Bicycle Diaries: Bicycle boom

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9.12.08

Bicycle boom

circa 1932

I spent the weekend winterizing that which rolls. When I ducked inside for a warm-up I took a look at some online archives. Time Magazine really stands out. You can search for both articles and covers. I found this lovely tidbit from 14 November. It's about The Lightweight Cycling, Hiking and Camping Exhibition held at The Royal Horticultural Hall, Westminster in London.
Over the Exhibition the [Manchester] Guardian glowed: "The surprising bicycle 'boom' of the last 18 months is shown here in all its glory, from midget machines to luxurious tandems with no fewer than eight gears which can be changed with a flick of the wrist while the cyclists are actually pedaling. There is thus no need on these machines to freewheel while slipping into another gear. . . .

"Mudguards are now made in a detachable form and can be removed in good weather as easily as taking off one's collar and tie. Handlebars are now all made with a downward curve, since it has been found that this adds to comfort as well as to speed in pedaling.

"As regards speed, it is claimed that the new tandems, supplied with six or eight gears, are capable of anything from 40 to 45 miles an hour. Many of the machines on view, it is interesting to note, are of the 'made-to-measure' model, and can only be obtained after a consultation between cyclist and cycle-manufacturer.

"Although motorists may hardly credit it, the tricycle is coming into vogue again, this time as a racing machine. Racing cyclists today were surprised to learn that these new lightweight three-wheeled machines are capable of doing as much as 23 miles an hour on an ordinary road."

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