While much of the bike-riding world was out enjoying the weather today, The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I went to the Philly Bike Expo. I'd gone last year with Tom H, largely because he wanted to hear Gary Helfrich talk about titanium bikes, but I was smitten by the show and resolved to go again this year. The only seminar in which I was remotely interested was one on derailleurs, but I did want to see the vendors and the other bobs and gewgaws in the show.
TEW happened upon a chap parking lot in the next block, and we paid for the tickets and went in to the show. The first thing we saw was a display of historical bikes:
A safety bicycle with wooden fenders and chain guard, and another with a lever-actuated brake that binds on the tire:
A HUGE early chain:
An early attempt at a safer bicycle, with the smaller wheel in the front so that a sudden stop wouldn't put the rider into a "header". Lever drive (neat!).
TEW liked this poster:
Another ordinary. I was surprised to see how many of these had split saddles to reduce perineal irritation. There is nothing new under the sun.
A chainless bike; the drive is by a shaft in the right chainstay (clean, but heavy!):
A "draisine", "hobby horse". No pedals; the rider "kicks" himself along, although there are footrests on the forks for when he gets some speed up (which means that this is a later model; Von Drais was initially surprised that the vehicle could stay upright).
This early tandem could be steered from the stoker seat. Victorians always rode their tandems with the women in front... but you wouldn't trust them to steer by themselves, would you?
Evidently you've gotta be old to like these bikes (or maybe to afford them): the youngest guy showing them (and they were all men) was older than I.