Once upon a time or your perfect bike (especially for the Gentle Ladies)?

My dad was an inveterate collector of books.

We have been sorting some of them and found a couple of items that should(?) help us all with our cycling.

One is ‘The “Contour” Road Book of Scotland’ dated 1907-8, which seems to cover all the main routes in Scotland at the time, all 497 of them. It also has 500 maps and plans, with many of these being gradient profiles. It is amazing to think of the journeys undertaken by bike at that time, and the effort put in to collating this guide. But this is just a teaser. I’ll write a bit more about this at a later date.

Right now, it’s an earlier document from 1902 from which I’m going to outline some items. In these days of charging bike lights by USB, multiple gears, suspension etc. it is fascinating to look through a catalogue for bikes of the time.

So may I present the first snippet from:

Symonds' London Stores Catalogue

Symonds’ London Stores Catalogue

I just love the motto “What We Say We Do, We Do Do”

Among the many, many items of fascination there is an advert for Racing Bicycles:

Racing Bike 1902

Racing Bike 1902

They started at £5 and 13 shillings, which was ‘very light, safe and sturdy’ on which they place the celebrated W. & M. tyres! The top model was £14 and 14 shillings which “represents everything to be desired as a perfect road or track racer.”

But the best bit for me was the endorsement:

Ladies Championship Hour Race 1901

Ladies Championship Hour Race 1901

I can maybe imagine riding in a Royal Aquarium maybe, but wonder how Bradley Wiggins would have done on this bike?

If you cannot read the endorsement from (Miss) Monie Hardwood let me know & I’ll add a transcription.

8 thoughts on “Once upon a time or your perfect bike (especially for the Gentle Ladies)?

  1. Maxine Dodd, artist

    What a lovely post! Miss Monie Hardwood sounds like a great racer and reading her endorsement of her winning bicycle after the past few days following the Women’s Tour has particular resonance this morning. Great treasures, thank you for posting them for us to enjoy 🙂



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