A Pedal Back Into the Past

One of the delights of Twitter is that a casual suggestion can rapidly become a full blown plan (it was how Pedal on Parliament got started, after all). A tweet about our Doors Open ride turned into a conversation with the Dumfries Museum that ended with the suggestion of running some historical themed tours – and suddenly our Autumn and Winter ‘Magical History Tours’ had been born.

Dumfries Cycle Club c1900
Dumfries Cycle Club c. 1900 – from the collection at the Dumfries Museum. Splendid bikes and even more splendid outfits! Lycra and hi-vis be damned

We’d already decided we wanted to run regular monthly bike rides through the winter, after all the fun we had on our Summer Rides, but this added an extra layer of interest. Accordingly, we pedalled off to the museum to meet Fiona Wilson, Museums’ Access Officer (and a keen cyclist) to plan some routes. Fortunately, you can’t really cycle more than a mile in any direction without coming across something of historical interest round here so we were able to modify the routes we already had planned to come up with our tours.

Adam Richardson and his water bicycle
Adam Richardson and his water bicycle, 1937. From the collection of the Dumfries Museum. We may need to dig this out if weather gets any wetter…

As an added bonus, Fiona has dug out some splendid photographs from Dumfries’s cycling history to use for publicity material as you can see here. We’re particularly taken with Adam Richardson and his water-bicycle. According to the museum:

The water-bicycle was built by Adam Richardson, who had a bicycle shop in Nith Place, Dumfries, ‘The Cycle King’s Emporium’. He sold, hired, repaired and stored bicycles. He built the water-bicycle in 1937 and rode it up and down the River Nith in order to raise funds for Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.

Having ridden some of the roads around here in the wetter months, we’re not ruling out reinventing such a machine for ourselves. But for now we’ll be sticking to dry land – ish. The first ride (on Saturday 27th October) will be exploring the docks at Dock Park, Kingholm Quay and Glencaple, to tie in with the museum’s current exhibition on Dock Park.

And in case you needed any more incentive – the museum are very kindly offering free tea and coffee (maybe even a biscuit or two) after the ride. You don’t need to dress up quite as much as the Dumfries Cycling Club (although we’d be delighted if anyone did!) – just bring yourself and your bike and meet at the museum at 10:30 am.

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