Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Contented Woman Cyclist (1896 Poster)
Ride a Stearns [bicycle] and be content
From the Library of Congress' poster collections.
Title : Ride a Stearns and be content / J. Ottmann Lith. Co., Puck Bld'g, N.Y.
Creator(s): Penfield, Edward, 1866-1925, artist
Date Created/Published : 
Medium : 1 print (poster) : chromolithograph ; 152 x 116 cm.
Summary : Poster advertising Stearns bicycles, showing a woman cyclist.
Reproduction Number : LC-USZC4-6645 (color film copy transparency)
This is a scan of a color transparency copy of the original and not a direct scan of the original item. I have cropped and rotated the image that is on the LoC site, which is here.
what is not so clear to us today from the poster is that the rider is coasting - since this is a "fixed gear" where is no coasting with feet on the pedals. In order to coast, you put your feet up on small posts on either side of the fork (that are not visible, but are there) while the pedals continue to go around.
A clearer image of coasting from 1896
In the example above, you can see that this bike does have a single brake for the front wheel, which is a "spoon brake" that is activated by a rod that presses down against the front tire. Trying to stop a coasting bike that didn't have a brake would involve somehow getting your feet back on the spinning pedals - not so easy.
Another woman rider coasting - she looks happier than just "content"