Velocipede Experience (1869)

Years ago—before the beard, which is now white, had given tokens of its approach and before time had wrinkled our brow with care—we were part-owner of a velocipede. It was a machine on four wheels, fearfully and wonderfully made. When first we essayed its use, we anticipated much from it, both in comfort and speed.  Faith in the possible success of such a contrivance, had been for us cruelly shaken, but we are bound to confess, that the modern bicycle, has somewhat revived it and as an increasing interest in it, has led us to an increasing appreciation of its many merits, we have determined to present our conclusions to the public, together with such further historic and scientific information upon velocipedes in general, as may seem called for, in order to an intimate acquaintance with all that is worth knowing of this branch of locomotive science. It seems probable that the machine will become increasingly popular, and if constructed upon sound principles and of good material, we see no reason why it should not deserve its popularity. As a method of comfortable progression, no machine of equal merit has been devised in velocipedes with the modern bicycle. We do not expect any very marvellous results: we do not agree with an enthusiastic velocipedestrian out in the ” States” that” walking is now on its last legs:” nor do we anticipate seeing the idea of a modern inventor realized and railway accidents prevented by the simple device of sending “a man on a velocipede ahead of every train to give warning of any danger he may discover on the track,” but it is capable of considerable speed and may be of much practical utility. No man can harness a horse unless he understands the secret of putting on the collar and no one can manage a bicycle unless he comprehends some of the principles upon which it proceeds.

London, J. F. B,

The velocipede, its past, its present & its future, J F Bottomley (1869)

November, 1869.

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