A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Steampunk Bicycle

Somethings are just to fantastic to describe. On June 1, 1896, mad bicyclist Sylvester Roper arrived at the Charles River race track in Boston with a contraption that was beyond the scope of anything ridden before. Grafted onto an 1894 Columbia frame was a coal fired steel boiler with a 73 year old inventor on top. That must have been one hot ride........Literally!

A week previously, he had clocked his machine at a breath taking 40MPH. Roper made three laps at an average speed of 30MPH. Then Roper poured on the fire and tragedy struck. From the Boston Daily Globe:
“The machine was cutting out a lively pace on the back stretch when the men seated near the training quarters noticed the bicycle was unsteady. The forward wheel wobbled, and then suddenly, the cycle was deflected from its course and plunged off the track into the sand, throwing the rider and overturning.

All rushed to the assistance of the inventor, who lay motionless beneath his wheel, but as soon as they touched him they perceived that life was extinct. Dr. Welcott was summoned and after an examination gave the opinion that Mr. Roper was dead before the machine left the track.”
A heart attack had ended his eccentric genius. Sylvester Roper left behind a 20 year legacy of steam powered cycles. This one, on which he took his last ride is on display at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame museum in Columbus, Ohio.

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Blogger Justin Buist said...

Well that was an unfortunate death.

Are the schematics published for that thing?

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there's a great way to go, that's it.

-Sans Authoritas

7:43 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

> Are the schematics published for that thing?

Ayeee! No! That infernal contraption has already claimed one life, do you want to be the next?

*grouse*grouse* Darned kids with their steampunk devices, next thing they'll want to be riding gasoline-powered wheels or some such. *grouse*grouse*

10:01 PM  

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