Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Trick Cyclists - Sepia Saturday.

I've always regarded cycling as savage amusement so I have some sympathy with the young Western Union messenger with no shoes this week.

There is a trick to cycling that I can't claim to master. How these fellows in a Norwegian cycling club got on their bikes I can't imagine,

Stavanger Cycling Club 1900

Only a few years later two men were to set out on a race across America.

Fred Scherer & Walt Wiley - May 3, 1913
(Library of Congress)

This was the start of a race from New York to San Francisco, rather them than me. Before the turn of the century a Hartlepool cycle dealer had been proud to show off his cycle.

Robert Brown, cycle dealer, Straton - 1890
The young boy is at least wearing shoes but is in the wrong country and too well dressed to be Western Union messengers like these:

New Orleans Telegraph Boy - 1913
(Library of Congress - by Lewis Wickes Hine)

William Bold, Western Union Messenger No.14 -1911
(Library of Congress - by Lewis Wickes Hine)

Apparently William was 12 years old and usually worked until 11 pm in Tampa, Florida; but all night if they were busy. Would the boy, holding his dog in the picture of Robert Brown, have survived hours like that?

As you probably know I like to work dogs into my posts. You have had one so far but now I am pleased to present the Trick Cyclist of the Year.

Dog riding a tricycle
 (Image from National Media Collection)

Perhaps I should also mention that Its Sepia Saturday - Get-on-your-bike  has been viewed by nearly 850 people making it my most visited post.

Don't let that stop you however from visiting others this week at Sepia-Saturday-162. 


The Pink Geranium or Jan's Place said...

Great post and history..the last picture was the icing on the cake!


Brett Payne said...

Robert Brown's bone shaker in Stranton must have been a curiosity even in 1890, because syscles had come a long way by that time. Perhaps he used it for advertising puproses? Interesting photo.

Lovely's Blot said...

Dogs and bicycles! Two of my most favourite things! Wish I could get our dog to do that!

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Funny about riding bikes. I did it on campus for a few years, and learned quickly that I could skim across the path of many other bikes by just paying attention to the direction and speed of their front wheels. It was like weaving with different vectors, and very exhilarating!

Mike Burnett said...

I know the car has come a long way since 1900, but so too the bike. My father bought me a bike for my 11th. birthday in 1954. It was over a week's wages for a manual (engineering) worker. About 10 years ago I had a new bike £100.00 - about a day and a third wages (and days were much shorter). The thing that was noticeable was how much better engineered the bike was. Apart from the 18 gears, it simply just run so much more freely.

Another thing that has remained constant between cars, bikes and many other products, is that, whilst they may work better, they looked a damn sight better in 1900 than 2013.

Boobook said...

A fun series. I wonder if a bicycle enthusiast will jump on board this week and tell us what species of bicycle appears in each photo!


You know what they say:
Dogs will steal the show!!!
Love it!!

Postcardy said...

I didn't notice that the telegram boy was shoeless. He must have been very poor.

Wendy said...

It's cliche but my, how times have changed. Even if we didn't have child labor laws, it's doubtful anyone today would trust a 12-yr old with something as important as a telegram.

barbara and nancy said...

Congrats on your views. You're famous! Loved all the bike photos, but especially the last one with the dog. Ticklebear is right, a dog always steals the show.

Jo said...

Interesting pictures, I wonder if it was poverty causing the boy to have no shoes, or just preference.

We used rid bikes all the time when we were younger.


Karen said...

Great photos, especially the dog riding the bicycle - my dog just isn't that clever!

Joan said...

My grandpa would have stage a picture like the last one -- he appeared to really like staging dogs doing unusual tricks. However, my personal favorite is the 1900 Stavanger Cycling Club-- so smug, so well dressed, so correct. Perfect for a picture.

Peter said...

The first two pictures gave the impression of a giant crash. But a further look made me decide this is the only method of parking those penny farthings.
And congrats on the 850 visitors. Quite an achievement!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. I know getting on and off penny farthings must have been an art ... or they had steps - as for mounting horses ... perhaps the same ones?

Great selection of photos though - cheers Hilary

ScotSue said...

What a fascinating set of cycle photographs - my favourite - repairing the penny farthing.

Mike Brubaker said...

A perfect mix to fit this weekends theme, Bob. By chance I just started a book on my Kindle - The Lost Cyclist by David Herlihy, a true account of a cyclist who travels around the world in the 1890s. He starts on the highwheel and then moves to the "safety" bicycle.

Hazel Ceej said...

Dog riding a tricycle - whoa! that's the bomb! I'll have my spoiled rotten toy poodle try that one of these days.

It's my first time ever to see a photo of that old bike (big and small wheels) with people in them. And I thought Western Union was recent. Love all this learning I get from Sepia.

tony said...

Dogs Love Bone-Shakers..?

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Great post! A dog riding a huge tricyle ... first time I've ever seen that. Hope those racers took route 66; I would hate to think of riding a bike across the Rockie Mountains.

Once when I was in Jr. High and rather foolish, I decided to go on a 20 mile bike ride barefoot ... and on my 10 speed with the sharp peddles. Not so smart, but I made it through, lol.

Kathy M.

Alan Burnett said...

A great collection of bikes and dogs and trick cyclists - a tour de force rather than a Tour De France.

viridian said...

Hello there! Yes the dog steals the show. Lewis Hine had a mission but was an excellent photographer too.

Kristin said...

Maybe with those bicycles with hugh front wheels the rider had to run along the side of the bike, put a foot on the peddle and swing up. Now how about getting down?

Eugenia O'Neal said...

Oh gosh! That doggie on bike! lol! I don't know how they got on those penny farthings and I don't know how they stayed on.

Haddock said...

What a chronicle. Appreciate Fred and Walter going for that race about a century ago. How science and engineering has progressed in the designing of the cycle.

Karen S. said...

Oh my gosh your last photo with the dog, is wonderful and you know it's my favorite. I'd really like to try riding one of those big wheeled tricycles, but I'll bet one ride will be enough! Great post Bob. That photo with the dog would be a major hit on Facebook too!

Rosie said...

I can still remember my first attempt to ride a bike, fell off, never was a great of bikes since. I am seriously thinking of getting a bike now and going for bike rides.