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Thread: 1897 Dirt Bike

  1. #1
    A bike brought me here!
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    1897 Dirt Bike

    Found this while doing some searching.... it seems to fit right here!

    Check out the mud pack!

    poikaa
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1897 Dirt Bike-1897.jpg  

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  2. #2
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    Cool pic! Totally love how dirty it is.

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    That's one long head tube. And serious trail. Wonder how it handled.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

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    If you think about it, in 1897 there were no paved roads. In fact, if I recall correctly, the League of American Wheelmen was formed to lobby for the paving of roads.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by epic View Post
    If you think about it, in 1897 there were no paved roads. In fact, if I recall correctly, the League of American Wheelmen was formed to lobby for the paving of roads.
    You are absolutely correct! Seems bicycles were the platform for most modern transportation including early aircraft! The Wright brothers!
    Many large bicycle clubs were formed in the late 19th century.... very much of a motivation for paved roads and bicycle trails. Many still exist!

    The 1903 bike below is in the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.... Illustrates the use of bicycle components used in the early airplanes....!

    poikaa
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1897 Dirt Bike-wrightbike.jpg  

    "I don't ride a bike, I'm the pilot!"

  6. #6
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    Sweet pic, thanks!

    And to add to the discussion, the first paved road surface in the US was created by Albert Pope, and was a loop around his bicycle factory.

    He wanted a smooth surface for folks to be able to best enjoy his creations....

    Sadly, his business (and many others) got crushed by the onslaught of the automobile.

    Albert Augustus Pope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Might have also been the first use of a prototype "framebag" for off-road purposes! I don't know about other places, but here in Pennsylvania "bicycle roads" as they were called back then were the future auto roads and you can even find maps titled "Bicycle roads of Pa" where it was the path of the bicycle before autos.

    Check out the linky" Early Road Maps of Pennsylvania

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    Don't know which is the worst nightmare in that photo.... the mud or the frame... ?? nevertheless, very nice photo !

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    The fourth image down on this page shows very early mountain biking.... or berm biking, as it was probably called back then.

    Books offered by JF Ptak Science Books : Fantastic Contrivances of Massive and Unneeded Difficulty--Bikes in War, 1897

    I have a fantastic book by Jim Fitzpatrick called The Bicycle in Wartime that contains many cool photos of, well, bicycles in wartime. Several sociable-style tandems (the four wheeled type) that have guns and canons mounted on them. During the second Anglo-Boer War, many sociables were built for rail travel, two-person, and even nine-person models.

    Here are some photos:
    A MAN OF THE HANDY CORPS The BSA & Military Bicycle Museum

    Here's the book:
    Amazon.com: The Bicycle in Wartime: An Illustrated History (9781574881578): Jim Fitzpatrick: Books

    There are other related books, such as the ones by R.S. Kohn and Martin Caidin.

    Here's a book that chronicles the earliest mountainbikepacking trip.
    Description:
    This is the lively story of the only bicycle corps the U.S. Army ever authorized. Using buffalo soldiers, this 1890s African-American unit conducted drills and exercises on wheels. They rode into Northern Montana on muddy trails and toured Yellowstone on their 100-pound iron bicycles. As proof of their capabilities, these Iron Riders pedaled 1,900 miles from Ft. Missoula, across the snow-dusted Rocky Mountains and steamy Great Plains, to St. Louis. As they approached the city over 1,000 civilian bicyclists rode out to escort them into town in a great parade. Learn more about the adventures of this little known buffalo soldier unit and fascinating details about this era in America. Well researched and a good read. Full of rare pictures and drawings.

    Amazon.com: Iron Riders: Story of the 1890s Fort Missoula Buffalo Soldier Bicycle Corps (9781575100746): George Niels Sorensen: Books

    This is how German soldiers prepared for stream crossings:
    ipernity: German bicycle troops with no trousers - World War II - by Miss Magnolia Thunder*****
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  10. #10
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    Interesting stuff -

    Most roads were muddy like the one with the bike above. Never heard the story about the first paved road. Be interested if they had any technology and gear that would still be useful today besides wool jerseys. Cool!

  11. #11
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    ^ Can you imagine how heavy those were? I would hate to lug those things around.


    Very cool stuff.
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    ^ Can you imagine how heavy those were? I would hate to lug those things around.


    Very cool stuff.
    I have never owned one, but have picked them up to see how heavy at the swap meets and I would say 50 pounds, but some I have seen have "ultra light"(for the era) wooden rims, instead of steel

    I'm sure Mendon could verify as he has knowledge in this realm

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    If you look at this map of 1896 Southern California bike routes, you will see that folks were doing some pretty serious rides that most folks wouldn't even dare on modern equipment today. These routes were obviously not paved, and lest we forget that these bikes were mostly likely fixed gear


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    I'm sure Mendon could verify as he has knowledge in this realm
    Ha! You'd know, wouldn't you?

    Nice meeting you the other day!

    No idea on that one, (the mud likely adds as much weight back then as it does now though...)

    My Pierce weighs about 38 lbs. Pretty light for an 1896 full suspension 29er single speed if you ask me
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  15. #15
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    Don't forget abut these guys; the 25th Infantry's bicycle trip from Montana to Missouri in 1897

    A super-great documentry on the subject:
    Video: Bicycle Corps: America's Black Army on Wheels | Watch MontanaPBS Presents Online | MontanaPBS Video

    Last edited by MTBNate; 08-28-2012 at 11:02 AM.
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  16. #16
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    I am really surprised at how advanced the use of bicycles was in the late 1800s! One thing I have noticed was the use of smallish foot pegs on the front forks.... methinks this was done as there were very few freewheel hubs in those days and going down hill must have been stimulating fun!
    Besides a front tire rubbing block brake, what else was used to stop the bike besides a tree?

    poikaa
    "I don't ride a bike, I'm the pilot!"

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    Even back then they HTFU with SS.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Even back then they HTFU with SS.
    And probably on fixed gears too.
    "Someone must have put alcohol in my beer last night." ~ Mr. Richard Baty, Esq.


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    VERY cool thread.Wow.

  20. #20
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    If your ever near Missoula please check out Fort Missoula, Home of the Ironriders.
    Great exhibit showing these bikes from yesteryear.
    Yes they are heavy and the Ironriders were badass.
    Go to my website www.Ironriders.net and read a little history.
    Especially after their little jaunt to St Louis.
    We have no idea.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1897 Dirt Bike-ir-3.jpg  

    1897 Dirt Bike-ir-2.jpg  

    1897 Dirt Bike-ir-1.jpg  

    1897 Dirt Bike-ir-circle.jpg  

    1897 Dirt Bike-ironriders-bikes-hillside.jpg  

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  21. #21
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    Not too obsessed with standover clearance in those days, were they?

    Re brakes, I recall a reference to a book on early touring about cutting brush and dragging it behind the bike on long descents to serve as a brake...

  22. #22
    Just Ride
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    wow, that is some hardcore cycling! We should all be humbled by this!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  23. #23
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    1906 bicycle delivery

    I can just bet that not all streets and roads were nicely paved! At one time bikes were pretty darn popular, these old pics show what happened in days of old and the bikes have not changed all that much!

    I have an old squeeze horn like the one here!

    poikaa
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1897 Dirt Bike-shorpy_03730u.jpg  

    "I don't ride a bike, I'm the pilot!"

  24. #24
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    And not a fat kid in the bunch!

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    Dig those Ironriders' rigs! And here I thought bikepacking was a recent phenom...They had frame bags and everything!

    Great thread

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