in Germany forced the slaughter of many horses. All of these themes are on the €20 coin, which will be released in July 2017.
The German finance ministry ran a national competition to choose the design of the coin, and this was judged by, among others, the eminent cycle-historian Professor Dr. Hans-Erhard Lessing of Koblenz.
Can you imagine the Australian Department of Finance giving two-thirds of a shit about the birthday of the bicycle, let alone producing a special-edition coin ? Here in Australian we're only interested in coining it in in terms of how many unreasonable bike-fines we can levy against riders.
Somewhat disturbingly it looks like Donald Drumphf won the competition to design the other side - that angry eagle has ... sinister undertones ...