The other day I was watching a student riding a unicycle outside the library, and it reminded me of this brilliant book from 1901.

Fancy cycling

According to the preface, the stunts described below “may be accomplished by any rider posessed of an ordinary amount of nerve, the virtue of determination, and a few spare moments secure from the rude intrusion of unsympathising spectators”.  Well that lets me out  – the description of male cyclists as “hump-backed and ungainly” in  last week’s blog  perfectly describes my riding style.

Here are a few examples – don’t try these at home!

Knitting on wheel

“Mount holding the ball of wool in one hand, and balance. When steady, place the ball on the saddle and knit. When work is finished, stick the needles through the ball, place latter on the saddle and ride off” – easy peasy.

Butterfly dance

Riding backwards seated on handle bar

Skipping and hoop skipping


 Heads and posts – a large chunk of the book is devoted to the use of the sword and lance. It’s a shame that the idea of bicycle cavalry never caught on.

Many more imges from the book are available on this website. 

As all the tickets for the Olympic cycling are sold out, we should arrange an alternative event. I’m sure Great Britain would lead the world in bicycle knitting,  and that race where they chase a little moped round the track would be vastly improved if the riders were armed. 

Sadly, as I lack nerve and determination and any sense of balance, I will not be taking part – but if there are any intrepid cyclists or extreme knitters out there do get in touch.