Bicycle Diaries: Patently obvious...

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11.6.09

Patently obvious...

or utterly
unnecessary?

The Boy made an interesting comment on my post, As you spin along... . He wonders where I find the more wacky topics on which I write. In a word - Google - especially its Patents Search. 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.

I first used it when my interest was peaked by vestiges, mentioned in Tom Cuthbertson's classic, Anybody's Bike Book. According to him, a vestige is [a]nything on a bicycle that isn't essential. Our British Cousins would have referred to them as cyclealities back in the day. Most non-essential accessories were produced in Birmingham, UK. They included everything from bells to bags. Cuthbertson doesn't set much stock by them, though.
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. Filth and junk. I refuse to say more about them.

Cuthbertson's attitude is 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. So here are some vestiges that I think are utterly essential and 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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