There are several early, but unverified claims for the invention of the bicycle.
The earliest claim is that the bicycle was first made by the hand of Chinese inventor Lu Ban.
Another later report, in the form of a sketch, comes from 1534 and attributed to Gian Giacomo Caprotti, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci. In 1998 Hans-Erhard Lessing described this 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.