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Keep it radical, good chap!
April 20, 2009 7:58 PM   Subscribe

We've had quite a few lovely posts over the years about people on bikes and skateboards and all these fine new sports that those crazy kids are in to these days, whether it's charging it, huckin' or riding in all its myriad of forms. New, yeah? Here's your great-great-granddad showing you what for with some barspins and suchlike novelties on a heavy old fixie. Stick around for the full-pipe attempt at the end. Directed and filmed by Thomas Edison.
posted by loquacious (64 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
First I find that my generation didn't invent sex, and now this!
posted by b1tr0t at 8:12 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Silly old men. Don't they know Trix are for kids?
posted by netbros at 8:18 PM on April 20, 2009


As evidenced by this video, Thomas Edison's fixie tricks are the only thing to overshadow his time machine.
posted by dirty lies at 8:20 PM on April 20, 2009


You think that's something, you should see Tesla's stuff on the half-pipe. Those Serbians are CRAZY, bra!
posted by leotrotsky at 8:21 PM on April 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is easily the greatest slyt to ever go up on Metafilter.
posted by Caduceus at 8:27 PM on April 20, 2009


Awesome? You want awesome? You need to turn to BikerFox. His site, bikerfox.com, has been linked on the blue, but you don't want to go there, and if you do you really don't want to watch the videos he has posted.
posted by Science! at 8:29 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hahaha. Great link. Who'da thought Deep Vs were so old an invention.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:34 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


This site says the cyclist is some guy named Neibert.
Although the rider is not actually Thomas Edison, this video was filmed by Edison in 1899. The rider, named "Neibert", was aoparently famous and had a circus background. The footage was shot on a stage with a painted "city" background.
posted by maudlin at 8:40 PM on April 20, 2009


My favorite trick here (though it's hard to see what he's doing in the video (he's off frame a lot)) is when he starts pedaling the bike with his ass.
posted by ErWenn at 8:42 PM on April 20, 2009


How far we've come.

Saw it on Waxy. Won't post a SLYT.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 8:46 PM on April 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not Neibert, maudlin. It's Eugene A. Neidert. Apparently, he was second billing to W.S. Maltby, who showed "the experiences of a dude learning to ride the bicycle, to much amusement". (NYT PDF, LOL)
posted by suckerpunch at 8:51 PM on April 20, 2009


I'll dig out my footage of Abraham Lincoln wakeboarding but it's on 8mm and I can't be bothered.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:51 PM on April 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Mr. Anthropomorphism: "How far we've come.

Saw it on Waxy. Won't post a SLYT.
"

Well, another person did and it turned into a pretty cool thread.
posted by Science! at 8:54 PM on April 20, 2009


A/S/L/Gear Ratio?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:54 PM on April 20, 2009


Right at the beginning it says BICYCLE TRICK RIDING, No. 2.

Wouldn't No. 1 be the "First bike trick EVER"?
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:54 PM on April 20, 2009


Ah, thanks, suckerpunch. No wonder my Googling couldn't pull up more.
posted by maudlin at 8:55 PM on April 20, 2009


Fucking fixies.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:57 PM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't seem to find any other old videos of trick riding, even though they seem to have existed at one time. They might be lost.
posted by suckerpunch at 9:04 PM on April 20, 2009


All right. We're getting even more hipster now. Bike polo, bitches. (NYT PDF again)
posted by suckerpunch at 9:07 PM on April 20, 2009


Man, by 1899 the scene was totally played out. You should have been around in 1896.
posted by chinston at 9:09 PM on April 20, 2009 [21 favorites]


Found in the related videos: Simon O'Brien doing crazy BMX stuff, set to a hip hop song I liked a lot. How far we've come, indeed.
posted by dammitjim at 9:10 PM on April 20, 2009


my favorite trick here is when the guy rides around in a circle and then eats pavement. twice.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:10 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't seem to find any other old videos of trick riding, even though they seem to have existed at one time. They might be lost.

That's one of the things I'm wondering. This rider has progressed to the point that he's doing peg stands, wheel walks and even one move that looks a bit like a tailwhip.

I think there's a big chunk of bicycle history we're missing. Weren't they considered to be something of an unfashionable, infernal machine at first? Stunt riding may have been terribly declasse sideshow stuff.

Not at little unlike some people think of *cough* extreme sports today.
posted by loquacious at 9:17 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


These are a lot more fun than the later films where Edison electrocutes fixie riders.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:27 PM on April 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


These are a lot more fun than the later films where Edison electrocutes fixie riders.

No, I really enjoyed those.
posted by unSane at 9:57 PM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


hell yeah
posted by humannaire at 10:23 PM on April 20, 2009


Okay- when the guy on the bike is jumping rope, at first I didn't figure out that there was a rope. I thought he was just bouncing up and down on his bike while the two men on either side were making synchronous & exaggerated gestures of encouragement.
posted by squalor at 10:55 PM on April 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


I didn't figure out that there was a rope. I thought he was just bouncing up and down on his bike while the two men on either side were making synchronous & exaggerated gestures of encouragement.

Wow. Same here. Thanks for the heads-up.

Y'all sure that's a fixie? At 0:28 it looks like he coasts.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:28 PM on April 20, 2009


James H. White was probably the camera operator, not Thomas Edison himself.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:34 PM on April 20, 2009


I liked the shameless ass-pedaling around 2:10.
posted by contraption at 11:54 PM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


20 years before this they were fancy riding penny farthings.
posted by tellurian at 12:06 AM on April 21, 2009


Ill-bred urchins and their damnable penny farthings! These gallivanting reprobates ought to be horse-whipped for their effrontery in the public square!

*Prepares a Bromo to quell the dyspepsia*
posted by darkstar at 1:04 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I got your trick riding right here.
posted by fixedgear at 1:57 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


contraption: I liked the shameless ass-pedaling around 2:10.

Don't you mean crack-pedaling?
posted by Kattullus at 4:25 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am so ashamed of myself
posted by Kattullus at 4:26 AM on April 21, 2009


On the one hand, this is cool. On the other hand, kids in the bike/skate park I drive past occasionally are better than this guy by a significant margin. It makes me wonder what skills amaze us here and now, that in a hundred years will be commonplace.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:06 AM on April 21, 2009


Freeride Mountain Bike Stunts
posted by gman at 6:12 AM on April 21, 2009


aeschenkarnos: Has your guy done a loop-de-loop? 'Cause if not, Edison's man wins.
(that was the highlight of the film for me. It was like watching Evil Knievel in a bowler and tails)
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:29 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


me: in the old days blah blah loop!
gman: *posts modern video including a loop stunt*
me: *scowls and mutters something about kids having too much money these days*
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:37 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, this is cool. On the other hand, kids in the bike/skate park I drive past occasionally are better than this guy by a significant margin. It makes me wonder what skills amaze us here and now, that in a hundred years will be commonplace.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:06 AM on April 21


I agree, but isn't some of the modern trickery due simply to much better technology? A BMX bike of today is incomparably lighter and stronger than a turn of the century bike. Hell today's bikes make my BMX racer of just 25 years ago look positively ancient.

Team Murray forever! (I couldn't afford a Mongoose, but I could afford a Mongoose sticker, which was on the back of my notebook).
posted by Ynoxas at 8:23 AM on April 21, 2009


That's awesome! That dude invented flatland riding!
posted by Mister_A at 8:33 AM on April 21, 2009


On the other hand, kids in the bike/skate park I drive past occasionally are better than this guy by a significant margin.

Technological advances aside, I still like this comment. That is some pretty standard flatlanding, and with a few mistakes to boot. That's why I found this recent post much more amazing. Those guys cranked.

I couldn't understand the "meh" in that thread compared to the lack of "meh" in this one. Is FIXIE the magic Metafilter word that makes everyone not want to rock the boat? Or, as someone said in the dancing thread, maybe you need to see the original Run DMC / Jason Nevins filmclip to get a full understanding for that added bit of win?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:50 AM on April 21, 2009


You all think this is a recently made video, right?
posted by Nelson at 8:59 AM on April 21, 2009


You all think this is a recently made video, right?

Any font nerds out there? I thought the credits looks suspiciously sharp and modern.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:00 AM on April 21, 2009


I assumed this wasn't real. Am I wrong here?
posted by sourwookie at 10:32 AM on April 21, 2009


I thought it was a recently made film made to look old. Till you show me the movie on archive.org, or in an Edison catalogue. I'll not think othewise, my good sir!
posted by joelf at 10:35 AM on April 21, 2009


well here it is. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/varstg:@field(NUMBER(0836))
posted by joelf at 10:39 AM on April 21, 2009


Thanks for that proof of authenticity, joelf. I, too, just assumed it was some viral advert for Mountain Dew classic or something of that nature. But who knows? Maybe the marketing geniuses at PepsiCo managed to pull off the hoax of the century!
posted by ericbop at 10:51 AM on April 21, 2009


well here it is.
posted by joelf at 10:39 AM on April 21 [+] [!]


Well I'll be damned. I had dismissed it as some faux-retro-modern steampunk nostalgia thing, mainly because the frame-rate seemed too steady. That'll teach me to keep my cynicism in check. Maybe.
posted by lekvar at 10:55 AM on April 21, 2009


Bicycle Trick Riding, No. 2 is an Edison Labs film, an kinetograph actuality shot in part at the Black Maria studio in 1899. The original titles have apparently been lost, here a different newly-produced title card is in use also. I'm not a font nerd; I'm a cinema nerd.

Is it directed or starring Edison, or really the first bike trick ever? No, but that doesn't make it a fake.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:00 AM on April 21, 2009


Um also it's 50' long and is run at 18 fps.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:02 AM on April 21, 2009


I'll be damned as well. My "evidence" for a forgery was that the bike looked too modern. Clearly I was wrong, despite being Some Guy On The Internet. Thanks for the citations and info!
posted by Nelson at 11:09 AM on April 21, 2009


Is FIXIE the magic Metafilter word that makes everyone not want to rock the boat?

It's because fixie = radical dreadlocked hippie bike courier who can name every member of the UN Security Council, controls the delivery if information, hates you, probably has a molotov cocktail armed and ready to go in that bag of his and, if you piss him off in the slightest, he will, in turn, hate you, and secretly you don't like the idea of that because in some fucked up way you kinda wanna have the guts to give up that desk job, smoke pot, rock climb on the weekends and have an open relationship with an ultimate-frisbee-playing girl named Hibiscus.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:36 AM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, this is a hoax, right?
posted by tehloki at 11:39 AM on April 21, 2009


And this whole thread is just tongue-in-cheek?
posted by tehloki at 11:39 AM on April 21, 2009


Because I am fucking confused right about now.
posted by tehloki at 11:40 AM on April 21, 2009


The video is not a hoax, it's a real film from a 110 years ago.
posted by Kattullus at 11:55 AM on April 21, 2009


Um, this would be a really stupid hoax.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:57 AM on April 21, 2009


You've heard of Edison? You know about him and movies? You do understand that bikes were the highest state-of-the-art technology in 1900 or so? Why wouldn't he shoot a movie of a trick rider, which was a popular form of entertainment then?
posted by fixedgear at 3:43 PM on April 21, 2009


I thought it was real at first, then I noticed that the rider has the exact same glasses as Mathowie.
posted by mecran01 at 4:43 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was skeptical too, the bike looked too modern to me. Ambrosia made me see the light, then I found (tiny) mpegs of all of Edison Motion Picture productions here, Bicycle Trick Riding 2 is there, but BTR 1 is missing.

Then I started looking at bike frames from the period, they look surprisingly modern. This is a link to a blog post about the first freewheel bike, patented in 1895. Change the handlebar and the saddle and you have a hipster bike.

This 'article' on the evolution of the BMX Bike of the future is funny.

Anyways... Edison would be proud of the PirateBay.

In 1902, agents of Thomas Edison bribed a theater owner in London for a copy of A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès. Edison then made hundreds of copies and showed them in New York City. Méliès received no compensation. He was counting on taking the film to US and recapture the huge cost of it by showing it throughout the US when he realized it has already been showing in the US by Edison. This bankrupted Méliès.
posted by dirty lies at 11:48 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


thanks dirty lies, for actually setting my mind at ease instead of making me feel dumb.
posted by tehloki at 4:53 PM on April 23, 2009


Dudes, tehloki bought it! Good job!
posted by dirty lies at 4:57 PM on April 23, 2009


Has this thread been orchestrated entirely to troll me

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
posted by tehloki at 10:12 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


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