Victorian pictorial delights


If I were in London tomorrow night, an event that I’d definitely have on my calendar would be a presentation by two bicycle historians at an Islington bike shop.
The event, called “Hug an Historian: A night of Victorian pictorial delights,” will feature Carlton Reid and David Herlihy, both of whom I’ve written about in this blog.
Herlihy, a friend and author of Bicycle: The History and The Lost Cyclist, is planning to show newly digitized photographs of and by pioneer round-the-world American cyclists Thomas Allen and William Sachtleben.
Hug_an_Historian_posterThe pair embarked on a globe-girdling trip on British “safety” bicycles in 1891, and both figure in The Lost Cyclist, a 2010 book about the search for another round-the-world cyclist, Frank Lenz, who went missing in a turbulent part of eastern Turkey. (See March 26, 2010, blog post, “The search for the lost cyclist.”)
The photos, which David discussed with me during a stay at our house in Fort Worth in March, were scanned from circular Kodak plates that had ended up in the archives of the University of California at Los Angeles. They include images shot by Allen and Sachtleben in Greece, Turkey and Persia.
Reid is author of an upcoming book called Roads Were Not Built for Cars, which tells the story of how bicyclists became a powerful special-interest group in the United States and Britain during that turn-of-the-century period of transition from horse-powered transport to motorized vehicles. (See Feb. 9, 2012, blog post, “How’s that for a thank-you.”)
Reid’s book is due to be published in August after he raised 17,000 pounds sterling (about $25,700) on Kickstarter from more than 600 backers.
So, if you’re lucky enough to be in London Thursday night and have a fancy for bicycles, it would be well worth your while to stop in at the Look Mum No Hands bike shop at has 49 Old St., EC1V 9HX. The program begins at 7 p.m.

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