The early years of the twentieth century saw bicycles develop in all sorts of strange ways. As you can see on these pages, the new-fangled safety bicycle of the early 1890s had evolved into a stable design by the turn of the century, and the development of freewheel hubs, gears and brakes allowed it to evolve further. Within a few years, the bicycle had kick-started the motorcycle, automobile and aeroplane industry.
While British and American magazines ran excellent stories on these new developments, French inventors and manufacturers were pioneers in each of these new fields, and the leading French sporting magazine of the time, La Vie au Grand Air, provides a wonderful glimpse into this magical, innovative era. Though today we think of bicycles, motorcycles and aeroplanes as very different beasts, it’s important to acknowledge this short period in time when they were still evolving. One of many fabulous innovations of 1906, the photo below of Archdeacon’s 6hp Anzani-powered Aeromotocyclette sums up that wonderful early twentieth century pioneering spirit…
3 JULY 1903
31 DECEMBER 1903
19 MAY 1904
15 SEPTEMBER 1904
28 SEPTEMBER 1904
5 MAY 1905
17 JULY 1906
LE MIROIR DES SPORTS, 15 OCTOBER 1924
Many thanks to Alain Touchet for letting me copy his magazines.