Bicycle Diaries: On bike vestiges

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19.12.06

On bike vestiges

and Google's new patents search

I was flipping through the pages of Tom Cuthbertson's classic, Anybody's Bike Book, when I found his rather off-putting opinion on vestiges. If you're not familiar with the term or his criticism of it, here's what he writes:
Anything on a bicycle that isn't essential is vestigial. Extra. Dead weight. Some extras can be worth their weight. The others make me feel like I have appendicitis if I write about them, so I refuse to do much more than mention them ... Filth, Filth. Filfth and junk. I refuse to say more about them.
I find Cuthbertson's attitude both surprising and misplaced. Certainly things like bells, baskets, lights, and mirrors can clutter up a bike's feng-shui. But they are also a wonderful way to personalize what is essentially a mass-produced consumer item. Moreover, the fascinating history of their invention is virtually unknown among bike enthusiasts.

I realized this when I discovered Google's new Patents Search. It's an incredible resource. It enables you to view every invention ever submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Plug in any term and you get the official documents. So here are some vestiges that I think are utterly intriguing.


The first bike basket


The first bike bell


This prevents women from exposing their derrières


the bottle generator


The first handlebar-mounted
bike mirror


And my personal fav:
a beverage container
built into your helmet

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