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This was posted on a cycling forum at work and raised an ironic smile... It seems that while the quality of writing has diminished, attitudes haven't changed much in 120 years! 

Glasgow Herald
10 June 1899

The ubiquitous bicycle
Sir - The time was when after your day's work was done you might hie you countrywards with the certainty that, once the city with its ear-splitting noises was left behind, you would be left in blissful solitude with your thoughts, excepting the occasional obtrusion of a pedestrian, who, like yourself perchance, had come into the country that his mind might be refreshed and his nerves soothed after the mental and nervous tension of the day's work in the city. Yes, sir, you might have looked for such an Elysium once upon a time, but now, alas, you would search almost in vain for it. Go whichever road you may, unless, indeed, you go up a mountain, you are sure to be startled out of your reverie by a sudden whish, as some fiend goes tearing past you on a bicycle. 

The bicycle is nothing but a desecration of nature. What artist dare depict three or four hideous contrivances of steel and rubber on a beautiful pastoral landscape? None, I trow. The artistic portion of humanity would cry out as with one voice for the instant annihilation of a being who dare shatter its most cherished conceptions of ideality by such a wanton act of vandalism. Yet the pedestrian who is afflicted with a mind that soars above mere materialism is compelled in silent anguish to behold the fair face of Nature defaced by this anti-artistic contrivance. 

If the mania for cycling continues to develop at the rate it has done during the last five years, it requires no great prophetic ability to prognosticate the complete submergence of the pedestrian altogether. Yes, I fear that the poor pedestrian will soon become effete. But why should such things be? Why not make cycling restricted? I sincerely hope that pedestrians will assert themselves ere they are completely overridden by the most diabolical of all modern inventions, the bicycle. – I am, &c, Bicycle Tired.

 

3 comments

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CygnusX1 [1197 posts] 3 months ago
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Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose   -- indeed!  (are you a student of french novelist and journalist Jean-Baptiste Karr, or a fan of canadian prog rock?) 

After a day's work, I like to hie myself countrywards to escape the city and its ear-splitting sounds on my bicycle (or desecration of nature if you prefer) but am frequently startled out of my reverie by the sudden whish as some fiend goes tearing past in a contrivance of steel and rubber (or car as we tend to call them).

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 3 months ago
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I wonder what the letter writer thought about those that went into the countryside by horse and cart, pelting along at faster speeds, what about the Hansom cabs  I presume this city gent uses in the 'city' and is ignorant of the mad traffic in London in the 1890s!

Typical ignorant NIMBY!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqCJJNioiGI

 

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Dr Ofsereb [14 posts] 3 months ago
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CygnusX1 wrote:

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose   -- indeed!  (are you a student of french novelist and journalist Jean-Baptiste Karr, or a fan of canadian prog rock?) 

After a day's work, I like to hie myself countrywards to escape the city and its ear-splitting sounds on my bicycle (or desecration of nature if you prefer) but am frequently startled out of my reverie by the sudden whish as some fiend goes tearing past in a contrivance of steel and rubber (or car as we tend to call them).

All the same we take our chances, laughed at by time, tricked by circumstances... smiley

I'd like to say both, but that would be lie of sorts...