Kids on boneshaker bikes -- photoset

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33 Responses to “Kids on boneshaker bikes -- photoset”

  1. HatOfEdshu says:

    I miss Patrick McGoohan.

  2. notnigella says:

    just out of curiosity, are these folks some brand of fundamentalist christian? the two teenage girls are dressed very modestly/frumpy, not to mention bicycling in long skirts…

  3. nixiebunny says:

    I’m torn between really really wanting to ride one of these bikes, and knowing what would happen to my ancient bones if I fell over.

    Mark Twain said it best (it’s long but worth it):

    http://www.bicyclinglife.com/HowTo/TamingTheBicycle.htm

  4. Jay Acker says:

    @ Brainspore and Voiceofreason,

    Thank you so much for making me look like a complete fool. I couldn’t be more pleased, because the answer is so simple now but was unfathomable to me before.

  5. joeyjoseph says:

    Our man Martin in Palo Alto can’t be stopped! Floating orb be damned!

    http://www.bikeroute.com/MartinKrieg.php

  6. jeffbell says:

    There are tricks that you can do with the old bikes that you couldn’t do with the modern ones. All of the weight is on the front wheel, making them almost like unicycles with a training wheel.

    At a bike event I once watched three riders come up beside each other and link up with their arms around each other’s shoulders. Then one pedaled back and another forward so that they pivoted together.

    There were also front mounts and dismounts. If you’re riding slowly, left your right leg over the handlebars and stand on the front wheel. The bike slowly flips over towards the front and you land on the left foot. On some models the handlebars are under yous seat so that your legs are always in front.

    To #9: The odd dress is just clothing from roughly the period

  7. xaxa says:

    27: Do you wear a helmet while walking along the street? You already own one, so you might as well. If you drive a car, you could wear it then too.

    At least where I live (England), you’re about as likely to benefit from wearing a helmet while cycling as while walking.

    I own a bicycle helmet, but I only wear it when I’m doing something above normal risk — like cycling down a mountain. Going to the shops doesn’t require a helmet.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Uh, helmets? Anyone? Bueller?

  9. Anonymous says:

    “ordinary” Like “standard” transmission, or “conventional” landing gear.

  10. mattofdoom says:

    Thanks, NixieBunny at No.9, that link delivered smirks and laughs a-plenty.

  11. Jay Acker says:

    Seriously, can someone explain what the genesis of these bikes were.

    Who in their right mind would design a primitive bike with one wheel massively larger than it ever needs to be, when two moderately sized wheels of the same size makes infinitely more sense?

  12. Beanolini says:

    #29, sammich:

    No, no, no; a sola topee is the correct helmet. As this gentleman will testify.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have ridden one, A home-built job. Very true to old design, all hand made, including tyres. Nearly busted my arse, was too close to some old train tracks in the ground and when I went to turn, I couldn’t help hitting them. These things require a big turning circle. They race them and ride them on rallies and even some ride them to work in Oamaru, New Zealand. I believe they even have an uphill race on them once a year. They are pretty mad in Oamaru.

  14. Brainspore says:

    @ Jay Acker #25:

    Who in their right mind would design a primitive bike with one wheel massively larger than it ever needs to be, when two moderately sized wheels of the same size makes infinitely more sense?

    If you put pedals on a normal-sized bicycle wheel then you would only cover about the same distance per stride that you would if you were walking. It’s the innovation of gears and chains that made modestly-sized wheels practical.

  15. avraamov says:

    there’s an old velodrome in Herne Hill, south London, and every spring, there’s a vintage bike rally where they race these. there’s even a kid’s event. kids! in top-hats! ON PENNY FARTHINGS! RACING!

  16. apoxia says:

    I’m with the helmet brigade on this one. They’re compulsory where I live, but that’s not why I wear one. I’m hoping to work with brain injured people in the future and would prefer not to become one myself.

  17. Giler says:

    Oh dear, now I feel like the most colossal bore, but I think the ‘boneshaker’ was the precursor to the high-wheel/Penny-farthing, and not the same thing. The wheels were more or less the same size, not unlike a modern bicycle.

    <note to self>

    Try to be less pedantic

    </note to self>

    Great photos, though!

  18. EscapingTheTrunk says:

    That woman in the white coat is clearly in the employ of No. 2.

  19. Keir says:

    #2 if it’s any consolation i had the same thought

  20. voiceofreason says:

    To #26 comment on #25: yes, precisely. Without gears a bike with small wheels would more or less suck.

    The key with the penny-farthing larger wheel in front bike is that for every turn of your legs you go forward a fairly large distance.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Giler is right. Boneshakers is a term used for an earlier style of bike that evolved into the high wheeled bike.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_bo-z.html#boneshaker

  22. sammich says:

    Apoxia @ 27 – so long as it’s the right helmet

  23. Anonymous says:

    That is so steampunk!

  24. Gdr says:

    #17: Helmets weren’t worn for cycling (other than by racers) until the late 20th century, so it would be anachronistic to ride an ordinary in a helmet. A top hat would be more appropriate.

  25. Anonymous says:

    the coolest thing ever would be to take one of these to a bmx park. preferably in a top hat, monocle, and handle bar mustache

  26. ophmarketing says:

    Who is No. 1?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’m not normally a helmet yob but hfs! Imagine the velocity of your head when it hits the cement!

    Looks like fun, though I wonder if you have to dress like a nerd to ride these bikes?

  28. nixiebunny says:

    These bikes are also known as ordinary bikes. They are not the new-fangled safety bikes, therefore they are ordinary.

    In Tucson, we’re blessed with a bike shop called The Ordinary Bike Shop. They have a couple ordinary bikes, although they are modern reproductions.

  29. Anonymous says:

    You are (*) Number 6.

  30. rebdav says:

    Any bicycle (excluding old rusted walmart specials) is beautiful, but these are just great. All the gear ratio taken up by the spokes, the only moving parts are the wheel bearings.

    Someday I hope I get a chance to ride one. I also hope it is not a fiasco like my unicycle experience.

  31. Anonymous says:

    RE#2 – Yeah I’m confused.

    boneshaker = velocipede ≠ penny farthing?

    Wikipedia is not being terribly clear on this subject. I always called these things velocipedes, after having learned the word from 100 Years of Solitude.

  32. pupdog says:

    How soon before our streets are overrun with these rogues, spreading their message of nonconformity?

    Not A Crime!

  33. Takuan says:

    heh! though is that font right?

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