A unicycle is, the word says it all, a bike with one wheel. A unicycle does not have a freewheel, so the rider has to keep pedaling to ride. Often a bicycle chain is missing and the cranks are pinned on the axle of the wheel. Unicycling is The Netherlands' youngest cycling.
The history of the unicycle begins with the invention of the bicycle. The German Karl Drais (1785-1851) made the design of the running bike: a wooden bar with two wheels and a steering mechanism; the movement happened by turning you off with your foot. He introduced his Draisine or Hobby horse in Paris in 1818. The improvement of the design by adding cranks (crutches) and pedals to the front wheel was called a Velocipede. The first means of transport in mass production was the Michaux Velocipede in 1865. Around 1870 James Starley designed a unique bike called the high bi and which is made up of a very large front wheel and a small rear wheel. It is this bike that was the inspiration for the development of the unicycle.
One of the theories about the rise of the unicycle is that the popularity of the high bi at the end of the nineteenth century underlies the unicycle. Because the pedals were connected directly via cranks with the axle of the front wheel, the rear wheel could still enter the air when the rider tried to brake. This inspired some to try out how long they could drive up the rear wheel and discover that it is really possible to drive a tall bi on one wheel. The unicycle was born. The evidence for this theory can be found in images of the late nineteenth century of unicycles with large wheels.
Because unicycles require more skill than regular bicycles, they were mainly ridden by entertainers. Over the years, enthusiastic one-wheel riders have enabled manufacturers to come up with new designs, such as saddleless unicycles and tall unicycles (the giraffe).