Velocipede Mania (1869)

Is there any particular reason why the velocipede mania has not spread to England? We know of none: but we cannot help noting the fact that, while we in this country are comparatively indifferent to the capabilities of this locomotive, our friends in Paris and in New York are greatly excited about it. Within the last few years the interest in the velocipede has wonderfully revived; the Parisian youth are as proud of a good velocipede and of its brilliant management as we in England are of noble horsemanship, or of the “tooling” of a four-in-hand; and inventors emulate each other in the discovery of improvements in the construction of the vehicle. So it is also in New York. The velocipede is all the rage. There are  races of velocipede and competitions of various kinds. Also the Americans, with their practicle turn, begin to speculate shrewdly on the uses to which it may be applied. Then in some recent trials of velocipedes in New York various adroit evolutions and manipulations of the machine were exhibited, among which the most notable was one to show the applicability of the  vehicle to military service. There is a riding school established in the large hall, 932 Broadway, for instruction in the use of the velocipede, One who lives in the country and has to ride into New York every day is said to have sold his horse and substituted the velocipede, on which he rides to and from the railway station every day. He declares that he goes quicker and without fatigue. He has a pleasant run, and he saves the keep of his horse and its attendant. At least there seems to be some innocent, healthy and not costly amusement to be got out of this hobby which is worthy the attention of those who delight in swift locomotion and cannot afford horse exercise. Dr Johnson used to say that the greatest physical pleasure he new was that of a swift drive. Undoubtedly swift motion is a keen enjoyment and the velocipede is superior to skating, inasmuch as it may be used in all weathers, at all seasons, and on any level road.

Daily News, January 13, 1869

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