Antique bicycle enthusiast Alan Engle, front, leads Walt Handlos and Jack Beigle on the other highwheeler on a Saturday jaunt past the Rose Victorian Inn in Arroyo Grande. Robert Dyer/The Tribune
Here is a classic photo from the 80s.
Nothing like taking the Velocipede for a spin down the road. The Pitkin Conrow house was built about 1885 and also has been known as the Rose Victorian. It now hosts weddings and events under the name Victorian Pitkin Conrow Estate.
Alert readers find at least six things wrong with this photo. Paved road, a no parking sign, jet trail in the sky, power lines, boxy cars in the background with fake wood paneling and facial hair less extravagant than the handlebars of the bikes. Looks like the mid-80s, as in 1980s.
Robert Dyer made this photo December 13, 1986 to go with a story that ran in the Community section of then Telegram-Tribune on January 10, 1987 written by Dorie Bentley.
The story followed the efforts of the bicycle club The Wheelmen to restore and ride 100 year old antiques. It was harder in the era before eBay to find parts or the information now available on the World Wide Web.
The bikes were called Highwheelers, Hobby Horses, Bone Shakers, Velocipedes or Ordinary. The style of bike we ride today was called a safety bike when it first came out. It is a bad sign when your product is associated with danger and injury.
The big wheels could be made of iron and woodmaking for a jarring ride. A stone in the path could bring the forward wheel to a halt throwing the driver over the handlebars. They called it "taking a header" and the rough roads of yesteryear offered more opportunities to crash.
Alan Engle said: "It's a thing that requires your full attention."
"They (the bicycles) are pretty hazardous. You have to give them a whole lot of respect."
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