Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wheels and Wheeling (1892)

Another book from the Library of Congress collections, digitized by Google, is
Wheels and wheeling: an indispensible handbook for cyclists published in 1892. The modern "safety bicycle" was not dominant at that early point.

The first chapter describes the important "League of American Wheelmen" in rather great detail, followed by an entire chapter about "macadam roads." Finally the history of the bicycle is given and the "copious illustrations" described on the title page begin.

Early forerunners of the (modern) "safety bicycle" are described, such as the "Bicyclette."

Bicyclette (1880)

The basic modern bicycle is called a "diamond safety."

Diamond Safety Bicycle

One senses that the move to the basic modern bicycle had some who resisted - note this "chainless" variant of a "safety bicycle" ~

Chainless Safety Bicycle (1892)

There are of course mysteries - did the chainless safety (above) have a freewheel of some sort in the front hub? Otherwise why is there a brake for the front wheel - or perhaps the illustration is in error.

And there are ads from different bicycle manufacturers in the front and back.

Rambler Bike Ad from (1892)

Amusing description of the pneumatic tires.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Velo Orange

I had to run my back wheel from my Traitor Ruben pseudo cyclo-cross but really a commuter bike over to Spokes to get a spoke replaced on the back wheel (well, I just took the wheel, actually). This is the second spoke to pop so I am thinking this wheel will require rebuilding with better spokes in the near future. Phooey. The disk brake means the rear wheel spokes are pretty stressed, even if there are 36 of them.

Woman out front of the store was loading her fancy randonnée bike onto her car rack - a Velo Orange bike. I admired it - she seemed pleased. I suspect most people don't recognize it for the stack o'cash that it represents. The leather bag she still had attached to the front handlebars sitting on its special shiney rack (that has some French name that I'm forgetting) probably cost $300 alone.

Something like this ~

Velo Orange Randonneur

Looking at the Velo Orange dealer network, there are a zillion in CA, OR, and WA but like four in VA. Oh well.

More Interbike Photos on Flickr

Searching Flickr for "Interbike 2010" brings up many nice photos of very nice bikes (and some other bikes, I suppose, that aren't so nice) at the recent Interbike expo.

Nice randonnée bike, but made by whom? Not clear ~

Interbike 2010: Day 01 Photos

Drilling holes as art !!

Interbike 2010: Day 01 Photos

Century Old DIY Book for Cycle Building and Repair

Cycle Building and Repairing with Numerous Engravings and Diagrams in Google Book Search, published in 1904. From the Library of Congress. This one has loads of diagrams and illustrations.

A fair number of illustrations shows various bits and pieces ~

Bicycle fittings (1904)

Below is a tandem for which the book describes construction - perhaps not all the details, but quite a bit.

Tandem bike from 1904

There are 17 pages about dealing with tires - one gathers that these present some issues, judging from pages such as the one shown below. "13 tires in general use" sounds like a bit of standarization was needed.

Bicycle tire (1904)

Int'l Bike (or Walk) to School Month, Day ?

Arlington County tells me that October is "International Walk or Bike to School Month," and that on Wed, Oct. 6 (rain date: Oct. 13), Arlington Public Schools will participate by encouraging parents to walk and bike to school with their children.

More information is available.

One assumes in much of the world every day is walk to school day.

Bike Box (Traffic Measure) in Seattle

Article about a "Bike Box" in Seattle which is a traffic measure that I hadn't heard of before. The idea is to paint an area at stop lights for bikes to gather and wait rather than stack up in the bike lane. (I think that's the idea, anyway.)

I have to think about whether I think there is any real benefit or not.

One aspect is that 12th, the street where this will be in Seattle, is a fairly wide street but not very heavily used by car traffic. So it may make good sense there.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Russian Book from LC about Cycling (1895)

Sovremennyi velosiped (or Книга "Современный велосипед" 1895 года) from LC's collections was apparently one of the few General Collections items digitized by Google held at LC. It is an interesting book, although unfortunately the digitization by Google wasn't done particularly well. And it is entirely in Russian . . .

Sovremennyi velosiped (1895) - cover

The cover shows a period side-by-side tandem bike.

Like most books of this period, even though it would seem very helpful to have lots of illustrations, there are rather few. Below is my favorite - since the Google image of these pages isn't good, I have done it over with both pages presented as a single image.

Sovremennyi velosiped (1895) - my scan

Below is an ad for a Russian bike dealer towards the end of the book. "Warehouse of American, English, and Austrian bikes and accessories."

Russian Bike Dealer Ad (1895)

"Artistic cycling" in Germany

YouTube video of Germans in competition for "artistic cycling" - from the Rachel Maddow MSNBC show. "Kunstrad" in German.

Wikipedia helpfully has an article about artistic cycling to provide some background and insights.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Bike as Pragmatic Tool"

This blog entry, titled "InterBike's Pragmatic Bike Porn" has some Flickr photos and description of bikes suitable for hauling lots of stuff - and also a Hutchinson run-flat tire (filled with foam).

The front rack (basket?) on the Civia below could probably be added to any bike with bolt holes on the front fork. Unfortunately I don't have such a bike . . .

Civia Midtown

"3 Foot" Laws to Protect Cyclists

In Seattle I saw bumper stickers to give cyclists three feet of clearance when passing, but apparently it isn't the law in Washington or Oregon, both considered advanced in this area. (It is the law in Maryland, but not DC or Virginia.) is one of a number of sites advocating this law, although they seem heavily focused on selling jerseys to support their cause.

One problem seems to be that some see a contradiction between having laws allowing bicycles to use a full lane as needed and a three foot clearance requirement - see this article about Hawaii, for example. And what is the point of dedicated bike lanes if passing vehicles must clear bicycles in them by three feet - apparently motorists are expected to give three feet of clearance then too says this article.

Sign in Arlington VA reminds motorists that bicycles are entitled to the full lane - the bicycle "may use full lane" (or may not . . . ) ~
Full Lane for Bikes

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Not All Old Books Are Digitized!!

I have been reading Cold Beer and Crocodiles which is about a recent trip around the perimeter of Australia by bike. It mentions a trip by one Arthur Richardson in 1899 that was the first such bicycle endeavor, which Richardson then described in a book, Story of a Remarkable Ride. Alas few copies of this book seem to be in libraries - the Library of Congress catalog doesn't show LC having a copy - and none of the copies in Australia have yet been digitized.

A photo of Richardson on a bike is available, at least.

Friday, September 24, 2010

(Old) Cycling Photos from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has a small number of photos of cycling interest available online, for example this one of Jackie Clark, a racer, in 1912.

Jackie Clark, 12/4/12 (LOC)

If you go to the LoC "photostream" and search "cycling" they are easily enough found.

Another racer photo with the then-popular dead-on posed shot.

Peter Drobach [on bike] 12/5/12 (LOC)

Some long distance racers in 1910 ~~~

Fred Scherer & Walt Wiley (LOC)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good long description of 19th century cycling in San Francisco

Blog entry describes cycling in California, particularly San Francisco during the 19th century. Lots of detail, quotes from interesting publication, and photographs.

Notes that the popularity of the bicycle depended on pneumatic tires which in turn required lots of rubber, much of which came from Belgian King Leopold's Congo and the Amazon, setting in motion much unpleasantness for the future. On the up side, the positive role of bicycling for women is briefly noted.

Need to ride safely!

I set up a Google news alert for "bicycling" (just that one word) and have been surprised and unhappy to see how many stories appear about cyclists being killed by motorists. For example, this Green Party candidate in Maryland was killed several days ago while riding in early morning, before sunrise.

Cyclists need to be careful. Helmets are good but don't solve the "hit by a car" problem.

A Wheel Within a Wheel

A wheel within a wheel : how I learned to ride the bicycle, with ... published in 1895, by Frances E. Willard. Published by the Woman's Temperance Publishing Association of Chicago.

Below, a rather overly dramatic photo showing her learning process (posed, one assumes).

Woman Learning to Ride a Bike, 1890s

Eventually it works out ~

Apparently she learned how

Car Free Day

Yesterday (9/21) was "Car Free Day" although one would not have known it from looking at the roads that I saw. And I didn't even known it until after the fact when a Google news alert brought it to my attention. Apparently this is an international "event" that isn't so well known in the U.S. - certainly not as well known by cyclists (or me) as the "Bike to Work" day in early May each year. Of course, bicycles are just one of the alternatives celebrated by Car Free Day.

Even Moscow marked the event according to the Moscow Times.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Park Tool Downloadable Catalog

The Park Tool Catalog in PDF for extensive perusal - what does one really need??

2010 Bicycle Friendly America guide

Arlington, Virginia is on page 20 - a "silver" community.

Cycling in the Netherlands . . . (booklet)

Travel by Bike to Central Asia from England, 1900

Fellow describes his travels from England to Central Asia by bike at the turn of the last century.

Bike traveler 1900, in Hungary

Author with Hungarian cyclists (or "wheelmen"). Image not very good since taken from poor Google Book Scanning.

The full book is available here: A new ride to Khiva by Robert L. Jefferson, published in 1900.

Exotic bike on the National Mall

I went down to the Mall thinking I was going to see some 1880s or so "ordinary" bikes (large front wheel, small rear wheel) but they were nowhere to be seen - instead, found this guy. Well, he was kind of amusing to talk to.

Riding high . . .

It's the kind of bike described in the Atomic Zombie's Bicycle Builder's Bonanza which has some interesting designs and advocates building wacky rather than useful bikes, which seems a bit unusual.

Friday, September 17, 2010

1890 Booklet from Columbia Bicycle Manufacturer

A booklet from 1890, Suggestions for the Choice, Care and Repair of Cycles is from a prominent bicycle manufacturer of the day (probably the most significant one at the time, actually). I find it particularly curious that a guide of this sort would not include even one illustration - one is left to divine what is meant by the instructions for "how to glue a tire" (as one example) by reading their description of the process with no reference to what the bits and pieces look like.

Pope Mfg Co booklet back page

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First "safety" bicycle

First Safety Bicycle

There were bicycles with wheels of approximately the same size before this - the main innovation of this bicycle was the use of chain drive to power the rear wheel rather than direct use of the front wheel with pedals on the front wheel's hub.

From the book published in 1945 (but in the public domain), Fifty years of Schwinn-built bicycles.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cycling for Health and Pleasure

How to mount a bicycle as understood 115 years ago - I had never seen this approach. From the rear of the bike? Really?

Cycling - 1895 how to get on

Then there is this overly complex (given that it is intuitive) explanation of how to pedal a bike.

In the early days, even for a general audience there was detailed explanation of the mathematics of gearing -nowadays we probably err the other direction with too little.

There is the inevitable guidance on attire, for women in particular.

Cycling - 1895 womens attire

All from Cycling for Health and Pleasure, published in 1895.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Rider by Tim Krabbé

Krabbé's "The Rider" was only published in English (in the US, anyway) about 25 years after it was originally published in Dutch. This mostly a minute-by-minute tracking of a bike racer's thoughts, beginning to end, during a one-day bike racing event. At around 150 pages, you can fly through it but it is better to take one's time and enjoy it.