Origin of Bicycle
There are several early, but unverified claims for the invention of the bicycle according to wikipedia.
A sketch from around 1500 AD is attributed to Gian Giacomo Caprotti, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, but it was described by Hans-Erhard Lessing in 1998 as a purposeful fraud. However, the authenticity of the bicycle sketch is still vigorously maintained by followers of Prof. Augusto Marinoni, a lexicographer and philologist, who was entrusted by the Commissione Vinciana of Rome with the transcription of Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus.
Later, and equally unverified, is the contention that a certain "Comte de Sivrac" developed a célérifère in 1792, demonstrating it at the Palais-Royal in France. The célérifère supposedly had two wheels set on a rigid wooden frame and no steering, directional control being limited to that attainable by leaning. A rider was said to have sat astride the machine and pushed it along using alternate feet. It is now thought that the two-wheeled célérifère never existed (though there were four-wheelers) and it was instead a misinterpretation by the well-known French journalist Louis Baudry de Saunier in 1891.
China and the Flying Pigeon
The Flying Pigeon was at the forefront of the bicycle phenomenon in the People's Republic of China. The vehicle was the government approved form of transport, and the nation became known as zixingche wang guo (自行车王国) — the 'Kingdom of Bicycles'. A bicycle was regarded as one of the three "must-haves" of every citizen, alongside a sewing machine and watch – essential items in life that also offered a hint of wealth. The Flying Pigeon bicycle became a symbol of an egalitarian social system that promised little comfort but a reliable ride through life.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the logo became synonymous with almost all bicycles in the country. The Flying Pigeon became the single most popular mechanized vehicle on the planet, becoming so ubiquitous that Deng Xiaoping — the post-Mao leader who launched China's economic reforms in the 1970s — defined prosperity as "a Flying Pigeon in every household".
In the early 1980s, Flying Pigeon was the country's biggest bike manufacturer, selling 3 million cycles in 1986. Its 20-kilo black single-speed models were popular with workers, and there was a waiting list of several years to get one, and even then buyers needed good guanxi (relationship) in addition to the purchase cost, which was about four months' wages for most workers.