Our Bicycling Heritage
June 15, 2004 11:09 PM   Subscribe

High wheels, hard tired, pneumatics and children. The Wheelmen is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to keeping alive the heritage of American cycling, promoting the restoration and riding of early cycles (1918 or earlier), and encouraging cycling as part of modern living.
posted by quonsar (13 comments total)
I'm looking for a snark, but I can't seem to find one. Posting while drunk again, quonsar?
posted by Kwantsar at 12:30 AM on June 16, 2004

Great stuff, quonsar. If you like old bikes, Classic Rendevous is a good resource, and there's Vintage Bicycle Quarterly as well.
posted by normy at 12:48 AM on June 16, 2004

Nice post. I've always wondered about those old "high wheels". What's the point? It's the gear ratio of the big ole' wheel? Is this the least mechanically complicated (thus, reliable) way of achieving that ratio? But, man, looks awkward.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:52 AM on June 16, 2004

I've always wondered about those old "high wheels". What's the point?

They were invented before the chain-driven 'safety bicycle' (as the modern arrangement was originally named) and were the only way of getting a sufficiently high gear.
posted by normy at 12:56 AM on June 16, 2004

Awesome work quonsar. Thanks.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:06 AM on June 16, 2004

Lance and myself just love cycling. Thanks quonsar.
posted by nofundy at 5:10 AM on June 16, 2004

Who says that the blue is in decline? This is a top quality post. Thanks quonsar. By the way Matt, when are you going to add "quonsar" to the dictionary in the spell checker?
posted by caddis at 6:47 AM on June 16, 2004

I like that quonsar is out of the dictionary. A rebel till the bitter fuckin' end, I say.

If I could find and ride a pennyfarthing in Manhattan (without it being stolen in about 8 seconds) I shurely would. These things are the cat's fuckin' pyjamas.

Ah, q, stellar post, old bean!
posted by chicobangs at 11:17 AM on June 16, 2004

Those who liked the above might like Myths and Milestones in Bicycle Evolution. It has a nice time line which helps dispel the impression given (maybe inadvertently) by some of the links that the bicycle is a product of Yankee ingenuity.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:04 PM on June 16, 2004

As an owner of a couple of restored old Schwinns from the fifties I could spend all afternoon looking through these links. These are great posts, quansar! I had the chance to ride a 'pennyfarthing' (named for the size of the coins in England) and they are just as awkward as they appear to be. Although it was really neat to be sitting up so high, they don't have anything on this guy, the world's tallest bike. Of course, if you think the builder's a little wacky, then you haven't seen anything until you've checked out Chunk 666!
posted by blade at 2:59 PM on June 16, 2004

The vintage bicycles are so pretty & romantic, and everyone looks so nice on them in their big fluffy dresses and fancy hats. But I'll bet a lot of them had some really nasty accidents, all things considered. I can envision people being strangled by their own petticoat or bonnet and such, eek! heels
posted by zarah at 6:31 PM on June 16, 2004

Whoa, where'd that "heels" come from?
posted by zarah at 6:32 PM on June 16, 2004

They appear underfoot from time to time. Ignore them.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:40 PM on June 16, 2004

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