Ritchie, Andrew(STRATHCLYDE UNIVERSITY)
Journal of Sport History,Volume 26, Number 3, Fall (1999)
Historical accounts of the beginnings of the bicycle in England in the late 1860s and 1870s have focused largely on technological and manufacturing aspects and the evolution of design, and have charted the brief flowering and the public reception of what was widely acknowledged as a “craze.” It should be remembered that the two-wheeled “velocipede” was a brand-new phenomenon. Later critical accounts have noted the appear- ance of the many contemporary pamphlets and newspaper articles on the subject. These short publications were mostly of the “how to” variety, intended to give general background information on velocipedes and instruct new riders on choosing a machine and learning to ride it. The authors frequently added a brief, and invariably inaccurate, history of the velocipede, as if to give its arrival status and viability. Two typical titles were, The Velocipede, Its History and How to Use It and Velocipedes, Bicycles and Tricycles, How to Make and How to Use Them, With a Sketch of Their History, Invention and Progress.