Eugene Meyer, 1828-1891, was born in Alsace France. A skilled mechanic and inventive genius, Meyer built some of the finest velocipedes of the day. He is recognized as the inventor of the all metal tension wheel, French patent # 86705 of August 4, 1869, and considered by some to be the creator of the first commercially successful high wheel bicycle. Meyer also raced his velocipedes.
Many consider Englishman James Starley (21 April 1831-17 June 1881) to be the father of the British bicycle industry. Whether true or not James Starley was an inventive genius and cycling pioneer. At an early age he tinkered with all things mechanical and as a boy invented a rat trap built from an old umbrella. Starley's mechanical prowess was developed in the sewing machine trade where he later held several patents for machines of his own making.