Small towns, bikes and history

A bicycle is a good way to explore a small town, one you love or discover. So we are here to celebrate World Bicycle Day.

What is International Bicycle Day?

The United Nations declared 3 June International Bicycle Day in 2018. A day for celebration ongoing.

Why is Haunted Hills interested in World Bicycle Day?

Haunted Hills loves small towns especially viewed the lens of history, crime and paranormal we thought it would be interesting to do this with bicycles – to celebrate.

As a child I loved bike rides, so much there are still bike tracks in the clay of my childhood home. 

Check out the future before the past of bikes

Leon Cycle Australia

The future is electric and can be at your feet, putting the wind in your hair as you glide along with your new bicycle battery powered. See, hear and smell the small town on the cushioned top of the very best European engineering in bikes.

The good people at Leon Cycles who support our podcast are a specialist supplier of electric cycles, conversion kits, batteries and accessories. They manufacture and distribute brands such as a NCM, Leisger, Das-Kit and Dehawk. You’ll find quality and value for money.

Small towns aren’t the only place these bikes can go and take you, the range is of little concern with the right equipment and advice from Leon Cycles website, you can hit the mountain trails, have a trekking bike, folding bike – a bike that suits your lifestyle small town or no. Join the pedelec community.

If you click through the above banner, it will take to an Australian website which sells electric bikes, conversion kits and batteries. Using this banner will support Haunted Hills with a percentage of the sale, which will not increase your costs.

The history and cultural impacts of bicycles

The early versions of bicycles were called velocipedes the word comes from the french – no relationship to velociraptors.  The velocipedes are defined as a wheel or more propelled by pedals. in 1869 the velocipedes which had the world a buzz was the three-wheeled kind. Hailed to be safer and sturdier. Although all these years later we know which velocipede won. Bicycles helped people move quickly and reduce the costs of stabling horses and cost of feed. Here are some images of them:

Firstly the thing that comes to my mind is a song, a bicycle built for two. The song was originally written as Daisy Bell by Harry Dacre 1892. Full of double entendres, fitting for a song about couples; wheels, seats or people.

Here you can listen to the song while you read the post and check out the images:

History relating to small towns covered by Haunted Hills Podcast

The founding meeting of the Trarlaogn Bicycle Club occurred at the Traralgon Court House 8 pm on 11 January 1886. This was a successful meeting leading to the creation of the club.

On 20 February 1904 13 members of the Traralgon Cyclist Club rode to Morwell. Enjoying a lovely start to the hope of a continuing relationship.

Traralgon continues to have a cycling club, today is known as the Latrobe Valley Cycling Club.

Also Nurse Miller from Episode 8: Traralgon History also is pictured riding a bike.

In 1932 the Morwell Bicycle Club organised a ride starting Traralgon, via Yallourn ending opposite the Methodist Church Morwell. Many people joined the ride. Today this club is part of the Latrobe Valley Cycling Club.

More historic images

A man with a bike from the Bairnsdale in the riding gear of the day, sash and all.

The image was taken by A W Burman Studio 1905

In 1902, Traralgon Bicycle Race with local people watching. On a dirt graded dirt road with people under hats and umbrellas.

Traralgon 1910 a number of residents in front of a shed with cycles.

A young girl in a simple dress on a bike in Leongatha, Victoria, Australia.

Traralgon kids racing bikes with local people watching on in 1930. The young fella in the front left is moving so fast he is blurring.

Crazy but history

The new snakebite cure

An article called “The new snakebite cure” in 1869 was a glowing review of a pamphlet sent out by Dr Halford. It discussed the process for saving lives using an intravenous injection. The person reviewing the pamphlet made the statement “I believe it takes weeks to learn to use a bicycle, I assure the reader one afternoon would suffice to use the syringe.” 

What will soon be history

Many people are opting to ride in order to avoid public transport and congestion during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has kept up with interviewing many Australian’s and cycling industry members, plus policymakers who are looking to make Australia more bike-friendly. It was noticed early in the pandemic families were using the quality to spend on their bikes together. Now people are using it as it helps maintain a natural 1.5-metre distance between people.

Bicycle Crime Stories

In 1870 the local newspaper noted a man who took advantage a fire in the marketplace to steal special coins (a spade ace guinea and twenty franc)  from a shopkeeper.

The paper noted before listing his crimes he was a “well-behaved and respectable young man, and who has recently rendered himself prominent by his accomplished riding on a bike”.

Unclaimed bike

The bike had an electric generating headlight attached to the front wheel, with turned-down handlebars. A farmer near Dumosa saw the victim riding this vehicle which had arrived in Melbourne unclaimed.
The man had stopped to stay the night in a tin hut on a farmers property, this was his last night on earth. The person killed him in there then put him a hessian bag and disposed of him in a nearby dam.  The victim was not known to the area, an artist put together an image for circulation to help with identification.
The police believed the murderer may have put the bike on the train and not picked it up for fear of being discovered for murder.
Ban to prevent murderers escaping.
The bike was accidentally recovered from a canal. The man turned it over to police who knew it was a piece to their investigation which cinched it.
This was a fight between two the aggressor performed a burial alongside another man.

Paranormal stories about Bicycles

At about 10 pm a couple returning from a local casino were driving on a country road. As they passed through an intersection the car filled with screams as the driver stomped on the brakes. A boy on a bike was already in the intersection, but he couldn’t be, he had not come from anywhere. There was no impact as the car passed through his bike and body. When the car screeched to a stop, passenger and driver lept out. Rushing back up the road to the intersection. They surveyed the serene scene, well except for the passenger who could not stop her tears believing she’d just witnessed her husband kill a little boy. Even though there was no evidence of that on the road. No debris, blood or whimpering child or even still body.

The passenger circling around increasing in panic, kept asking “Did you hit him?”

She referred to the boy who looked around 10-years-old, who rode directly into the car, however, had not been on the road moments before. To the occupants of the car, it looked like they crashed into this child headfirst at about 90 km per hour. Only there was no damage to the car in front or on. No child or bike behind the vehicle either.

Barely anytime had passed even if the child had swerved and somehow miraculously avoided the direct path towards the bonnet no one was out. The rural area was quiet as ever. The driver convinced the passenger to get back in the car and they would check the intersecting road to see if the boy had made it down there.

This proved fruitless.

The next day the driver relayed it to a local friend, he went white as he asked if the intersecting road was Road. When the driver confirmed it was. It caused the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end, freaking him out, as it seemed like the friend knew the right intersection.

The friend went onto say six years prior, a young boy was riding his bike along that section road, who was struck by a car that took his life. The driver thought his friend was having a lend. However, he decided to return to the intersection in the broad daylight.

His heart skipped a beat as his eyes stopped on the roadside memorial – a white cross there about 20 feet from where he had seen the apparition.

Myths surrounding bicycles

I fell for this one that a young lad went to war in 1914, left his bike against the tree and it was reclaimed the tree:

The actual fact is the bike was a local resident in 1950 who did lean it against this tree and the tree grew around it. Still very cool. But not as nostalgia creating.

Remembering dead cyclists traditions

In many cities around the world, there are white bikes attached to poles or nearby structures to show people where cyclists died. They’re called “Ghost Bikes”. Similar idea to roadside memorials but also a reminder to help people be mindful of cyclists and watch out for them to see fewer ghost bikes.

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