What were the first bicycles in Spain? We discover the most historic brands

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If anything is synonymous with town and summer, knee-scratching and fun… it’s the bicycle. The most faithful adventure companion with which we can escape from the city, enjoy the great outdoors and discover different things at every step. It represents our autonomy in a world where we set the rules. There are countless routes and paths to follow on our bicycles, although they can also be improvised.

Did you know that Spain developed the design of bicycles that have marked the history of many Spaniards? They were born, above all, in the Basque Country, which knew how to develop popular models with personality and even took their first steps in the world of competitive cycling. Some brands have survived, others have adapted to the circumstances… But there is one thing that no one will ever be able to take away from them: being the bikes of reference for several generations of Spaniards. Did we discover them?

What were the first bicycles in Spain?

As we have already explained, the bicycle industry was very important in the Basque Country. The most important were: Beistegui Hermanos (BH), Orbea, and Gárate Anitua y Cia (GAC). The most important during the last century was BH. In 1923 they manufactured their first bicycle for a charity raffle in Eibar. In 1959 they moved to Vitoria where they began a strong expansion that led them at their peak to manufacture 3,000 bicycles a day. Crazy! It was the first company in Europe to mass-produce a mountain bike.

On the other hand, GAC did manufacture motorbikes and had an important market throughout the country, perhaps this was the reason that prevented it from growing further in the world of bicycles. It is true that it marked important milestones in the industry with one of the first exercise bikes in the Spanish market called Cyclostatic. Unfortunately, they ended up closing their facilities in 1996.

Orbea also appeared in the 1920s manufacturing bicycles. In 1984 they formed the Orbea cycling team with a clear commitment to a range of racing bicycles. In 1985 they won the Tour of Spain with Pedro Delgado. It was a brave and intelligent bet that put them in a privileged position in the world of competition.

When was the first bicycle invented?

Since Baron Karl von Drais invented a two-wheeled device called a velocipede in 1817 to move around more comfortably than walking, the evolution of the vehicle has been constant and today we can see very sophisticated examples of bicycles.

After the appearance, the bicycle underwent a spectacular development with the incorporation of important technological innovations: pedals, wheels with pneumatic tyres, chain transmission and many others. Moreover, all these innovations were developed and produced in Europe.

The bicycle has been used since its birth as an inexpensive, environmentally friendly, simple and people-friendly means of transport for people. We love bicycles! Do you?

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