My first real bike was a secondhand early '50s Raleigh three speed Superbe Roadster with the full chain case and rod brakes. Being a dumb kid, I had no appreciation for the uniqueness of it and it was torn up and discarded after a few years.
Jay, the first photo has several early motorcycles on the left side. Does the original photo have enough resolution to read the name? It seems like it might be a rare maker.
Several phonographs and Lots is cylenders on the other side of that first picture!
Howard, That's the best res. there is. I think the first motorcycle is an Excelsior.
These photos triggered memories long forgotten. When I was a kid there was a bicycle shop near where we lived that was very similar. It was called "Paul's" on The Alameda in San Jose, CA. I purchased my first bike there for a paper route in 1959. It cost a whopping $65. My dad loaned me the money and I paid him back out of my earnings over the following few months.
At the time it was just an old bike shop. I never thought of the historical significance at all. Sure do wish I'd taken a few photos. It's long gone now.
Even though they are not automotive, I still had to get my drool bib.
In '46 we moved to near Greggs Greenlake Cycle Shop in Seattle.
Bought my first bike there for $23 in '48.
They rented bikes to ride around Greenlake.
They're still there and still rent bikes.
Terrific photos again. I believe you are right about the Excelsior.
A old friend of mine Earl Ludwig since passed told me he traded in a new bicycle on a used 1915 Model T Ford! Long before most farmers had their own truck's Earl had a Ford and went from farm to farm and trucked grain to the elevator!Before Earl went to the home he sold me his 23 J Hamilton Railway Special which at the time the book said it was worth 400.00 so i gave him 500.00 cash for it! When i part with Earl's watch is when i give it to a Grandchild before i go to the home! Bud.
The bike craze in the in the latter 1890's and early 1900's helped jump start the improvement of the roads in the Portland Or area. As kids the first bike we had was from Sears or Wards, no place to ride except a round in circles and a short way up the drive. My next bike was an old well used Royal, locked in 3ed I put a lot of miles on it. The rural road we lived off of was narrow with deep ditches on the sides. As it was an open road the speed was 55 MPH so parents really didn't like us to ride on it but to get to town we had no choice.
Thanks Richard, I've never seen that version of Excelsior logo before. What years would that be?
Next to the Excelsior there appears to be a Camel backed Indian. Google says 1902-07 dates and 1698 produced. Would be rare and valuable today.
Hi Howard. 1907.
I bought a used Columbia bicycle out of Paul's Cyclery, would have been about 1964. I remember the place well. It was across the street and about a block down from Andy's Pet Store, which may still be there. When I was really little, we lived on Villa Street, just a few blocks farther off of the Alameda. My mom did't drive at that time, so we used to walk to Bettencort's (sp?) grocery and by these shops often. I always loved to see the parrots in front of Andy's! I went to Hester school in Kindergarten and first grade (in the old buildings built right after the '06 quake). We then move to just outside the Willow Glen area.
So where were you at those times?
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Neat bike, Mark. I bought one very similar in about 1960 for $30 (paid for by me). Hand brakes only and it too had that little three speed shift lever near the right hand grip, I think....We called them "English racers." Does anyone know why we would have called them that?
My first bike was a hand me down somewhat similar to the delivery model in the lower left of the first picture. It had double top bars and brackets in the front for a basket. One of my uncles had used it when working for a grocer. To allow for a large basket, the front wheel was considerably smaller than the rear, but both wheels had fenders. The rear had a Torpedo coaster brake hub and single speed, and the front had a drum brake. I rode that bike until the age of 16, when I got enough money for Confirmation to buy a new bike. That bike had a Sturmey Archer three speed rear hub with drum brakes front and rear. Quite an upgrade!
While Dear Old Dad talked a big game for Schwinn, he was a cheap bastxrd and I got a nearly impossible to ride
Murray with a four foot front sprocket as my first bike. Other kids in the neighborhood had Schwinn Stingrays and
the difference was like night and day. So, I saved my scheckels and for $81 I rode out of the Schwinn shop in old
Bellevue on my own red metallic 3 speed Stingray. Still have it too !
.... but I'm the guy who still has his skateboard, first car, second car ....
Excelsior Motorcycles grew from the same brand of push bikes. They were manufactured in Coventry, England by a company set up by Baylis Thomas and Co., who moved to Coventry to make sewing machines with the famous James Starley. When Starley started successfully building bicycles, many of the staff gradually left to become bicycle manufacturers in their own right.
Notice the wheel cover, two machines further on than the Exelsior. That looks like the same as a wheel cover in Picture 3.
I would suggest that pictures 1, 2, 3 and 4 are from the U.K. Possibly picture 6 as well, where the motorcycle side-cars are supported on petrol or oil tins.
The other photos appear to be in the U.S.
We lived on Sierra Ave. near Park Ave. I too went to Hester, starting kindergarten there in fall 1953. I only attended Hester for 3 years, changing to Trace over on Dana Ave. for the 3rd grade due to a district attendance boundary adjustment. I had an uncle (1916-2013) who also attended Hester when it was still pretty new.
I was a regular at Andy's Pet Shop, I liked the parrots too. I had an older cousin who was a clerk at Bettencourts, so I was in there often also. Tiny's on the corner of The Alameda and Martin Ave. was a center piece back then. The drug store next door was the best source of comic books around. There was a Red & White store at Park Ave. and Hester Ave. owned by a guy named Tony. He'd let us stamp prices on a case of cans then pay us with a $.05 Hershey bar, which we were glad to get.
Could be that most American bikes were still the beach single speed coaster brake type and bikes like the Royal were the early precursor to the 10 and 12 speed lighter frames bikes with brakes on the wheels. AS I recall, mine had the cable activated brakes and shifter rather then the rod type.