Monday, January 16th 2017 at 8:53AM GMT
Mannheim in Germany is rolling out the red carpet for cyclists this year as it celebrates the two-hundredth anniversary of the invention of the proto-bicycle. The Draisinne was created by Karl von Drais, a forestry civil-servant and lowly aristocrat who lived in the city. The Laufmaschine – or “running machine” – was famously ridden in the gardens of Mannheim Schloss, and this castle will be one of the locations for a great many celebratory events in the city this year.
Under slogan of “Mannheim Bike – Where it all began” there will be events such as a year-long exhibition in the city’s technical museum, and on 16th September there will be a son-et-lumiere show set against the walls of Mannheim Schloss. “The magnificent building forms a fitting backdrop for a unique finale,” says the local tourist board. “In a multivisual journey of theatre, music and light, the global triumph of the bicycle will be enacted and celebrated.”
There will also be a cycle conference in April, and a weekend bike festival in mid-June. Cycle touring in the Mannheim region is being promoted throughout the year. One of the sponsor’s of the celebrations is Ortleib, the German cycle pannier company. The chosen charity for Mannheim’s Year of the Bike is SRAM’s seed-funded World Bicycle Relief. Some of the monies raised will be bicycle-themed: Germany has rolled out a twenty Euro coin featuring the Laufmaschine.