Friday, December 4, 2009

Macmillan Knew.

Kirkpatrick Macmillan knew what it was like to look weird. The Inventor, Blacksmith credited to have built the first pedal powered bicycle was stoned as he tried to enjoy his ride through the countryside of Dumfriesshire, Scotland back in 1839.

Powered by a two pedal/lever system, by pumping he could travel fast enough to have actually received a speeding ticket of 5 shillings on his personal best 40 mile time trial to Glasgow in 1842.
His wood framed, Iron wheeled Velocipede of 57 pounds I'm sure was quite a sight. The noise the wheels made on the dirt and stone path must have been wild!
Horses and people alike had to have been terrified to see him coming.
In America in the late 1800's Bicycle clubs were formed for the safety of cyclists that otherwise would have had to travel alone. In 1898 the League of American Wheelmen had 103'000 members. Lobbing for the safety of cyclists and the first paved roads.
Smith & Wesson offered cyclists a snub-nosed handgun to carry in case of attack. To this day "Pocket Revolvers" are referred to by some as "Bicycle Guns"
Taking up someones space on the street seems to have been a problem for years. Looking different and having a good time can be a problem. Being faster makes things worse.
I love riding a recumbent. I like looking different and I like standing out. I love the looks of horror by drivers as they see me coming as well as the smiles. The eyes in the rear view mirror as they pass is such a hoot. I wave when I see it and sometimes get a wave back. That's when I know they like the bike.

I have yet to have a rock thrown at me. I do often think about Macmillan and what it must have been like being the first and how much he must have turned heads. Although we are different on our style of bicycle, at least for the most part, we are excepted and safe. Leave the gun at home.


  1. MacMillan "...was stoned as he rode his bike" ?
    Did he stop for Cool Ranch Doritos on the way ?


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Then it would have read: ,,stoned as he enjoyed his ride through the countryside of Dumfriesshire, Scotland back in 1839, went home and ate all the cookies in the house.


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