Hello, fellow cyclists!
Today I’m sharing sharing some photographs from many years ago when cycling was just beginning to take off as a sport. As this article from The Guardian discusses, 19th century cyclists truly did pave the way for vehicles of the future. Therefore, today, we’ll honor our cycling forefathers in this blog post all about 19th century cycling.
In between the photos below, I’ll share excerpts regarding cycling about and from the 19th century.
Many thanks for visiting the site, as always, and enjoy!
“The bicycle is in truth the women’s emancipator. It imparts an open-air freedom and freshness to a life hithertofore cribbed, cabined and confined by convention. The cyclists have collided with the unamiable Mrs Grundy (a voice for conservative opinion in the period) and ridden triumphantly over her prostrate body.” -Female Cyclist, 1899
“To find oneself miles from anywhere, with the mossiest of banks inviting a loll, a smoke and a quiet chat with congenial clubmates – to experience these things is to taste the real sweets of the cyclists’ existence.” -Bristol Tricycle and Cycling Club, 1897
“If physical mobility is an essential condition of freedom, the bicycle has probably been the greatest single device for achieving what Marx has called the full realisation of being human invented since Gutenberg, and the only one without obvious drawbacks.” -Eric Hobsbawm
“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true
I’m half crazy over the love of you
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage
But you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.” -Harry Darce’s Song “Daisy Bell” written in 1892
“We have had many pleasures in the way of travelling, but we have never yet experienced such exhilarating enthusiasm or such complete recreation. What once was impossible has become possible, and distance is no longer the barrier to the refreshment of country life or contact with kindred spirits.” -Newspaper, 1895
“Those men and women in the 1890s were the first generation to experience what we would recognise as ‘modern’ bicycles. In the late 1880s penny farthings began to be replaced by safety bicycles, with diamond frames, chain-driven rear wheels and pneumatic tyres. For the vast majority of the population who did not own horse-drawn vehicles, purchasing a bicycle meant that for the first time they owned their own personal means of longer-distance transportation.” -From The Guardian’s Secret History of 19th Century Cyclists
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” -Arthur Conan Doyle, 1896
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” -H.G. Wells