All photos reproduced with permission of Budget Bicycle Center
Of course it’s impossible to say exactly how many miles this Luthy & Co. bicycle traveled in the century following its sale. We know that it was made between 1892 and 1898, according to The Wheelmen’s list of veteran bicycle brands, and that today Budget Bicycle Center of Madison, Wisconsin, lists the frame on its website and eBay.
So it made it 200 miles from Peoria to Madison, though doubtfully under the power of its owner, either original or subsequent.
We also know this was more than just another black bicycle. Note the painterly touches ahead of the collet-style seatpost–just a sample of the artistry in evidence elsewhere.
Also, while most of this bicycle has been lost to time, it retains perhaps its single-most important distinguishing feature, an ornate head badge that reads:
LUTHY & CO.
In Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the king of the fairies is Oberon, boss of the error-prone Puck. At the end of the play, Puck, having earlier failed to follow Oberon’s instructions, explains to a pair of lovers the misapplication of a potion:
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
Today, our mechanical Oberon is the boss of no one, and he slumbers 200 miles away from home. If possession by another is what passes for love in these matters, we are left with but one question.
Who will wake the king?