Note to Self:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Annie Londonderry and Columbia Bikes

I've been meaning to read this book about Annie Londonderry for a while, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I was browsing through it at a book store recently...it looks like an interesting book and she certainly seems like an incredible woman. She bicycled around the world on a heavy single speed bike by herself...and I'm still trying to get the courage up to ride from Buffalo to NYC. Here's an excerpt from the website devoted to her:

On June 25, 1894, Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, a young mother of three small children, stood before a crowd of 500 friends, family, suffragists and curious onlookers at the Massachusetts State House. Then, declaring she would circle the world, she climbed onto a 42-pound Columbia bicycle and “sailed away like a kite down Beacon Street.”

To learn more about her and her travels click here and here.

The Columbia Company's website (the brand bike Annie rode) claims the are the oldest bicycle company in the United States...hmmm. Maybe, but like most companies that are old, they all seem to claim they are the first. The Pierce Arrow car company, which was based here in Buffalo, originally made bikes in the 1890's. Anyhow, here's a poster advertising a Columbia bike in 1901...just a few years after Annie began her journey. It's interesting that the bike in the advert below is a chainless, so was another advertisement for a Pierce Arrow I came across from the same time...must have been the fad at the time. (Click it if you want to read the text of the ad.)

3 comments:

jdsmith11 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesse said...

Have you seen this book before? It's the memoir of two girls from Buffalo who bicycled across the country in the 1940s. Pretty inspiring stuff.

http://mjgradziel.com/thelmajones/lureoftheopenroad.html

Joe said...

Hi Jesse,

No, I have not heard of this book before...thanks for the great link.

Joe