Category Archives: Featured

British Empire: Cycle Industry in the Colonies

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

Empire folding bike

Probably the biggest contrast between Great Britain now and Great Britain at the turn of the twentieth century is in our attitude. Our country then was  the dominant world superpower with an empire spanning the globe. In 1914, fighting for King and Country was considered an honour. But these days we’ve become apologists for our previous empirical ways.

My grandad fought in WW1, signing up at fourteen years of age by pretending he was older. My dad fought in WW2 and regaled us with stories of it in my formative years. As a teenager in the sixties I rebelled and became a hippy. The Empire stood for everything I hated about British society. But now my old friends make fun of me because after years of religiously wearing jeans I wear the type of clothes my dad wore when I go on vintage cycle runs. And I’ve developed an interest in the Victorian and Edwardian era. So has it changed my attitude toward the Empire?

Because we’re now a more multi-cultural and inclusive society, maybe I no longer need to rebel against the old order? And it’s hard, as a vintage cycle enthusiast, not to to feel affectionate for the era when Great Britain made the best bicycles in the world.

Some retribution for Empire may indeed be due, but every culture throughout history depended for its survival on trade with neighbours. Empires were created for commercial purposes, and conquering and trading went hand in hand. For example, the British East India Company was established by industrialists and financiers in London to exploit resources in Asia. They were provided with a mandate to govern the territories they established, with British military support. This practice followed a pattern established by other European powers such as Spain …though Spanish imperialism was carried out officially in the name of the church. The plundering of assets of older civilisations was at the heart of most exploration: it was an expensive venture and without taking treasures home it would be hard to fund subsequent voyages.

Dominance in world trade always breeds resentment. Corporate companies have little incentive to help customers, only to create monopolies and make more money. The GM food corporations are a classic example in our current age, creating crops which are initially resistant to pests, which on the face of it seems advantageous. However, the GM seeds may only ever be purchased from those same companies, to create a dependency which in the long term can only be beneficial to the company not the farmer.

Historically, it was governments themselves that adopted the role of the corporation. The immense wealth of European countries came from the sugar trade, for example. When sugar was first imported into Britain, there was great resistance from the population. Beer was a staple food at the time, providing nutrition for the masses. But unethical publicans would use sugar to speed up the brewing process. So when a chap ordered a pint at his local pub he would pour a sample of it onto the wooden bench and sit on it. If it stuck to his leather breeches, he knew it was made using sugar – and the publican would grabbed from behind the bar and placed in the stocks as a warning to other unscrupulous publicans. With the government getting rich by selling addictive sugar, it’s no wonder Britons have always been distrustful of their government and politicians …as well as the food industry.

The corporate monopolies now have no borders; they buy up companies in every country to become multi-nationals. They are the new ’empires.’ So is it now time to forgive Great Britain for its empire days, and instead celebrate how our country at that time led the world in invention, innovation and engineering?

The years between WW1 and WW2 were dominated by political disputes and inflations in the 1920s resulting in what became known as the Great Depression in America and the Slump in Great Britain. Market economies worldwide were affected. These two decades were also a transition from Great Britain’s position as  the world’s leading creditor nation, its leading trading nation, and the producer of a third of the world’s manufactured exports, and the years after 1945, when the country was overtaken in terms of per capita incomes, productivity, and growth rates by many of its European competitors.

Britain did not experience the boom that had characterized the America, Germany, Canada and Australia in the 1920s, so its bust appeared less severe. Great Britain’s world trade fell by half  during 1929–1933, the output of heavy industry fell by a third, and employment profits plunged in nearly all sectors. At the depth in summer 1932, there were 3.5 million registered unemployed, and many more had only part-time employment. Particularly hardest hit by economic problems were the industrial and mining areas in the north of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Unemployment reached 70% in some areas at the start of the 1930s (with more than 3 million out of work nationally) and many families depended entirely on payments from local government known as the dole.

A major cause of financial instability, which preceded and accompanied the Great Depression, was the debt that many European countries had accumulated to pay for their involvement in the First World War. This debt destabilised many European economies as they tried to rebuild during the 1920s. Britain had largely avoided this trap by financing their war effort largely through sales of foreign assets. Following Britain’s withdrawal from the gold standard and the devaluation of the pound, interest rates were reduced from 6% to 2%. As a result, British exports became more competitive on world markets than those of countries that remained on the gold standard. This led to a modest economic recovery, and a fall in unemployment from 1933 onwards. Although exports were still a fraction of their pre-depression levels, they recovered slightly.

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

THE POST-WAR BRITISH EMPIRE

194902_BCMCO_ad copy

At the start of the war, Britain had spent the money that they did have in normal payments for material under the ‘US Cash-and-Carry’ scheme. Basing rights were also traded for equipment e.g. the ‘Destroyers for Bases Agreement.’ But, by 1941, Britain was in a terrible financial state and ‘Lend-Lease’ was introduced.

Large quantities of goods were in Britain or in transit when Washington suddenly and unexpectedly terminated Lend-Lease on 29 August 1945. The British economy had been heavily geared towards war production (around 55% GDP) and had drastically reduced its exports. The UK therefore relied on Lend-Lease imports to obtain essential consumer commodities such as food while it could no longer afford to pay for these items using export profits.

The end of lend-lease thus came as a great economic shock. Britain needed to retain some of this equipment in the immediate post war period. As a result the Anglo-American Loan came about. Lend-lease items retained were sold to Britain at the knockdown price of about 10 cents on the dollar giving an initial value of £1,075 million.

John Maynard Keynes was sent by the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada to obtain more funds. British politicians expected that in view of the United Kingdom’s contribution to the war effort, especially for the lives lost before the United States entered the fight in 1941, America would offer favorable terms. Instead of a grant or a gift, however, Keynes was offered a loan on favourable terms.

Historian Alan Sked has commented that: ‘The U.S. didn’t seem to realize that Britain was bankrupt’ and that the loan was denounced in the House of Lords, but in the end the country had no choice. America offered $US 3.75bn (US$55 billion in 2013) and Canada contributed another US$1.19 bn (US$15 billion in 2013), both at the rate of 2% annual interest. With the interest instead of paying the original loan amount the United Kingdom ended up paying a total of $7.5bn (£3.8bn) to the US and US$2 bn (£1bn) to Canada.

The loan was made subject to conditions, the most damaging of which was the convertibility of sterling. Though not the intention, the effect of convertibility was to worsen British post-war economic problems. International sterling balances became convertible one year after the loan was ratified, on 15 July 1947. Within a month, nations with sterling balances had drawn almost a billion dollars from British dollar reserves, forcing the British government to suspend convertibility and to begin immediate drastic cuts in domestic and overseas expenditure. The rapid loss of dollar reserves also highlighted the weakness of sterling, which was duly devalued in 1949 from $4.02 to $2.80.

World War II changed British society in many ways. First, Great Britain was bankrupted by the war. The Anglo-American Loan Agreement was negotiated by John Maynard Keynes from the United States and Canada on behalf of the United Kingdom, on 15th July 1946. (It was eventually settled on 29th December 2006).

However, despite the Anglo-American Loan and receipt of a third more Marshall Aid than West Germany after WW2 ($2.7 billion v $1.7 billion), postwar British governments chose not to make industrial modernisation its central theme. Instead, it was decided by both Labour and Conservative politicians to use the money to maintain Great Britain’s role as a world power and banker. But it was impossible for the country to return to its pre-war Empire days. India’s independence was followed, in due course, by other colonies, which duly led to the formal creation of the Commonwealth in 1949.

British leaders had also promised its working population more equal treatment as a reward for fighting the Nazis. The creation of the Welfare State was kick-started by the 1942 Beveridge Report. Liberal economist William Beveridge recommended to the government that they should find ways of tackling the five giants, being Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. He argued to cure these problems, the government should provide adequate income to people, adequate health care, adequate education, adequate housing and adequate employment. It proposed that ‘All people of working age should pay a weekly National Insurance contribution. In return, benefits would be paid to people who were sick, unemployed, retired or widowed.’

Before 1939, most health care had to be paid for through non government organisations – through a vast network of friendly societies, trade unions and other insurance companies which counted the vast majority of the UK working population as members. These friendly societies provided insurance for sickness, unemployment and invalidity, therefore providing people with an income when they were unable to work. Following the implementation of Beveridge’s recommendations, institutions run by local councils to provide health services for the uninsured poor, part of the poor law tradition of workhouses, were merged into the new national system. As part of the reforms, the Church of England also closed down its voluntary relief networks and passed the ownership of thousands of church schools, hospitals and other bodies to the state.

ration-book-car-1950

The postwar years for ordinary British citizens were not easy. Rationing had been introduced in 1939 at outbreak of war, and continued into the mid-fifties, although as much rationing as possible was ended by Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. But, despite rationing, there was great optimism, and everyone mucked in. The things that affected ordinary people were social. My mother described the importance of fashion to young women after WW2, particularly the ‘New Look’ which was the first collection of the House of Dior, launched on 12th February, 1947.

Popular music was also important to ordinary folks. Before the war, BBC Radio had had an elitist approach to popular music. Jazz, swing or big band music for dancing was relegated to a few late night spots. During the war, the BBC was obliged to adapt, if only because British soldiers were listening to German radio stations to hear their favourite dance bands. American G.I’s had helped popularise Boogie Woogie and the Jitterbug during the War, with dances held in church halls, village halls, clubs, and Air Force bases all over Britain. However, after the war, the big band sound started to decline, and crooners became popular. In 1950s Great Britain, Skiffle – using home-made instruments such as washboards and tea-chests – laid the foundation for Britain’s rock n rollers.

195002_BCMCO_ad copy

The key to Great Britain’s postwar balance of payments was its Export Drive. Harold Wilson was president of the Board of Trade between 1947 and 1951. He explained in his 1957 book Post-War Economic Policies in Britain:

‘Increased exports enabled us to pay for more food and raw materials and to ship capital equipment abroad to speed the development of the Colonies and other parts of the Commonwealth. By 1948 the sum total of our overseas earnings was nearly enough to pay our accounts abroad including a continuing heavy drain on overseas military expenditure. In 1949 we actually had a surplus on our current accounts with the rest of the world, the first time in fifteen years, and this after the loss of a great part of our overseas investments.

Bilateral trading agreements enabled us to import urgently-needed food and raw materials from countries who were willing to take goods in return — Danish food or Swedish timber for British coal and steel and textile yarns: Argentine beef and feeding-stuffs for coal, electrical apparatus, alkali and tinplate: Soviet grain and timber, in return for machinery, forestry and transport equipment from Britain, and wool, rubber and cocoa from the Commonwealth.

Bulk-purchase of our imported food and of certain raw materials was violently attacked by Tory politicians and commodity dealers. But an impartial United Nations Report fairly commented:

‘The explanation of the relatively low prices paid by the United Kingdom for the imports of food and raw materials appears to lie largely in the extensive use which it has made of long-term contracts and bulk-purchase agreements covering a large proportion of its purchases.’

An important part of Labour’s programme was the development of trade with the Commonwealth. Production of food-stuffs and certain raw materials such as cotton and tobacco was stimulated by some fifty separate long-term contracts. By 1949, 45% of all our imports came from the Commonwealth, compared with 36% in 1934 – 38. ehilce historyWhile 51% of our exports went to Commonwealth markets, against 43% in pre-war days. By these means, both in food and raw materials, we made great strides in substituting Commonwealth sources of supply for the dollar areas.

As part of the British Empire before WW2 and ‘The Commonwealth’ after WW2, the vehicle history of these countries is intertwined with our own. British exports provided their first bicycles, motorcycles and cars and helped establish local manufacturers.

The following pages will document both British bicycles exported to Commonwealth countries, as well as each country’s own cycle industry…

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

AUSTRALIA:

australian bicycles 1

TO READ ABOUT THE CYCLE INDUSTRY 

IN AUSTRALIA

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

NEW ZEALAND 

rambler-bicycle

TO READ ABOUT THE CYCLE INDUSTRY 

IN NEW ZEALAND 

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

CANADA:

1930_Hercules_01

TO READ ABOUT THE CYCLE INDUSTRY 

IN CANADA

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

BRITISH EAST AFRICA: UGANDA

stanley bicycle

TO READ ABOUT THE CYCLE INDUSTRY 

IN UGANDA

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

Postwar intro on War Loans thanks to – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan

 

La Belle Epoque: Bicycle Posters

 

belle epoque posters ride vintage magzine

LA BELLE EPOQUE

The poster revolution of the late 19th century transformed the city of Paris, created an obsession with colour lithography among leading artists and shaped the future of printmaking, poster design and advertising. More than a century later we are still captivated by these images.

The years between 1871 and 1914 represent one of the most fascinating periods in European history. it was an era characterized by optimism, peace at home and in Europe, new technology and scientific discoveries. The peace and prosperity in Paris allowed the arts to flourish, and many masterpieces of literature, music, theater, and visual art gained recognition. A joy of life awoke in all social classes, and with that a desire for new, extraordinary, sensational things. People were seized by the feeling of a new start into better times and a sense of freedom and happiness prevailed.

History’s greatest transformation of art and poetry from traditional to modern occurred during the Belle Epoque. Art in every genre prospered like never before. In Paris, a recognizable artistic style emerged in numerous forms, most notably in posters advertising goods and entertainment. Food, beverages, bicycles, and theatrical performances were just some of the subjects of these now famous Parisian works. The cycle industry contracted to as well as benefitted from this Golden Age. With a boom in cycle sales, funds became available for advertising. In America and Great Britain, most of this revenue was channelled toward magazine adverts, while in France glorious – and somewhat racy – posters emerged.

Artists of the 1890s noted for designing bicycle posters include Henri Boulanger (pseudonym Henri Gray), Jean de Palealogue (known as ‘PAL’), Georges Massias, Franciso Tamango, Georges Favre and Fernand Fernel.

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

JEAN DE PALEALOGUE (PAL): 1899 LIBERATOR

cycles liberator poster copy

Jean de Paleologu (or Paleologue), born in 1855 in Bucharest, Romania, was a painter and illustrator who became one of the best-known poster artists, using the pseudonym ‘PAL.’ He trained in England, returned to Romania to attend a military academy, and then visited London several times before relocating to Paris. He worked there until 1900, when he moved to America. He died in Florida in 1942.

1899 LIBERATOR 05

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1899 LIBERATOR

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

FERNAND FERNEL: 1900 GEORGES RICHARD

1900_Georges_Richard_88-copy

Fernel was born in Brussels, Belgium, around 1872. He made his name not only as an painter but also as a poster artist, humorist and illustrator of children’s books, including Mes Joilies Poupes in 1900. He died in 1934.

1900-Georges-Richard-03

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1900 GEORGES RICHARD

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

GASTON NOURY: 1898 GLADIATOR

GLADIATOR_Gaston_Noury

Gaston Noury (born in 1866) was a French painter, poster artist, illustrator, cartoonist and theatrical costume designer, working in Le Havre and Paris, where he settled around 1889. His prolific output covered a wide variety of subjects and his images were used for posters, books, postcards, songbooks, genre scenes and fashion plates. He provided illustrations for magazines such as La Chronique parisienneSaint-NicolasGil Blas illustréJournal amusant (1889-1890), and Les Hommes d’aujourd’hui

Around 1910, Noury designed costumes for the Moulin Rouge and Ambassadeurs in the Montmartre district. The costumes are both childishly innocent and provocative – floral designs and fabrics with seductive cutouts showing legs, midriff, cleavage and sometimes bare breasts. The drawings combine pencil and watercolour washes, portraying young women with stylised faces and delicate hands and feet.

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1898 GLADIATOR

PLEASE CLICK HERE

1895_Hurtu_04

HENRI BOULANGER (HENRI GRAY): 1895 HURTU

Henri Gray was a pseudonym of Henri Boulanger, born in 1858 in France. (He died in 1924). He used the pseudonym of H. Gray to sign his poster designs. For more racy subject matter, he signed his work with the pseudonym of Orivois (meaning spicy). He began his career designing magazine illustrations and covers. He turned to designing posters during the ‘poster craze’ in Paris during the 1890s. He is particularly known for his bicycle posters. Boulanger was one of the most prolific of the poster designers; he also created satirical caricatures. Hurtu was one of his regular employers.

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1895 HURTU SAFETY BICYCLE

PLEASE CLICK HERE

brillant_cycles

HENRI BOULANGER (HENRI GRAY): 1903 BRILLANT

cycles-brillant-5

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1903 BRILLANT

PLEASE CLICK HERE

The famous poster below was designed for Cycles Brillant by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre in 1923. A fusion of cubism and surrealism, an original lithograph from 1925 sold at Christie’s in November 2010 for £23,750. These days, Brillant posters are better known than the bicycles!

 

HENRI BOULANGER (HENRI GRAY): 1899 BICYCLETTE PHEBUS

 

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1899 BICYCLETTE PHEBUS

PLEASE CLICK HERE

clement_cie_31

JEAN DE PALEALOGUE (PAL): 1897 CLEMENT & CIE

 

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1897 CLEMENT & CIE

PLEASE CLICK HERE

 

1904-Le-Globe-Modele-Extra-Luxe-01

1904 LE GLOBE

CYCLES LE GLOBE RIDE VINTAGE MAGAZINE

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1904 LE GLOBE

PLEASE CLICK HERE

GEORGES MASSIAS: 1895 GLADIATOR

Cycles_gladiator

The Massias Gladiator poster above is one of the most famous of the early designs, setting a style of naked women with flowing hair alongside gent’s bicycles.

Cycles_Gladiator_01

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1895 GLADIATOR

PLEASE CLICK HERE

 RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

1900 RALEIGH X FRAME

ra;eigh x frame poster

1900_Raleigh_Xframe_02

TO SEE MORE OF THE 

1900 RALEIGH X FRAME

PLEASE CLICK HERE

Railway Bicycles & War Machines

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

RAILWAY BICYCLES

The railway was the first form of transportation to cater to provide mass transportation. At first, in America, it was cheap. But in due course the railroad magnates took advantage of their monopoly, resulting in higher prices and public resentment. It was the first time that the public took notice of corporate greed and wrote about it. The term ‘robber barons’ appeared in the August 1870 issue of ‘The Atlantic Monthly’ magazine. Bicycles were first manufactured around the same time, and they grew in popularity partly because they provided a solution to having to rely on the railway.

‘Railroad velocipedes’ were patented for manufacture, as well as being constructed by individuals to take advantage of using their bicycles on rural railway tracks.

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

sears roebUck HARRIS 20TH CENTURY RAILWAY BICYCLE

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

1891 RAILROAD VELOCIPEDE PATENT: FRANK BRADY

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

1892 RAILROAD VELOCIPEDE PATENT: HENRY MANN

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

BOER WAR RAILWAY BICYCLES

Donald Menzies Cycles Boer War

The most profuse use of railway bicycles was during the Boer War in South Africa around the turn of the century. The British enclosed the railway network across the country to create a barrier so the Boer cavalry could not pass. They built a series of fortified blockhouses, each with overlapping fields of fire. Armoured trains patrolled the network. By the end of the war there were more than 8000 blockhouses along 3700 miles of corridors. ‘War cycles’ were also used for patrols. They were inspired by Colonel Jack Rose of the Cape Colony Cycle Corps, and built by Cape Town cycle builder Donald Menzies:

Jack Rose was born in Cape Town and educated at SACS where his sporting prowess was legendary. He was a member of the school’s cycling team – this sport was extremely popular in the late 19th century. After leaving school he set the international one hour amateur speed record of almost 48 kmh/30 mph at the then new Green Point Track. This was in 1898 and was believed to be the fastest speed then attained on land other than by a locomotive! He was only 22 years old at the time.

Cycling in those non-motorised days was so popular that Johannesburg had more cycles than Paris. Jack Rose was employed as an analytical chemist at the Government Laboratory in Parliament Street, Cape Town. He had joined the Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Volunteer Rifles, now the Cape Town Rifles (Dukes) and was commissioned as a lieutenant.

The internal combustion age was fast approaching and Rose purchased his first “motor car” in 1899. This was an air-cooled Ariel motor-tricycle, light enough for it to be carried on a train or a tram, it was able to reach a speed of 32 kmh/20 mph.

His interest in motor vehicles was equalled by his interest in cycling. He was selected to represent South Africa in an international cycling competition in Argentina where he became the first South African to wear the green and gold. It came about rather by default than by design – Rose always preferred to race in white, but another team has already nominated white as their team colour and he was then forced to go and look for an alternative in the local shops. The only suitable alternative that he could come up was a shirt in green and gold.

Jack Rose was a lieutenant in the Dukes on the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899. He was mobilized with his regiment and served with them until 1900, when he transferred to the Cape Colony Cyclist Corps. He rose in the ranks and became second in command of the unit which consisted of some 450 men.

One of his earliest challenges was to design a railway reconnaissance vehicle. This was done in collaboration with his friend Donald Menzies, the first person to assemble bicycles in Cape Town and a fellow champion cyclist, and they designed a ‘rail cycle’ fitted with flanges which enabled it to ride on the railway lines. The solution was quite simple, but ingenious at the same time. Two-, three- and four-seater tandem bicycles were used in speed-track racing and by joining two tandem bicycles with sturdy crossbars, the same width as the standard gauge on South African railways, solved the problem. Eight men operated the device, four on either side with all of them pedalling! It proved to be very successful and fifty were built for use on the railway lines in the Transvaal bushveld.

The eight-man tandem prototype was actually too heavy for practical use. At 1500lbs it was difficult to brake, made too much noise and suffered from violent shaking. There’s no record of its use in combat situations. But the basic version saw active service. It involved two men sitting side by side, with the great advantage that with steering not required – the wheels were flanged like rolling stock – they could ride and shoot at the same time. It could travel at up to 30mph but was unstable at high speeds, so 10mph was the general cruising speed.

Railway War Cycle Boer War

 RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

 

Jack Rose history thanks to – http://samilitaryhistory.org/12/c12julne.html

War Cycles illustrations – http://velocipedes.blazerweb.co.uk/newsletters/Newsletter19b.pdf

Two-man War Cycle photo from Jim Fitzpatrick’s excellent book ‘Wheeling Matilda’ (recommended reading!)

 

1899 STRAND MAGAZINE: REMARKABLE CYCLES

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

‘REMARKABLE CYCLES’ by Harold J. Shepstone

 

 

 

 

 

RIDE-VINTAGE-online-magazine-2

 

Incidentally, we may complain about London traffic in the 21st century but, in the early years of the 20th century, as illustrated in these photos, it was worse. It’s no wonder that the automobile was so welcomed as a replacement for horse-drawn vehicles.

 

 

 

Sports Relief Charity Photoshoot

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

 

victoria pendleton 1899 triumph resilient

 

In March 2014, I was asked to provide some bicycles for a charity photoshoot with Victoria Pendleton and Evgeny Lebedev for the Sport Relief charity. I took a variety of machines to Mr. Lebedev’s Hampton Court home, and they selected the 1899 Triumph Resilient and 1902 Centaur Featherweight. On the front page of the London Evening Standard, Victoria rode the 1899 Triumph Resilient, with the Centaur and trailer appearing on page 3.

victoria-pendleton-oldbike.eu-bicycle

The photoshoot experience was very enjoyable. Everyone there was very professional and friendly. The location was superb, and it was a joy watching Victoria ride the vintage bikes in the garden before the photos.

Of course she’s very comfortable on bicycles, and was not at all phased by the odd selection I brought.

 

Victoria Pendleton 1902 Centaur Featherweight

 

The ground was wet and very soft and it was hard to pedal the centaur pulling the trailer behind it. Additional issues included the tricky gear change – ‘The Hub Two-Speed’ involves fixed wheel in first and freewheel in second, but it doesn’t always want to start off in first. And the original grips are quite fragile, so I warned Victoria not to press down on them.

Neither of us could pedal further than halfway across the lawn.

After costume changes, off to the photoshoot…

photoshoot victoria pendleton 2

 

It was when Victoria and Mr Lebedev changed places that the trouble started.

 

suffragette bicycle passenger trailer

 

victoria pendleton photoshoot ride vintage

 

I felt a bit cruel snapping away while Victoria was trying to get onto the Centaur in costume. But it was an interesting study of the problems facing female cyclists at the turn of the century. A cross frame and resilient are more accessible than most early roadsters, but they are still large-framed gents’ machines. It was mostly the aristocracy and army officers who were tall enough to ride bicycles at the time, helping maintain their exclusivity and high prices.

Luckily Victoria was wearing riding shorts under her dress …and now we know why bloomers were invented.

 

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

 

Victoria Pendleton 1899 Triumph Resilient

 

Only one minor hiccup; I was too busy taking pics to notice the Triumph was not propped up very well. It suffered no damage – it’s not called ‘The Resilient’ for nothing.

Victoria Pendleton 1899 Triumph copy

 

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

PAGE THREE

OLYMPIC golden girl Victoria Pendleton joined Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev to celebrate the fun of Sport Relief by re-enacting a scene from Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.

Pendelton assumed the role of Etta Place, made famous by Katharine Ross in the 1969 film, while Lebedev paid tribute to Paul Newman’s Butch Cassidy.

In the western, Newman and Ross share a bike ride, Ross perched on the handlebars as Newman performs tricks to Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.

“Today’s been great fun,” said Olympic cycling champion Pendleton. 

“I loved being out in the spring sunshine with Evgeny and these amazing vintage bikes.”

Of the work being done by Sport Relief and the Standard’s Dispossessed Fund, she said: “It’s great to see money raised by Evening Standard readers going straight back into charities in London.”

Mr Lebedev added: “The money from Sport Relief could not be funding a better cause and I am grateful to all our readers who help make Sport Relief such a great success.”

David Cohen, page 3, Evening Standard, 21st March 2014

 

photoshoot victoria pendleton 3

 

 

To read more about SPORT RELIEF and the Evening Standard ‘Dispossessed Fund

Please visit the Evening Standard here:

http://dispossessedfund.communityfoundations.org.uk

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

EVENING STANDARD HISTORY

1827 Standard Newspaper

The paper was launched in 1827 by businessman Charles Baldwin and printed in Blackfriars. George IV was seven years into his reign and the Standard made it its mission to take a stick to the prime minister of the day, George Canning.

…it competed with the Times, which labelled the upstart “a stupid and priggish print”. Circulation of both organs rose.

It was not until 3.15pm on 11 June 1859 that an evening edition of the paper hit the streets of London for the first time, price one penny. It became the Evening Standard in the following year.

The paper had a marble bust of its first editor, Dr Stanley Lees Giffard, in its premises and when Lees Giffard left after 30 years circulation plunged and the paper was sold to James Johnstone. He reintroduced the morning edition and cut the price back to one penny – where it stayed until 1951.*

 

Evening Standard one penny

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

cycling costumes 1890s copy

TO READ MORE ABOUT FEMALE CYCLING COSTUMES

PLEASE CLICK HERE

RIDE VINTAGE online magazine 1

* Evening Standard history thanks to – http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/jan/14/history-london-evening-standard

Thanks to Evgeny Lebedev and Victoria Pendleton and their offices for permission to use their images and information.