1870: Britain’s First Victorian Bicycle Club! (22.5.2023)

The Machine was Termed the ‘Nut Cracker’!

Britain’s first Bicycles were monopolised by the country’s middle and upper classes – with articles appearing in The Times which suggested working class bodies were simply ‘not suited’ to the ‘faster than striding’ mechanism – not to mention the type of ‘dextrous’ mind required (an attribute only acquired in Britain’s Public Schools)! If the ‘Playing Fields of Eton’ produced the victors at Waterloo – the slums of London, Manchester and Birmingham (which produced the working class Army of Wellington) certainly could NOT produce those who could ‘pedal’ a rather crude bicycle (by today’s standards) and safely navigate this device whilst travelling much slower than ten miles an hour! Still, once the ‘class’ parameters were firmly established – what was such a progressive organisation to be called? Of course, Royal patronage would come later – in the fullness of time – but what should these exclusive associations be named? Sir Francis Galton, acting true to his aristocratic pretensions, suggested a ‘Greek’ sounding term – and so the intrepid ‘Pedalphiles’ was born!