Thursday, 17 February 2011

It's Sepia Saturday - Get On Your Bike

Several ideas came to mind when looking at the Alan’s photo of the Ipswich cyclists. First there is no Lycra in sight but it seems that boaters and braces were in vogue. This is where I began to get into trouble.

Leather or fabric straps worn over the shoulders to hold up men’s trousers are call braces by the English and suspenders by Americans. English suspenders are somewhat different. That’s why I’ll start on a cycling theme.

Ordinary Bicycle by Agnieszwa Kwiean
(CCSA 3.0 License)

A penny farthing, the early bicycle with a large front wheel and a small rear wheel, was invented by James Starley in 1871. Its name derived from the large front wheel and small rear wheel which were as disproportionate in size as the English coins, the penny and the smaller farthing. As the successor to the French velocipede or ‘boneshaker’ of the 1860s, the penny farthing gained mechanical advantage by enlarging the size of the pedal-driven front wheel so that each turn would cover a greater distance.

 Two gentlemen ride penny farthings in Los Angeles in 1886
(Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

I hope you noticed their boaters.

The penny farthing gave people freedom and the ability to ladies to go out independently.

Touring the Countryside in ca 1887
(US Library of Congress)

The lady in this shot is riding a three-wheeled bike. In the 1900’s even the children had got in on the act.

Child on tricycle in the 1960s

Now back to the braces/suspenders theme. There is no mistaking that this young lad is pleased with his first pair.

United States Library of Congress

Surely this shot of suspenders is understood by all:

By Snoman radio on Flickr (CCSA 2.0 License)

But who would have thought that the child on the tricycle would go to a New Year’s Eve party wearing a boater:

More suspense at: Sepia Saturday 62


David said...

some, er, interesting photos here, Bob. (bookmark, bookmark, bookmark)Sorry, automatic reponse of the tired mind.

Sally Lee by the Sea said...

Great post, Bob. My family owned a bicycle shop while I was growing up so I just love all of the photos of the old bikes. We even had a replica penny farthing that my brother rode in local parades...great memories!

L. D. Burgus said...

Those large wheeled bikes would be scary to ride. I suppose they were fun if you hadn't been on a modern one today.

Karen S. said...

Oh nicely done Bob!!! ..and I noticed the boaters!!!! I better..and hats off to you on what a cool post...the bicycle route very interesting and love the painting with one bold and daring woman.....she's like in the lead too almost....the kids absolutely darling...the girly shot very nice colors she chose! Alan should love your sticking to the bike as one of his themes!!!!

Marc Latham said...

Congrats on your follow blog listing Bob. Well deserved. Have a great weekend!

Alan Burnett said...

You take us an a most unusual journey Bob. I was going to make a comment about penny-farthings but somehow what I was going to say went out of my mind by the end of the post.

Bob Scotney said...

Thanks Marc.

beardandhendry said...

I so want to try riding a penny-farthing bike, ....*runs off to google*
Great photos..Karen

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Bob, I love your post, and I learned so much. I was laughing out loud about the tricycle rider growing up to dress like somebody who worked at Farrell's!

I replied to your comment on my blog, but thought that in case you didn't return, I'd just put it here:

Hi Bob, you know, they had an interesting life and worked hard, but I don't think they had a "hard life". None of their kids died young, and they themselves lived to a good old age. I really wish that I had a picture of their covered wagon too!

I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks so much!


(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

How in the world did they get on those? especially the ladies. I think I see little steps maybe about the small wheel. Great subject and pictures.

Crystal Mary said...

Great Photos, I don't know how anyone could ride a penny fathing? That ladies one on the post card is so funny. Imagine the man trying to get of his?? LOL
I'll take the dinky..or I may be too big for it? Such fun. Excellent!!!!

Lisa B said...

You covered a lot of distance with this theme, great photos.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Hello again Bob. I was in hope, when I posted that card that some of my blogger friends that knew more about Ayr and the bridge would add info. I love the exchange of info. That is the reason I am part of any meme. You don't always get information, which is have a thirst for, on a comment. Thanks again. Blessings

Pat transplanted to MN said...

I had not heard the term penny farthing but have seen photos or infrequently parades where someone would be riding that type bike. I wondered too about how they climbed up there. This was a very fun and interesting mix of suspenders and bikes, who'd have ever thought of combining the two!

Jinksy said...

I though I heard my name being bandied about -

Howard said...

Great post! an interesting thing about the ordinary bicycle or penny farthing is that it didn't need suspension, the huge wheel cushioned the rider from most bumps. When the safety bicycle came out penny farthing riders criticised it for being uncomfortable.

Tattered and Lost said...

I still can't fathom riding one of those enormous wheeled contraptions. And with no bicycle helmet! Shoot, I won't even go into my attic without my bike helmet on.

tony said...

i hope the organizers of the upcoming Olympics read this post.....they could incorporate all the above & brighten up the Games!


my question is: how did you climb on such a thing?
and the way you concluded this post was certainly unexpected... to say the least!!

Bob Scotney said...

When I was searching for info on penny farthings I came across a web site that showed how you got on the things. I haven't been able to find it again!


Bob Scotney said...

That's the one. Looks easy!