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In Velox Libertas!
January 28, 2014 9:57 AM   Subscribe

In May 2008, while excavating around the castle, the archaeologists of Bristol University made a surprising discovery. They have unearthed two graves side by side. In both of them they have found the rests of the body of an armored knight, and above it in one grave the well preserved skeleton of a horse, while in the other the fragments of iron objects which, seen from above, resembled… a bicycle.

Ad Astra
Very deep is the well of the past, it is no small effort to pick out all the garbage that has been thrown into it. Our recent post on medieval and Renaissance bicycles has been honored first of all by the original Russian “translator”, Boris Indrikov, who also provided us with the reproduction of Van Gogh’s posthumous painting Self-portrait with bicycle, without the artist’s left ear and all the rest.
The original translator, Boris Indrikov, has more (in Russian).
posted by the man of twists and turns (52 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
I honestly don't know whether this is astonishing true history, or a jackalope. I think I'll check back later.
posted by General Tonic at 10:08 AM on January 28 [13 favorites]


Jackalope.
A lovely, lovely jackalope.
posted by Floydd at 10:09 AM on January 28 [13 favorites]


Lovingly detailed jackalope.
posted by yoink at 10:11 AM on January 28 [5 favorites]


"IN this way, pages could relay messages from the nobles to their generals, through the crowded marching order, in a most expeditious way. These pages were easily identified by decorations emblazoned upon the skin of their bare arms and necks, and checkerboard pattern atop their canvas slippers. Their mode of dress indicated a certain impoverished daring, and was eagerly adopted by some of the nobility, such as the Prince of Bel-Air." - History of the Shimano-Campagnolo Wars by the Distinguished Journaller Jassé Geoff
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:11 AM on January 28 [18 favorites]


Whoa- mind blown, exit wound boned.

Well done, and thanks.
posted by stinkfoot at 10:12 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I am so joining the Knights of the Bicycle!
posted by Mister_A at 10:12 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


OK, this was a bit of a mindfuck. I got my Masters in archaeology at the University of Bristol in 2008, so I was a bit nonplussed when I read the headline, but I figured it out pretty quickly when the photos didn't show any actual archaeologists from Bristol.
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:13 AM on January 28 [9 favorites]


I'm still joining though.
posted by Mister_A at 10:13 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


This is the episode I'm reminded of.

You know its just a promo for a new local bike shop thats opening up.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:14 AM on January 28


Yeah, I realized it was an (incredibly detailed) jackalope right about here. That is not an archaologist from 2008. I think that's one of the guys who discovered some human ancestor in Africa back in the 70s/80s.

But references to New Time in the first paragraph should also have tipped me off, except for my cursed habit of skimming introductions and getting the good stuff.
posted by muddgirl at 10:15 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Jackalope.
A lovely, lovely jackalope.



A jackalope couchant guardant argent, supporting with its dexter forepaw a banner gules, charged with a dexter hand appaumée of the first, staff Or.[151]
posted by ocschwar at 10:15 AM on January 28 [46 favorites]


(Also the fact that this was sourced at Bristol University probably makes more sense in the original Russian, whereas it doesn't make sense that English speakers would first be hearing about this from a Russian translation of a supposedly-English article. Whhhhhy don't I actually read internet articles!)
posted by muddgirl at 10:18 AM on January 28


Chugga, chugga, chugga. Power chord. Power chord.

Knight bikes!
Knights on bikes!
Fully dressed in armour,
they are riding through the night!

Widdly, widdly. Drum solo…
posted by popcassady at 10:18 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


The chain design and overall likeness with current time bicycles makes it quite obvious that it's fake. If there ever was a proto-bicycle, it would have pedals connected straight to the wheel instead.
posted by ymgve at 10:20 AM on January 28 [7 favorites]


Came to say what ymgve said... but this is so, so beautiful and interestingly done.
posted by Huck500 at 10:23 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Fully dressed in armour,
they are riding through the night!


Oh god this isn't a promo for a new Hammerfall album is it?
posted by Wolfdog at 10:23 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


And by the way this is an excellent post. Thank you.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:24 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


The chain design and overall likeness with current time bicycles makes it quite obvious that it's fake aliens must have aided in the design and construction.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:25 AM on January 28 [8 favorites]


Oh god this isn't a promo for a new Hammerfall album is it?

No, just a description of recent events in Kiev.
posted by ocschwar at 10:26 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Wow, awesomely detailed hoax! The fake medieval illustrations are fantastic!
posted by Ndwright at 10:26 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


The "translator" is, as the photo indicates, a painter. Here are some of his paintings.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:28 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


On second thought, let's not go to Château-Gaillard. It is a silly place.
posted by prinado at 10:30 AM on January 28 [13 favorites]


Even as it became more and more obvious it was fake, I liked it more and more.
posted by cell divide at 10:32 AM on January 28 [9 favorites]


Reminds me of this Mitchell and Webb sketch.
posted by Acey at 10:33 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


That's not a bike! It's a time machine!
posted by fungible at 10:33 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


KNIGHT BIKER

A SHADOWY FLIGHT
INTO THE DANGEROUS WORLD
OF A MAN WHO DOES NOT EXIST.

boop bada beedoobeedoo boop bada beedoobeedoo
posted by Casimir at 10:37 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]


I knew it was a fake as soon as I saw the toe clips. And the geometry of the bikes is impossible; they wouldn't be able to support their own weight. But gorgeous, all the way through.
posted by Fnarf at 10:41 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Some of the originals, pre-shopping:

Botticelli Dante's Confession
Gelre Armorial 56v
posted by zamboni at 10:47 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


You're all cooing and cheering now, but this is the kind of hoax that gets some people to denying moon landings or believing in orgone energy.
posted by JHarris at 11:07 AM on January 28 [6 favorites]


(Anyway, I'm pretty sure the Sun King would be riding a fixie, at least.)
posted by JHarris at 11:07 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Had me going for awhile! :). The 'Medieval' and 'Renaissance' drawings are awesome! I want as near an approximation of one of these bikes as possible, ASAP!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:13 AM on January 28


The chain design and overall likeness with current time bicycles makes it quite obvious that it's fake. If there ever was a proto-bicycle, it would have pedals connected straight to the wheel instead.
posted by ymgve at 1:20 PM on January 28

Ha, duhhh (j/k you just rediscovered the Penny-farthing though)
posted by stinkfoot at 11:41 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I was a bit slow on the uptake, but I did realize that the rear reflector was a bit too far ahead of its time.
posted by ckape at 11:48 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


After last nights Rick and Morty episode I am clearly ready to believe anything. This had me all the way through and until I read the comments here.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:50 AM on January 28


I like to joust. Fixed gear. No brakes. Can't stop. Don't want to, either.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:23 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


Floydd: "Jackalope.
A lovely, lovely jackalope.
"

The problem with that metaphor: jackalopes are quasi-real.

More like a Chariot of the Gods, or crop-circle.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:47 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


In days of old when knights were bold
And bicycles just invented
Chainmail would fold into places untold
And codpieces wound up dented.
posted by Kabanos at 12:48 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


Delightful stuff, and let me plug Poemas del río Wang in general, for those who aren't familiar with this superb blog (see my remarks here for more).
posted by languagehat at 12:52 PM on January 28


It is this, it is this, for which Metafilter exists, exists to give us just this.

Excellent post, mantot, thanks!
posted by infini at 12:59 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I was skeptical right off because of the fancy fenders serving essentially no purpose. Even blacksmiths and armorers in the 15th century wouldn't have added all that metal to a device powered by a human for non ceremonial purposes.

Then the machine pictured featured all sorts of technology previously unknown during the time period: pneumatic tires (1888); roller chain (1880); wire wheels (1808). Safety bicycle layout (1870/1880s). I could see one of these immensely useful techs disappearing but all three? On a device used in combat?

But I was still ready to believe until the end where there isn't a decent picture of the reproduction? Must be a hoax.
posted by Mitheral at 1:28 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


You're all cooing and cheering now, but this is the kind of hoax that gets some people to denying moon landings or believing in orgone energy.

How dare you mock my sex cabinet
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:49 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


you have a cabinet full of sex?
posted by infini at 2:43 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


This reads as a short version of The Cyclist Conspiracy, a novel about, well, a secret society of cyclists who appear throughout history and influence its events. The book is a lot of fun, if convoluted and Freudian, and very, very similar to the article above.
posted by Turkey Glue at 2:49 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


How dare you mock my sex cabinet

I could have sworn that was a song by Ian Dury.
posted by yoink at 3:14 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


zamboni: Some of the originals, pre-shopping:

Thanks!
posted by sneebler at 3:41 PM on January 28


I was skimming through this, and I could have bought it, up to the chain-and-gear design. It so happened I'd been dicking around on Wikipedia and read the article about the dandy horse, the real first proto-bicycle. It didn't even have pedals. What people did was run it along straddling, get up a head of steam and then push off. This was generally done by young men with too much money and not enough sense, hence the name. Plus, you could only really use it on nicely groomed paths.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:21 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


you have a cabinet full of sex?

People sit in these boxes and absorb the orgone sex waves of the universe. Or something.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:24 PM on January 28


The chain design and overall likeness with current time bicycles makes it quite obvious that it's fake. If there ever was a proto-bicycle, it would have pedals connected straight to the wheel instead.

If it even had pedals. I would have expected something like this.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:56 PM on January 28


They finished blindfolding him, they led him under the rope. I couldn't shake off that clinging impotence. But when I saw them put the noose around his neck, then everything let go in me and I made a spring to the rescue—and as I made it I shot one more glance abroad—by George! here they came, a-tilting!—five hundred mailed and belted knights on bicycles!

The grandest sight that ever was seen. Lord, how the plumes streamed, how the sun flamed and flashed from the endless procession of webby wheels!
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:37 PM on January 28


Wow. Of all the groups who could prevail in the upcoming bloody culture wars, dominate the world and develop time travel it'll be the cyclists?

That's a long way from Star Trek. But at least the uniforms will be similar.
posted by fonetik at 6:39 PM on January 28


Somebody has been reading his Mark Twain...
posted by MartinWisse at 10:03 PM on January 28


Knights On Bikes
posted by homunculus at 10:28 PM on January 29


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