What was being said about cycling in the early 19th Century
The Times, 1819
The velocipedes have something so ridiculous in their appearance as well as difficult in their management, that the modest and the idle will be equally deterred from the use of them: but there is so much ingenuity in the principle of their construction, that one would lament to see them wholly abandoned. We on Monday saw a vehicle which has more that the ingenuity and usefulness without any of the disadvantages of this mechanical invention. It is calculated to accommodate persons: the front compartment is constructed in the same manner as the common velocipede; the centre consists of a convenient seat, fitted up like the seat of a gig; and the third portion is behind the centre, in the shape of a dicky. It is worked by the person in front and the person behind, the person in the middle sitting perfectly easy. The man in front has work of the same kind to do as the rider of the common velocipede; the one behind sits in the dicky, with his foot supported by a footboard, and the exertion he has to make is to turn with each hand the wheels beside him: for this purpose a handle is fixed to the axis of each wheel and which is turned round in the same manner as a common hand mill. The machine combines ingenuity with ease of use, and must produce admiration. It is particularly available in private roads and gentlemen’s parks. The improver, or rather inventor, for the combination of a new principle with the old one deserves the name of invention, is Mr Birch of Great Queen-street, Lincoln’s-inn-fields. It was exhibited to the Duke and Duchess of Kent on Tuesday, who both expressed the highest satisfaction at so ingenious a contrivance.