19 October 2016

In Polka Dots, On A Donkey

You're probably familiar with "word association", as a game or a technique for sparking creativity--or as part of therapy.  For example, "dog" can lead to "cat", "walk", "shoe", "sole", "survivor", "guilt" and so on.  

Well, my blog is lapsing into a kind of "theme association".  The other day, I happened to mention Jean-Paul Sartre.  Yesterday I showed him on a folding bicycle.  So today I am going to--you guessed it--talk about a folding bike.

The bike in question first saw the light of day fifty years ago.  I don't know how long it was in production.  In fact, I could find almost no information about it.  But I did find this neat promotional video:

I just love the polka-dot pantsuit the woman is wearing.  I think that no matter what she was wearing, she would have had trouble mounting that high-wheel bicycle.  Of course, nobody would have been riding such a bike in 1966, but I guess the makers of the video had to find something that would have been difficult for just about anybody to ride.

I also love seeing folk singer Pete Newby looking more like an Oxford professor than any folk singer I've ever seen.  Can you imagine him (or anyone) going to the Tweed Ride with the Donkey Bike?

Now, I admit, the Donkey isn't a folding bike, strictly speaking.  It probably doesn't even qualify as a collapsible bicycle.  With such a small front wheel and wheelbase, it needed only a way to quickly remove the handlebars in order to fit it in a car trunk.

The handlebar is probably the strangest, and most interesting part of the bike.  I've flipped handlebars on my bikes, but I don't think doing so changed the look--or, I imagine, the ride quality--as radically as bars that can be ridden as far forward as most racing handlebars, then be shifted to a position under the seat so that the bike is ridden with the rider's hands grasping at their sides, rather like riding a sled.

I can just imagine a bunch of "mods" cruising up and down London streets on their Donkey bikes.  Really groovy!


  1. Hmm. i'd bet that someone would show up at a tweed ride with that bike, if one could be found in road worthy condition!

    And that Bird! Very Carnaby Street!

    i wondered about how good an idea the spoon brake was until i noticed it also had a coaster brake. i also am wondering about the apparent German registry on the car in both clips ("D" tag above the bumper.) Can someone ID the make/model of that car? It looks a lot like my dad's old '61 Rambler 400.

    Fun stuff! Good find!

  2. Mike--I think those videos were made in Germany. It would be interesting, though, if that car were a Rambler.

    That bird is great. And, yes, I wonder whether there's a Donkey in rideable condition.

  3. Hi Justine - Do you know where I may get a road bike handle bar that is longer on the bottom so one can comfortably grip it so one's hands do not dangle out? My old PX-10 has one, but I do not know the manufacturer. Thanks,
    PS: How do I change it so that I do not appear as "Anonymous"?

  4. Anon--I wonder whether the 3T Ergosum bar is want you want.

    It's made in alloy and carbon versions and shouldn't be difficult to find. Here is one I saw on ebay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/3T-ErgoSum-Pro-Alloy-Road-Handlebar-triple-butted-Al-7075-T6-44cm-New/123060027409?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D44039%26meid%3D5afc8353f92d4bcc9ba11f9803f1f2c5%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D253052267933%26itm%3D123060027409&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851