1919 Mechanic's Shop
I love old photos...they are truly a glimpse to the past. I found this one at Shorpy.com.They call this photo Bike Shop:1919, but I renamed the post 1919 Mechanic's Shop because of it's content. Around 1919 automobiles and motorbikes were gaining popularity, but what many don't know is that the first auto mechanics were bicycle mechanics; it was a logical transition. Look at the mechanics in the background...are they standing proudly in front of a new shiny bike? Nope. They're huddled around a car and a motorcycle. In fact even the Wright Brothers, famous for their aeronautical feats, where originally bicycle mechanics and used many bicycle parts on their original airplane (click here). At that time the mechanics were probably enthralled by the new engines they were learning about and working on (and who could blame them). According to the clock and calendar on the wall it was about 2:50pm (14:50) on a December afternoon in Washington DC. Interestingly, it was about this same time period (maybe a decade or so earlier) that the Wright brothers had their bicycle shop and were members of League of American Wheelmen, which later became the League of American Bicyclists. The league, ironically, relocated to Washington and still exists today (click here). While the bicycle, at the time of this photo...or shortly thereafter, was on a bit of the wane for a while, it has thankfully been making a resurgence, not just as a recreational toy, but as a mode of transport...they are once again being seen (by some but not all) as a serious machine that may in fact outlive the car (at least what we now know as a car). Our planet now needs bikes and other human transport more than ever; we as a population need them more than ever...it has taken us a little more than a hundred years to realize this. Now is a great time to be a bicyclist...for many reasons.
This morning I was riding to work and the last mile or so is on MUP in a park- crowded with walkers, runners, and homeless people hanging out. Unfortunately that doesn't stop most cyclists from screaming through there like they're in the Tour de Get to Work or something. But this morning, I was behind a guy who was a true class act. He was riding a high-end racing bike, and he was wearing shorts so I could see his ripped and shaved legs. He had the build, the bike, and the demeanor of a serious rider. Everything about this guy said fast, and yet he was riding not much faster than walking pace. Other riders kept flying past us, and I have no doubt he could have outridden any of them. But he didn't need to, presumably because 1) he knows that there are places to race and MUP are not among them, and 2) he's probably a damn good rider, knows it, and thus has nothing to prove. Very refreshing.
Sorry for the long comment...