Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cycling in Early 20th c. London

Saw this at BoingBoing today and wanted to share it, since most of us seldom get to see film of early transportational cycling. Although the streets are absolutely mobbed with all manner of people and vehicles, notice how the cyclist at the beginning of the clip cruises so calmly amidst the chaos.
Keep an eye on him as he moves through the shot. You can first see him emerge from behind a large carriage at 00:03, then he zips in front of another and is just to the left of the lady's head before passing behind her at 00:06, and by 00:11, he flies past the camera. It really brings home the idea that, in the early days of cycling, bicycles offered a much faster way of getting around a city than traveling by carriage or street car.


  1. Astonishing. I don't think it looks any busier now.

    I notice that there are baskets everywhere. Some possibly made by my great grand-father.

    The bike really is very quick, as you said. I suppose it's too early for there to be many bikes on the streets.

  2. I love it! From the camera angle it looks like he cuts off that bus pretty close though. I like the guy in the big white hat and collar (at 43 seconds); set up a camera and there's always someone mugging for it--the more things change, the more they stay the same.
    Does anyone know what kind of bicycle that was?

  3. Nothing changes! Great video - thanks for sharing.