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The Way We Were… Cycling in the 1920s – Part 5

Published on: 8 Jan, 2014
Updated on: 15 Mar, 2016

Another look at 1920s cycling. We are not the first generation to worry about child-safety but we know that there was a different, perhaps more fatalistic, attitude in the early 20th century. But fear not, Papa could always practise with a bag of spuds.

In this fifth article on cycling in the 1920s, more extracts are reprinted from “The Modern Cyclist 1923″. Martin Giles

The front cover of The Modern Cyclist 1923

The front cover of The Modern Cyclist 1923

Child passengers…

When a small child is occupying the carrier of any kind on a bicycle, there is less risk of a spill because the fond parent cycles  takes no risks.

If, then, you are cycling fond parent but afraid to risk the children, calculate how many spills you have had in your last thousand miles, add 100% extra caution, and you can then say (to five places of decimals) what risk of a spill the child will run if you get a kid-carrier for your bicycle.

There are carriers for the front of the bicycle and for the back, and for the top tube behind the handlebar; not merely parcel carriers, but comfortable seats of careful design.

Carriers over the front wheel should not only be used on sound machine of recognised reputation. On bad bicycles, the fork-crown is a danger point. Very young children should not be carried in front, unless you rig up the celluloid wind-screen, because air pressure at cycling speeds is in you injurious to tiny lungs.

Back carriers are usually home-made. The child and a cyclist may sit back to back, although the ordinary masculine mount and dismount become difficult, the child is in shelter from wind, rain and dust.

The secret to safe cycling in the 1920s, with child or without, was to always keep the check pattern in your clothes perfectly upright.

The secret to safe cycling in the 1920s, with child or without, was to always keep the check pattern in your clothes perfectly upright.

Ask your local cycle agent to show you illustrations of the basket work child carriers by Brown Bros Limited at 17 shillings to 22 shillings. Send also for cycle catalogue to that A W Gamage Ltd, Holburn, London, EC1.

The “Universal Cycle Saddle” is a carrier or seed the children up to six years. It fits to the top tube of the bicycle (either man’s or woman’s) behind the handlebar, so that the child is between the cylisys’s arms. There are foot-rests and back-rest. I know it is good. This is sold for eight shillings by Saxessories , George Street Works, Coventry.

The sidecar (Gamage), weighing about 20lbs, is also quite practicable for 3-speed riders in the average country, though Papa should first take a bag of potatoes for a practice spin.

The parents can also couple their bicycles together side-by-side and carry Willie in a hammock seat between them. These couplings can be obtained from the Unito Coupling Company, Vange, Essex, and from A W Gamage Ltd.

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