Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Steam Before it was Punk

Did you know that Arizona holds the distinction of the being the home of where the first motorized bicycle was created? Meet Mr. Lucius Copeland, it was the 1880's and bikes were a crazy new way to travel. Lucius an engineer and inventor, had an idea. Take an existing bicycle and add a hand built engine. Now it was not gasoline powered (too early,) but STEAM! That's right! STEAM... placed right between your legs was a canister of piping hot water vapor under pressure. Don't know a place, I would rather have a it. This steam powered bicycle was said to have heralded the age of rapid transit. It traveled at the break neck speed of a whole 15 miles an hour. One day Lucius was riding his unique velocipede through the streets of downtown Phoenix, on the not so smooth dirt roads when he struck a rock and was knocked unconscious for a few days. This injury was not a rare occurrence, but rather the imputes for the Good Roads Movement. A grass roots effort to create smoothly paved roads for bicycles and economic development. This was before cars dominated the roads. The first exhibition of this mechanized wonder was the 1884 Territorial Fair, which is now known as the Arizona State Fair. With the invention of the gasoline engine, the steam powered bicycle was eclipsed it never caught on and as far as the record shows none were ever sold. The only known existing example of Lucius's invention is a single engine that resides at the Arizona Science Center. Mr. Copeland with his mustache and his bicycle look like something that would be created today for the Steampunk esthetic, but no 1880's and right here in Arizona!
Here is a image highlighting Arizona's bicycle history. This is the newest addition to the Arizona Icon series from Retro Spectacular. Which are T-shirt and other apparel that you can wear to celebrate Arizona history.   

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