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  • Fancy Cycling, 1901
  • Written by Isabel Marks
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781908402714
  • Our Price: $14.95
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Fancy Cycling, 1901

An Edwardian Guide

Written by Isabel MarksAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Isabel Marks

Fancy Cycling, 1901 Cover

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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents


This is a special cloth hardcover gift edition reproduction of the original 1901 book which was one of the first to promote daring tricks for weird and wonderful acrobatics on two wheels, such as handle bar riding, riding backward and standing on the seat riding, hands off! Illustrated with period photographs showing outlandish daredevil "fancy cycling" stunts that have to be seen to be believed, it wonderfully captures a bygone age when  popular fads and crazes were met with wild enthusiasm and is a delightful keepsake for cycling or sports enthusiasts.


In the following pages it will be my humble endeavour to give an account of the many graceful, daring, and altogether fascinating feats which may be accomplished by any rider possessed of an ordinary amount of nerve, the virtue of determination, and a few spare moments secure from the rude intrusion of unsympathizing spectators.

When watching the stream of cyclists amidst the sea of vehicles and horses it is easy to distinguish between the ordinary rider and the expert. These latter may be known by the accuracy of their serpentine curves amidst the openings out of, meeting, and overtaking traffic; by their correct steering and, by the coolness with which, further progress being temporarily barred, the front wheel is right-angled, and a stationary balance maintained.

May my insignificant efforts be of some little service to the merry band of tricksters; may the track of their wheels be ever increasingly present in the land.

Table of Contents

I. Our Little Ones
II. The Evolution of the Coast
III. The Ramifications of the Stationary Balance
IV. Heads and Posts, Tilting at the Ring (Sword), Tent-Pegging
V. Deeds of Derring-do
VI. Combined Pastimes
VII. Side-Riding, Double-Riding


"In 1901, Fancy Cycling, an extraordinary book by Isabel Marks, was published, showing straight-faced paragons of Edwardian society pulling off some pretty daring (and peculiar) stunts. Marvel as these tailored tricksters demonstrate how to pick up a handkerchief without dismounting, ride backwards while seated on the handlebar, and 'tilting at the ring'."—The Guardian

If you shake your head at what kids are up to nowadays, you should see what your (great) great grandmother was up to! Namely, Unicorn Driving and the Butterfly Dance. There’s a whole chapter on Coasting techniques and one with women in full dresses wielding swords. A must have!"—Pacific Northwest Book Lovers Association

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