Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

08 April 2016

More Proof There's Nothing New

One theme to which I often return in this blog is "there is nothing new under the sun".  Just about every "innovation"--whether or not it actually changes the way we ride, or simply look at, bikes--has been done before.  I include bicycle frames made from aluminum (1890s), titanium (also 1890s) and carbon fiber (1970s, possibly even earlier).  I also include most newfangled componentry. Also, everything we associate with modern bike componentry--including "freehubs" and dual-pivot sidepull brakes--had been done before Shimano introduced them in the late 1970's and early 1990's, respectively.

Turns out, the "new" genres of bicycles aren't so new, either.  Although they weren't called "mountain" or "off-road", there were surely bikes that were, or at least seem like, prototypes of what we see on trails and in the woods today.  Ditto for folding bikes:  As I've mentioned in an earlier post, some were made for the French Army during the 1890s

And, as it turns out, "fat tire" bikes were rolling, bouncing and thumping along New York City streets (some of them cobblestoned) more than eight decades ago.  At least, that is what this Safety Day Parade photo from 1930 could lead us to believe:


 

 

 



But that bike had nothing on this "fatty", which beat it by sixteen years--and was aquatic, to boot:




That bike was entered in a waterbike competition on Lac Enghien, just north of Paris, in 1914.

Speaking of Paris:  When I saw this, I thought it was an entrance to a Metro station:



If it flew, I'd love to know how far.  Can you imagine having a waterbike and an aerobike?  You'd be ready for any disaster!

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