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Bikes are History

November 4, 2015

A friend of mine (and fellow cyclist) Murray, put me onto the historic picture archive Shorpy. You could waste A LOT of time on Shorpy, the photos are facinating, so detailed, and a real window to the past. Surprise surprise, it’s the bicycles that caught my eye, there’s even a handful from New Zealand.

I love the pride these folks showed in their steeds, so keen to include them in group photos. We tend to forgot the bicycle was the fastest vehicle on Earth until rail upped it’s game, and you couldn’t go out and purchase your own steam locomotive, could you? Passenger cars were rare, expensive, and slower than bikes until the start of the 20th century. Long live the bicycle!

Victoria St East Auckland

Dexter & Crozier Cycle Importers, Victoria Street East, Auckland, 1902.


Speedy Cycle Works, Manchester Street, Christchurch, 1913.

Tyres Fittings 1910

Cycle shop interior, Christchurch, 1910.

Wanganui Herald

Wanganui Herald newspaper staff and bicycles (and pony!), 1907.

Rabbit-hunting party

Rabbit-hunting party. Possibly Christchurch. Circa 1910.


Picnickers, New Zealand, 1910.

These last two are from the USA, but they could easily be New Zealand scenes. Look at the bustling wharf below, I’m thinking downtown Auckland back in the day. No dramas stuck in traffic or finding a park, just ride straight up to the boat, easy peasy!


Detroit River Wharf, Circa 1901.

And this one reminded me of the Waitemata Golf Club down in Devonport.

The course was originally encircled by a horse-racing track, but horses weren’t the only objects hurtling around the perimeter. Motorcycles, greyhounds and professional runners shared the facility. I’m guessing if there were motorbikes, there were also bikes, even if only local kids emulating their heroes.


Bicycle races at Laurel Speedway, Maryland, 1925.

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