Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our girl on a fixed gear bicycle

This title won't necessarily lead to a story quite along the lines about what you might be thinking, especially you Fixed gal, but it does indeed feature our girl on a fixie.

Last evening, after our adventures with kindergarten we went to the Littleton Historical Museum, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary. The museum is always an interesting place, as it is a working farm depicting agrarian life in the settings of the 1860s and the 1890s. Because of the celebration the museum brought out some items and exhibits I'd not previously seen. Something that immediately caught my attention was a vintage safety bicycle ridden by a woman in period costume.
Early bicycles and bloomers were an escape from the tyranny of corsets
Of course we quickly sought out the bike for a closer inspection. She bubbled right up to the woman who was riding it and made a friend. As promised, this is where we get to the her on a fixed gear bicycle part of the story:
She'll be able to reach the pedals in in a year or two
According to the head badge the bike was a Romona, built in Indianapolis in 1897. It featured wooden rims, a skirt guard and coasting pegs on the fork crown. The bike apparently came from the large collection of Victorian era bicycles at Golden Oldy Cyclery.
It's too bad head badges aren't still a central fixture of a bike
Looking over the bike up close I began to ponder, with exception to some materials and manufacturing techniques, how little in bicycle design has really changed with the passage of 113 years. Since the time this bike was built, subsequent bikes have been tweaked for lower weight or higher speed, but have never really been fundamentally altered. Right now with the reemergence in popularity of utility bikes and fixies, this bike wouldn't look out of place parked in front of any coffee shop in 2010.

In the past as now, bikes are the perfect way to enjoy a summer evening following a hot day. We took advantage of the cooler air with a slightly extended ride home. 
Aglow in the twilight


  1. It's Stella's destiny to ride fixed. You better get started on the build now.

  2. Now that I think of it, she's already got something with a fixed gear in the stable: her trike. :)

    I wonder if Surly will ever make a Steamroller or a Crosscheck in about a 30cm size?

  3. I love that museum. They have an old wagon that sits near the big red barn from my very teensy hometown in Iowa. Completely random. I'm not sure how on earth it made it to that museum!

  4. I know that wagon, but can't recall the name of the town. Visiting the farm always reminds me of my rural Wyoming childhood. It's woven into the combination of peacock calls, wooden duck boards across mud and the smell of manure.