This page is a collection of miscellaneous bicycle related items that we hope you enjoy.
If you have interesting tidbits of cycling lore you think others would enjoy, send them to the e-mail address below.
“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” — John Howard
“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity.” — Lord Charles Beresford
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought of anything but the ride you are taking. — Arthur Conan Doyle, Article for Scientific American, 1896
“The only regret I have in my life is never learning to ride a bicycle.” — Helen Hayes
“There’s something wrong. We’re losing ground. I don’t hear people talking about fun and enjoyment. I hear radical, gnarly, fast, suspended, Lycra, titanium. I don’t hear sensing, the environment, and feeling.” — Bob Seals
“Suddenly the nickel-clad horse takes the bit in its mouth and goes slanting for the curbstone defying all prayers and all your powers to change its mind — your heart stands still, your breath hangs fire, your legs forget to work.” — Mark Twain, Taming the Bicycle
“I feel that I am entitled to my share of lightheartedness and there is nothing wrong with enjoying one’s self simply, like a boy. — Leo Tolstoy, on his bike.”
“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. It has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel … the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” — Equal rights activist, Susan B. Anthony, New York World, Feb 2, 1896.
“Nobody ever died from not knowing how to play flag football. Yet we spend tax money teaching kids its nuances in gym classes, while bicycle safety is still foreign to most school curriculums. That isn’t right.” — Don Cuerdon, cycling journalist who uses the pen name “Captain Dondo”
“Cyclists are open-minded. Cyclists are egalitarian. Cyclists share a fellowhip of the wheel that can overcome all political, social, racial and economic barriers. Except for recumbents.” — Ted Costantino, cycling journalist
“Just as the ideal of classic Greek culture was the most perfect harmony of mind and body, so a human and a bicycle are the perfect synthesis of body and machine.” — Richard Ballantine
How About That!!!
In Italy, the term “tifosi” is used to describe avid fans of professional bicycle racing. Here’s an example of the tifosi at their worst:
“The depths of fan interference was probably reached in the 1905 Giro di Lombardia, which was won by the Italian Giovanni Gerbi. Gerbi made his first attack near a railroad crossing and was pursued by two Frenchmen and another Italian. One of the tifosi threw a bicycle in front of the Frenchmen, knocking them down. While they were getting themselves up, the crossing gate came down allowing Gerbi an eight minute lead. When the chase group finally got through the crossing gate, the road was sprinkled with tacks. Gerbi increased his lead to 45 minutes by this time, but the chase fought back, and the Frenchman Gustave Garrigou pulled to within four minutes of Gerbi when more tifosi arrived by car and sprinkled more tacks in the road and touring cyclists arrived to pace Gerbi to the finish line.”
Did You Know…
Pasadena Cycleway: The world’s first elevated cycleway, which was slated to run nine miles between Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles. The wooden construction was to have two six foot wide lanes, and a maximum grade of 3%, made possible with elevations of three to 50 feet off the ground. Incandescent lighting was going to be placed every 50 feet. For a ten cent toll, riders were to be permitted to stay on the cycleway all day, and have access to a 100 acre park.
The economics looked very good at the time of planning, and by 1900, a single lane was built that went two miles out of Pasadena. At that time, however, the Southern Pacific Railroad, fearing competition, got an injunction issued against construction of a bridge over their railroad. In the meantime, interest in cycling began to wind down with the growing popularity of the automobile, and the cycleway eventually failed and was torn down by the city of Pasadena.
The 1981 Schwinn catalog lists the “Superior” as the top of the line with the following specs:
Tubing: Reynolds 532 DB. Tange front fork.
Frame: Chainstay length: 16.5″
Head & seat angles: 73 degrees
Fork rake: 1.25″
Headset: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Rims: Super Champion (700C)
Hubs: Campagnolo Gran Sport w/quick release
Spokes: .072-.060 gauge stainless steel
Tires: Schwinn 250g Super 700
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Shift levers: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Chain: Regina Gold
Crank set: Campagnolo Gran Sport 170mm, 42-52 chain wheels
Freewheel: Regina 14-24
Pedals: Campagnolo Gran Sport w/toe clips and straps
Seat post: Campagnolo Gran Sport (27.2mm)
Saddle: Brooks BN5
Brakes: Campagnolo Gran Sport
Weight: 24.8 lbs.
Accessories: Brazed-on water bottle bosses (one pair)
The only color available was “Pearl Orange” and it was made in 19, 21, 23 and 25 inch frames. Maybe you had (or still have) one.
A man decided that he was going to ride a 10-speed bike from Phoenix to Flagstaff. He got as far as Black Canyon City before the mountains just became too much and he could go no farther. He stuck his thumb out but after 3 hours, hadn’t gotten a single person to stop. Finally, a guy in a Corvette pulled over and offered him a ride. Of course, the bike wouldn’t fit in the car. The owner of the Corvette found a piece of rope lying by the highway and tied it to his bumper. He tied the other end to the bike and told the man that if he got to going too fast, to honk the horn on his bike and that he would slow down.
Everything went fine for the first 30 miles. Suddenly, another Corvette blew past them. Not to be outdone, the Corvette pulling the bike took off after the other. A short distance down the road, the Corvettes, both going well over 120 mph, blew through a speed trap. The police officer noted the speeds from his radar gun and radioed to the other officer that he had 2 Corvettes headed his way at over 120 mph. He then relayed, “and you’re not going to believe this, but there’s a guy on a 10-speed bike honking to pass”. — Source Unknown
If you lined up all the mountain bikes in America, tire-to-tire, and then rode a bike along that line, it would take you 36 weeks, (riding 40 hours per week, 15 miles per hour) to get to the end of the line.
The longest tandem or “bicycle built for two” ever made was actually for thirty-five. It is almost 67 feet long and weighs about as much as a Volkswagen.
The smallest bicycle that an adult can ride has wheels made from silver dollars.
Steve McPeak built and rode a unicycle that was ten stories tall. The greatest skill was not in riding the machine, but in building it so that the chains would not fall off the sprockets.
At St. Helen’s School in Newbury, Ohio, unicycling is a mandatory subject. The students are allowed to ride their unicycles in the halls between classes. Collisions are surprisingly few.
Half of all the parts of a typical bicycle are in the chain.
The most efficient animal on earth in terms of weight transported over distance for energy expended is a human on a bicycle.
Henry Ford, the Dodge Brothers, Glenn Curtis, Walter Marmon, and the Wright brothers were cyclists that shared the wisdom and financial backing by professional riders of their time. Ford started his automobile company through the backing of world-champion Tom Cooper.
— Source: Story of American Bicycle Racing.
At the end of the Spanish-American War, in 1898, the United States occupied Cuba. Rioting mobs in the street, along with outbreaks of malaria and yellow fever, created havoc in the country. Lieutenant James Moss was sent with is troops to maintain order; they were successful. The unique thing about Moss’s 25th Infantry of only 100 men was that they were a bicycle corps — they all rode bicycles, they were all black, and they never once used their weapons while in Cuba.
— Source: Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts
An Early Oklahoma Cyclist
In 1895, Theodore Klaffke, who had made the land run in 1889 and settled near what is now SE 74 and Sooner Road, became homesick to see his family and friends back home in Minnesota. So, he bought a bicycle at Pettee’s Hardware in downtown OKC and rode it all the way to Minnesota — and back again.
When he had to cross rivers and streams, he’d undress, tie his clothes to the bike and cary it, wading through the water.
— Daily Oklahoman, April 1, 1998
A Full Set of Stuff – Packing for a long tour
I travel full time with a full set of stuff,
Not less than I need or more than enough,
All safely stashed within easy reach
Ready for desert or forest or beach.
I have food, fuel, a good fly swatter,
Stove, tent and plenty of water,
a potty, skillet. four kinds of soap,
A Swiss army knife and a piece of rope.
A GPS, star chart and portable TV;
Tools for any contingency,
Cleaning supplies, things for the bed,
Sunglasses, towels, needle and thread.
Flatware, flashlight, several hats,
Air pump and patches to fix my flats,
Toiletries, spices, bolts and screws,
Gloves, helmet, five pairs of shoes
Credit cards, books, several bags,
Saws, brushes, and cleaning rags
Full rain gear and lots of clothes
A stash of money, a water hose
A mirror, medicine, compass, and maps
Scissors and twine and two mouse traps.
A shovel, sandpaper, a portable bar,
Alarm clock, cards, and a VCR,
Stamps and envelopes, parts to spare,
Pans and dishes, a folding chair,
Paper and pens, solar panels,
summer cottons, winter flannels.
Well, you get my point, This full set of stuff
is all I need to smooth the rough.
I can cook, eat, wash my hair,
Watch TV, or make repair.
I can sleep, bathe, read or dig
With just the stuff in this small rig.
Where tourists gaze and rush away
This traveler parks and stays the day.
Down the back roads by lazy brooks
I take a nap or read my books,
Chase the wind, drift and roam,
Let night overtake me, everywhere is home.
Spend my time in a thousand places,
Share myself with a thousand faces,
Drink in life till I’ve had enough,
Thanks to my bike and a full set of stuff
Turn of the Century Cycling Attire
From Encyclopedia of Etiquette
A Book of Manners for Everyday Use,
By Emily Holt (1901)
“The accepted dress for the wheelman today is, in cool spring or autumn weather, a complete suit coat, waistcoat, and knickerbockers of serviceable gray or brown tweed, the coat cut very like an English pea-jacket, or what we prefer in America to call a “lounging coat.” The waistcoat is high-buttoned; and the finish at the throat is a high roll-over linen collar and necktie of dull red or blue lusterless silk, with the alternative of a linen or pique stock tie. Colored linen seems more in keeping with the rough-and-ready cycling suit than white. Happily, the day has passed for the Scotch hose of vivid and eccentrically mixed colors and they are no longer admired and worn. Gray golf stockings, tastefully variegated with touches of black, white, and saber blue, or brown hose with very fine crisscrossing lines in yellow and red, now predominate. High or half-high laced shoes of black or brown leather dress the feet in good taste—that is, in harmony with the conservative prejudices in dress so typical of the modern American man. Heavy gray or brown gloves and a small peaked cap made of the same goods as the suit, complete the costume. ”
How would you like to ride in THAT getup!?!
What is soul ridin’? Do you do it? Can you do it? Click here to find out.
Every cyclist knows (or should know) that bananas are high in potasium, natural sugars and other stuff good for the human body, but have you heard the claims for their beneficial effects on blood pressure, brain power, depression, hang-over, morning sickness, mosquito bites, PMS, warts and much more?Click here to read the “rest of the story” on the ubiquitous banana.
by Jim Foreman
Little did I suspect when Fred Kamp asked if I would lead the Donut Ride the next Saturday, I would be in jeopardy of ending up eating a stale donut in the city jail instead of enjoying a pecan sticky at Brown’s Bakery. In retrospect, I really think Fred had a premonition of what was about to happen and suckered me into taking the fall.
The day started out in the usual manner with perhaps thirty eager donut riders gathered in a ragged circle at the park. After they recited their names and got their instructions: stay behind the fastest rider and regroup in the shade of a big tree just after crossing the bridge on 19th Street, the ride was under way.
I assumed the position of leader by staying with the slowest riders as we made our way along the frontage road, dodging drivers bailing off the I-44 exit like Mario Andretti coming into the pits at Indy and past the Hibdon tire store. I could see the riders ahead as they made the turn onto 19th street and crossed over the bridge.
As I came rolling up behind them, I noticed two police cars parked where we usually waited for the slower riders to catch up. One officer was talking with the donut riders and the other one was talking to a little old lady on the porch of the house where we were stopped. She looked like she might have been around for the land run.
“That’s him,” about half the riders shouted as they pointed at me.
The officer turned and asked, “Are you responsible for these people?”
“Well, I’m the ride leader today, but as far as being responsible for…”
“Look at them,” shouted the little old lady, shaking a bony finger in the officer’s face. “Look at them; they are exposing themselves right now!”
“What seems to be the problem, Officer?” I asked.
“We got a call that people on bicycles stopped in front of her house every Saturday morning and exposed themselves,” he replied.
The little old lady ducked under the officer’s arm and came busting down the sidewalk like a mad banty hen, the officer hot on her heels. “See how they’re dressed in those tight pants, you can see their thangs plain as day. Arrest them all!” she squawked.
The second I arrived, the other cyclists started sneaking away and soon I was the only one left to suffer her wrath. While one officer was trying to shoo her back to the porch where she couldn’t get at us with her cane, I explained to the other one why we stopped there. Both the officers were doing their best to keep from laughing as they explained to the lady that was the way bicyclists dressed, so I made a suggestion that I figured would solve to the whole problem. “Tell the lady that I apologize if we offended her and in the future, we will stop to regroup further down the street.”
As I rode away, both officers were still talking with the little lady and I suppose my offer made her happy because we started stopping a block down the street and never saw her again.
Here’s a picture of a really cool fence gate made mostly of old bike parts by OBS member Mark Robin Smith. Mark makes the following comments about the gate: “What’s a man to do with a perfectly good broken down ten speed and a ‘loved until it couldn’t take anymore’ child’s bike? As a therapist, I’m used to helping people uncover things in themselves they think are useless, discovering the potential and watching them be transformed into treasure. It’s in my blood, so it comes through when I’m practicing my other business as a handyman. It just goes to show that what you love will come through in your work.”