An American Verdict on Velocipedes (1869)

An American Verdict on Velocipedes

The American people have a wonderful faculty of testing the practical value of new inventions without loss of time. In Europe the velocipede has been in more or less use for years, yet beyond serving as a curious vehicle in parks and pleasure grounds, no profitable end has it accomplished, nor have our transatlantic cousins been able to determine whether or not it was likely to prove of real utility. In America six months of velocipeding has been sufficient to show that this means of locomotion is practically worthless. Our ingenious artisans have greatly improved upon the foreign model and yet we learn from the Sun, whose editor is a practical manager of the velocipede and which may be regarded as the organ of the bicyclists in the United States, that the question was fairly settled against it on Tuesday in a trial on the Union course. The track was in fair condition and was therefore far more favourable for travelling by velocipede than the ordinary roads of the country, despite which fact a mile in about six minutes was the highest rate of speed that was attained and even then the rider was almost exhausted and could not have gone a quarter of a mile further. Leaving out the question, then, the fatigue to the traveller and the general rough nature of country roads, the velocipede is found to be a failure. – New York Evening Post.

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, May 17, 1869; pg 3

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