23 March 2008

More History Repeating Itself

My Cycling Heritage - 2, originally uploaded by westfieldwanderer.

This wonderful photo was scanned in by a mate, WestfieldWanderer, from his family album. Anno 1947.

There are often articles in newspapers and magazines about how cycling is 'hot', cycling is 'trendy', cycling has finally become 'mainstream'.

Bollocks. Urban cycling in everday clothes is not a new phenomenon. At some point in the not so distant past members of your family - yes, you and you and you - rode their bikes each day.

Devoid of cycling gear and fancy equipment. Just good sturdy bikes and their regular clothes. Skirts and suits. To the shops. To work. To visit friends.

Daily cycling isn't 'mainstream' all of a sudden. It has been for more than a century. Perhaps it has faded out a bit in some countries, but it's not new.

Which makes it incredibly easy to merely start doing it again.

”In the late 19th century, large numbers of women were already using bicycles to get to work, women office workers and shop assistants wending their way each weekday morning from the suburbs to the town. They found the bicycle a convenient form of transport for distances up to, say, ten miles”.

Plucked from John Woodeforde's book ”The Story of the Bicycle”, 1970

And that was on machines that would seem monstrous to us now. Not to mention the fact that they were wearing frightfully heavy dresses. If they could do it on those bikes, in those clothes, there are little excuses for not cycling chic today.


WestfieldWanderer said...

'Tis a great honour indeed to have one of one's own photos included in the famous Copenhagen Cycle Chic weblog!

Putting this picture and its partner onto my Flickr page has prompted a flurry of ancient photos of ancient relatives being dug out of drawers and cupboards (the photos - not the relatives) by the little group of Flickristas in the Midsomer Norton and Radstock area.

Here's one of my favourites of shielablackmsn's Great Aunt Eva. This illustrates your comments rather well, I think. Great Aunt Eva's clothing alone must weigh twice that of your average 21st Century bicycle, but there she is, of on a bicycle ride to where, we wonder...

Colville-Andersen said...

The honour is mine.
Thanks for that link. Great flickr group, too!

Anonymous said...

I love Westfieldwanderer's dad's old BSA and Great Aunt Eva. Excellent!