The tubes on this velocipede and its ornate curves set it apart from all other velocipedes of the era. The variety of the machines that were produced in just the few years of its currency (1868-1870) continues to fascinate students of the velocipede.
At first the press did not fully appreciate the achievements of this new machine and what it meant for the future. However, soon everyone started to recognize the importance of this new mode of transport – a velocipede may have been expensive, but it did not need food and stabling like a horse. And it could be used for independent long-distance travel. It required athletic abilities for long journeys, was dangerous down hills, and it scared the living daylight out of other road users and pedestrians …but a velocipede is actually surprisingly reliable. Velocipedes were raced extensively. In France, even women raced velocipedes! Below you can see the first ladies’ velocipede race (Le Monde Illustre, 1st November, 1868).
The American Harper’s Weekly (19th December 1868) covered the story too; but in their illustration, below, the women’s bare legs have been covered!
The weekly satirical magazine The Ferret added to comments of the day. Its cover of March 22nd, 1870, illustrates women riding velocipedes with extremely risque attire.
DUPLEX TUBING: HISTORIC EXAMPLES