The Steampunk Bicycle
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.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.
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.”