Victorian Cycling, cycling causes hernias

Victorian Cycling, as far back as 1819, was exciting controversy, as shown in this letter to the Annals of Philosophy

(To Dr. Thomson)

SIR,

As your journal embraces mechanics within the range of its notice, I am a little surprised that so curious and popular an invention as the Velocipede should have been hitherto overlooked. “It is now about a year since I saw these whimsical machines in full action under the trees in the Jardin de Tivoli at Paris. I then anticipated the probability of their being converted to purposes of expedition; and accordingly on my return to England, a few months ago, I found them running everywhere throughout the kingdom. It is not because they are uncommon therefore, that I now beg to call your attention to them; but it appears to me to be right that some account of the invention, with the improvements that have been made on it, should be registered in the contemporaneous numbers of a permanent and respectable journal. I hope, therefore, that you, Sir, or some of your mechanical correspondents, will favour us with an accurate description and plate of the machine, together with some remarks on its powers, and the improvements of which it is capable, as well as in the mode of working it. I regret to understand that it has frequently produced hernia in those who have exercised themselves with it. I should think this extremely probable; but it might be well that the fact were generally known. I am, Sir, &c.

T.L.D.

(Annals of philosophy, Volume 14, July-December 1819, p. 315)

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