Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bicycles in the 1880s

Annika asked: Did you have bicycles back then? If so how do you ride a bicycle in a skirt/dress? I always find it hard!

Yes, we did have bicycles back then. Well, I mean . . . I didn't (a horse is so much more fun), but the city folks had them. Bicycles were not very practical on a ranch in the hills because you need smooth, straight pavement of some kind to ride on. There were NO mountain bikes like in 2012.

Here is an old-time picture of what those first bicycles looked like. The front wheel was ENORMOUS, and the back wheel was small. With a big front wheel, the bicycle could go a lot faster than a bike with two wheels the same size. I saw a couple of bicyclists in San Francisco once. It gave me the shivers. How did they get up there, and what kept them from falling off? Looked very, very dangerous to me. Give me a horse any time.

Two bicyclers riding in Los Angeles, CA, in 1886


 This does not seem entirely safe if you ask me.


It looks like the young women rode "tri-cycles" (3 wheelers) back then. What a contraption that is!

Later on (late 1880s), they invented the "safety" bicycle (which makes me think those first bikes were not safe at all). Here is a picture. The bicycles look like the kind you have today. And it looks like these young women had the "dress" thing figured out just fine. I think that's why they made the bike bar slanted--to allow for the girls' skirts.

A group of young ladies out for an afternoon bike ride

I hope you enjoyed the post!



  1. Cool, I didn't know that. Ya learn somethin' new every day!


Let Andi know what you think!