Monday, June 15, 2009

Turn-of-the-century Topeka Cycle Chic

Earlier today Randy of Kansas Cyclist, apparently noticing the pictures accompanying the Front Porch Cycle Chic posts, decided to humor me surprised me with an e-mail that had a link to this picture (click the image to enlarge it), from Kansas Memory (a service of the Kansas Historical Society):

The accompanying caption reads, "Mr. and Mrs. George Hackney posed with their bicycles, Topeka, Kansas.//Date: Between 1900 and 1905."

In his accompanying note, Randy writes, "Regular folk riding bicycles in everyday clothing ... the days when bikes were respectable adult transportation, even for the elderly... Cool old pic!" Yes, indeed. These people exude Cycle Chic as Randy describes it here: It's hard to escape the sense as you look at this picture that these bicycles were more than simple props for the Hackneys.

Seeing it jogged my memory of something I gave a little thought to as I was looking for images for the Front Porch Cycle Chic posts and I ran across lots of images taken in Wichita of people pictured with their bicycles--individuals, families, and riding clubs: gather up and post a collection of them as part nostalgia trip but also as a subtle reminder that bicycles were once a part of people's everyday lives here. Not such a bad thing to be reminded of. Anyway, look for that sometime down the road.


standi said...

Regular folk riding in everyday clothes--right on!

In Europe, I noticed most locals traveled by bike, and ladies wore skirts and dresses while riding. It impressed me beyond all means. They know how to do it over there.

John B. said...

Standi, three words (and a link) for you: Copenhagen Cycle Chic. You might also want to check out this blog's right gutter, where I've posted links to U.S. "cycle chic" blogs.

Anonymous said...

This is my great grandfather's brother. Born in Cheshire England in 1826 he and his wife Martha moved to the States where George rose to prominence in the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Corporation where he instigated an early form of time attendance recording! We are not sure if the photograph is just posed, as at the time it was taken George would have been getting on for 80!
Natalie Cooper, Berkshire, England