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I’m a sucker for old books on cycling. And the faded tome above is a real corker. It’s an American book on ‘how to bicycle’ from 1892, by L. F. Korns.
Almost the whole book is quotable but here are just a few choice extracts:
“A ride at moonlight is a nerve tonic that beats all the phosphorous compounds that Esculapius ever dreamed of.”
“As a means of locotmotion, it is the fastest of road steeds, is always ready for use, and never consumes grain.”
“To the business man who is shut up in an office or store most of the day, it is a God-send. It gives him the exercise he so much needs and which he would not get in any other way.”
“As a means of pleasure, cycling stands in the foremost rank, but in common with all the great pleasures, it may easily stand in the foremost in abuse. The desire to ride at an unreasonably high speed may become morbid…The ever lasting scorcher, bent like a hoop, and with sunken cheeks, ought to be quite sufficient warning against this abuse.”
“Cycling fills the remotest cells of the lungs with outdoor air. The pores are opened and the dead secretions are thrown off. It aids the peristaltic movement of the bowels…”
Here, the esteemed author, provides are some medical opinions:
Dr. K. K. Doty of New York said:
“Cyclers see considerable more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to.”
J. A. Chase, a doctor from Pawtucket, surmised that bicycling would lead to fewer patients:
“I fear that the universal adoption of cycling would be bad for the doctors.”
Men of the cloth were bicycle advocates, too, reports Mr Korns. The Reverend W.J Petrie of Chicago said:
“I expect to see the day when not to ride a wheel will be a mark of a defective education, and people will say to such a person, ‘Why, where have you been brought up?’”
Rev. Maltie of Baltimore loved the airy freedom of cycling:
“If I were not a man, I would like to be a bird. As I am a man, I do the next best thing, and ride a bicycle.”
Clearly, I’m going to have to update my ‘Quote:Unquote’ article on cycling. This book, and 59 other flickable publications, such as the ‘Bike the Strike’ Bike to Work Book, can be found on Issuu.com’s Bicycling Group.