6 March 2008

History Repeating Itself

Back to Prosperity
My friend Marie used this in her thesis about bike culture. This cartoon was used in America back in the 1930's, showing how the bicycle was seen as a way of kickstarting the American economy after the Depression. "Back to Prosperity!" "That Buy-cycle you're hearing so much about." "Circulating dollars."

While America isn't currently in a Depression, the dollar continues to fall and oil dependency is a big issue, not to mention environmental concerns. So it seems quite appropriate that this cartoon gets a revival.

And while we're on the History Repeating Itself subject:
Welcome Home
Mrs Harcourt Williamson wrote this in The Complete Cyclist in 1897:
"The whole secret of a woman looking well on her bicycle lies in the cut and hang of her skirt." The best skirt of all, in her opinion, was made on the same lines as a habit, fitting the figure perfectly and cunningly stretched and shrunk. Once the skirt was successfully negotiated, the rest of the attire was simple:
"After all, however, the skirt is the thing, and once having this perfect, there is no reason why one should not wear an elaborate blouse and really smart hat on a fine day".

Indeed, Mrs Harcourt Williamson. Mr Colville-Andersen agrees with you. If only you knew how visionary your words were and how appropriate they are to this new generation of cycle chicsters.
Plucked from "The History of the Bicycle", by John Woodeforde, 1970.


Anonymous said...

It amuses me that your google ads are trying to sell me specialist cycling clothes ...

I clicked through but no sign of a tight fitting habit, let alone a blouse or elaborate hat...

A&AC project said...

So what, disgruntledcommuter if google ads.are pointing you to cycling specialist shops? Do you have to click on them? No!And let's remember that Google is a U.S site, so it targets what it sees as the most relevant ads. to a site-in this case a blog about cycling, so of course in the U.S (and U.K) cycling means one must have specialist cycling clothing to ride a bike in and so it chooses ads. appropriate to the average(in your case U.K) hobbyist or sports cyclist.
That's my reading of it anyway.

I love that poster Mikael, and the quote from that book raised a chuckle with me :)

Colville-Andersen said...

that irony has escaped me until now, disgruntledcommuter. i love it. :-)

when i see the ads here in Denmark, they are as follows:
European Walking Holidays- UK
Endura Bikewear online - UK
Beachcruiser in Europe - a .org site
Custom cycling shirts - a .com
Handmade Dutch panniers - dutch

often i see Swedish bike holidays advertised.

all very amusing. :-)

Colville-Andersen said...

glad you like it christina!

Philip Williamson said...

I don't think that cartoon is promoting bicycles to boost the economy. I think it's just a pun. "The BUYcycle."

Kind of the opposite of promoting actual cycling.

Colville-Andersen said...

It is a pun, yes. Buy a cycle and get mobile (because you can't afford a car) and get the economy kickstarted. That was the point behind the cartoon and the campaign in the 1930's.

Similar to a Danish slogan around the same time "Without the cycle Denmark grinds to a halt!"