The world is filled with technology that claims to make life more interesting, and communication more instant. Though the boisterous call of new innovations is hard to ignore, history and tradition is even harder to ignore. This is why certain dedicated individuals love to collect and utilize machines of the past. Not last among the most collectible machines, is the antique bicycle.
When most people think of vintage bicycles, a rough picture of handlebar tassels waving in the wind on and old 8mm reel comes to mind. If they think even further back, a newspaper cartoon of a suited man riding atop a three-wheeled monstrosity, featured at some far-removed world’s fair will emerge. The truth is, there is a variety of vintage two, three, and multiple-wheeled “riding machines” out there for collectors and historians to focus on.
As children, individuals have great experiences riding bikes. They grow to appreciate motorcycles and hot rod cars. Later, they teach their kids and grandchildren about the fun and adventures they had on these wonderful machines. Collecting vintage bicycles represents the presence of a nostalgic heart trying to preserve the spirit of a mechanical device responsible for generations of good times and memorable moments. There is nothing wrong with the fast-paced evolution of digital technology, but the physical connection of a rider and a bicycle can never be completely matched with most modern inventions.
Beginning a hobby of collecting vintage bicycles requires a little knowledge about some of the most desired brands. Some are rare, some are novel. Others were best sellers, or were cultural flops. Here’s a quick survey of the representative bicycle brands that are highly collectible today.
Mead Cycle Co.
This manufacturer was located in the heart of Chicago and was famous for shiny, nickel-plated frames. They dominated the US market in the early 1900s.
Italian bicycle makers in the 60s and 70s loved to make unique sport designs. Their revolutionary modeling is still sought in today’s market.
This brand claims to have produced more European biking champions than any other. Its radical lightweight designs are a phenomenon in the antiques and collections market.
This brand is collectible because the parent company was primarily a maker of performance race tires. Certain bicycle models emerged to reflect an evolution in tire design.
Sport cycling took off in the 60s and 70s. Rattan models brought all ages and abilities into a love for bicycle racing. Pristine Rattan models are highly collectible and valuable.
Wicker Features And Accessories
Anything representing the bicycle as a mode of recreational transport in the pre-auto or post-war eras are collector’s gems. Brand names like Nantucket, Electra, Pashley, Huffman, and Roadmaster tend to peak the interests of serious collectors because of features like baskets and woven body frames.
Sears, Wards, JC Penny
These brands represent the Golden Age of Americana, and the childhood of many active collectors. Remember, these companies were vastly different than they are today. Their merchandise covered the needs of every member in a family.
The love of great memories spent riding bikes keeps this collections niche vibrant. There is no shortage of old bicycles to buy and sell. The hard part is locating premier models, while knowing how to accurately promote them. Even with a collector’s learning curve, old bicycles are a fun and rewarding focus for people who appreciate unique collections.