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On ya bike! A gallery of bicycle pictures

Bicycles are a common motif in many collections of old photos. In the 1800s “velocipedes” were an exciting innovation, with inventors of all stripes applying their fertile brains to create a self-powered, non-polluting alternative to the horse for personal transport.

After many strange experiments, the conventional bicycle emerged in, more or less, the form we know it today. Here are some examples of early ideas from inventive correspondents to 1860s issues of the magazine The English Mechanic and Mirror of Science (scanned from my collection).

During the first half of the 20th century, before the rise of the cheap, mass-produced motor car, the bicycle was exceedingly common on Australia’s urban roads as a means of getting to and form work, in particular

Below are some samples of bicycle-related photos from my collection.

Start of 10 mile bicycle race, Newcastle, NSW, November 9, 1898. Photo by Ralph Snowball

Campbell’s Cycle Depot, Newcastle, NSW, February 1897. Photo by Ralph Snowball. The three-seater would have suited The Goodies.

Is this an early version of a biker gang? Photo by William Fraser, courtesy of Anne Hudson

Some likely blokes, on the wallaby with their pushbikes.

William Fraser’s trick photo of himself photographing himself with his bike.
Courtesy of Anne Hudson

Another William Fraser cycle portrait. Courtesy of Anne Hudson

This strange contraption, sporting an unusual substitute for pneumatic tyres, was photographed in Germany in 1919 by Bevis Platt.

This motorised beauty must have cost a fortune in its day. Photo by William Fraser.
Courtesy of Anne Hudson

Workmen on their bikes at the Hamilton railway gates, Newcastle, NSW, January 19, 1941.

Rodney Prout (right) and friends on bikes at Mayfield East School, Newcastle, NSW.

A cyclist strikes a sultry pose.

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