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Cycle Museum at Drumlanrig Castle July 8, 2009

Posted by wetalkhablamos in history of cycling.


I guess there are dozens of cycling museums around the world. Many will host the great machines of cycle racing history, as epic and triumphant as the men (mostly) who rode them.

We happened by chance upon a little museum on the west of Scotland, where there’s a replica of Kirkpatrick Macmillan’s ingenious velocipede.

This hand-cranked wooden contraption is reportedly the first mechanically propelled two-wheeled bicycle, which made its inaugural journey from Dumfriesshire to Glasgow in 1842. It was a round trip of 140 miles.

On arrival in Glasgow, the local newspaper reported that Macmillan was charged with riding along the pavement on a velocipede to the obstruction of the passage, and with having, by doing so, thrown over a child. The child wasn’t seriously injured and Macmillan was fined 5 shillings.


The report gives a little more detail about this first bicycle,

The velocipede employed in this instance was very ingeniously constructed – it moved on wheels, turned with the hand by means of a crank; but to make ‘progress’ appeared to require more labour than will be compensated for by the increase of speed. This invention will not supersede the railway.

Some claim this story isn’t even about Kirkpatrick Macmillan, but the invention was his. (And pavement riding is still illegal in Britain today, subject to a fine of £30.)

You won’t find many elite cycles at the Cycling Museum at Drumlanrig Castle, this is about everyday cycling. In some ways, I’d like to have seen a replica of Obree’s Old Faithful, or some acknowledgement of Miller and Hoy. I’d like the story, which starts with Macmillan, to be continued.

Nevertheless, this is a celebration of invention and design, as well as a freedom available to ordinary people.






1. Aulyin - September 22, 2009

Any plans to commemorate the FIRST CYCLE TOUR of 1842?
Stage 3 of 2012 Tour of Britain perhaps, Dumfries to Glasgow, via Cumnock along the A76.

Cheers, Aulyin

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