Velocipedes (1868)


Anybody who has visited Paris within the last few months cannot of failed to notice the large number of velocipedes going to and fro, especially in the evening; indeed the number that may now be seen any evening in the Champs Elysees is so large, that a recent police edict compels the riders to affix a lamp to them in consequence of the accidents that have happened from their use. According to some investigations that have been made it has been ascertained that on a good road, where the gradients are not much greater than on railways, the rider may travel from eighty to one hundred kilometres in a day, which is about the same speed as the tail-coaches used to attain in France; and this may be some several days in succession, without fatigue, by a moderately strong man. Very much, however, depends on the perfection with which the machine is constructed. If it is unskilfully made, the fatigue of working it is so greatly increased that it ceases to be a pleasure and becomes an exceedingly laborious exercise. The cost of the best of the velocipedes in France is about £12, but they will probably be manufactured at a much lower price in England if they come into extensive use, as is not unlikely, considering that they afford opportunities for vigorous exercise, in addition to the facility with which long journeys may be made by them. As it may some day be deemed interesting to know the name of the inventor of the velocipede it may be mentioned that authentic records exist showing that Nicephorous Niepce, one of the earliest of the discoverers of photography, wrote from France to his brother, then living in Hammersmith, an account of his having invented the machine – the letters in which he communicated the fact to his brother being still in existence and bearing the postmark of the two countries. – Once a Week.

Berrow’s Worcester Journal, November 21, 1868; pg. 3

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