“Any Boy can learn himself to ride in a few hours…”
I am a fan of cycling and have a special place in my heart for the old contraptions from the early days. Based on the enormous price, the one pictured below must have been a rich kid’s toy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics $25 in 1869 is the equivalent of $432 today.
However, this model was a truly cutting-edge machine as it has pedals. Pedals were added to the coasting “balance bicycle” in the 1860s taking this otherwise limited toy into the realm of a true form of transportation. It’s good to note that the early “bone-shakers” were generally made of wood and were only made from metals sometime after 1870 as the technology became available.
From the March 1869 issue of Harper’s New Monthly magazine, found HERE.
Presented here are a few more gentlemen on velocipedes from an 1868 Harper’s Magazine for your viewing pleasure.
Finally, by the 1890s, bicycle sales were catering to women as well as men (and other children) and like the ad says, “Perfection Attained” in the Crescent Bicycle.
From the April 1895 issue of The Delineator.