Tag Archives: trike

Journey to the End of the Road: Following the Cote Nord

10 Jul

The end of the road has become an almost mythical place in our modern collective imagination; the place where a person runs out of options and must turn back or begin anew. The objective truth is that most highways don’t simply stop. Rather, they merge with or junction at other roads so travelers can roll on to their next destination. Yet here I am. The official highway sign says “FIN” and behind it lies a wild untamed river. I’ve been told that Quebec intends to extend the road all the way to Labrador in the future, but for now Route 138 ends at the Natashquan River.End of the road-KJA

 

It’s my father’s fault. At a very early age he instilled in me an insatiable curiosity about where a road might lead. On Sunday rides he’d spy a road and ask, “Where does this go,” and our family would be off on a minor journey of discovery for the remainder of the day. Route 138 is a familiar highway. It crosses the Mercier Bridge and becomes Rue Sherbrooke, an intimate part of Montreal that’s less than a mile from home, while the Chemin du Roy to Quebec City and even through the Charlevoix Region to the Saguenay River is well-known territory. Eight hundred and sixty miles long, it stretches from the New York border at Trout River to Natashquan on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and 500 miles of that is east of Tadoussac. But what lies beyond Tadoussac? What will be found at the end of the road? I had to know.

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Edward Bulter and the Petrol Cycle

9 Jul

Petrol Cycle_6298           I discovered the Petrol-Cycle on the front page of the February 14, 1891 edition of the Scientific American. Invented by Edward Butler of Greenwich, England, this three-wheel fore-car had an elegant 650cc twin-cylinder, four-stroke, water-cooled engine with electric spark ignition. Years ahead of DeDion and Boulton, the Petrol-Cycle made Gottleib Diamler’s “Reitwagen” look like something from the Medieval Period. Regardless, most reference books about the history of motorcycles don’t even mention it.

 

Reitwagen

Reitwagen

Butler designed his “Velocycle” while working for an engineering company and filed for a provisional patent in 1884 under the title “A petroleum motor tricycle or small automobile carriage since it is not provided with auxiliary pedalling [sic] gear and was fitted with a comfortable seat and footboard.” That year he exhibited drawings of the vehicle at Stanley Cycle Show in London and in 1885 at the Inventions Exhibition, but neither produced financial backing. Unknown to the English inventor, in Germany Karl Benz was developing his own gasoline-powered internal combustion engine, as was Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.

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Searching for Lost Indians: An Archival Journey

5 Oct

During the late 1920s there were 5,000 of them in Newark, NY and Baltimore, MD alone, but who has ever heard of an Indian taxi?  Photos of these vehicles must exist in old family albums or are stacked in dusty drawers of historical societies, but the only ones I’ve discovered were in the archives of the Indian Motocycle Company in Springfield, MA. One reprinted photo appeared in the in-house promotional magazine, but all other references seem to have disappeared like an Apache covering his tracks. These, and others, are the lost Indians.

Indian Taxi_Kenzo

 

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