Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Steampunk Bike

Steampunk Bike

Check out that headlamp! This is easily the coolest thing I've seen this week. And the creator went out in style, riding one of the sweetest custom vehicles of all time, without hurting it or anybody else...

The Boston Daily Globe reported the tragic events that followed:
“The machine was cutting out a lively pace on the back stretch when the men seated near the training quarters noticed the bicycle was unsteady,” the paper said. “The forward wheel wobbled, and then suddenly, the cycle was deflected from its course and plunged off the track into the sand, throwing the rider and overturning.
“All rushed to the assistance of the inventor, who lay motionless beneath his wheel, but as soon as they touched him they perceived that life was extinct,” the paper added. “Dr. Welcott was summoned and after an examination gave the opinion that Mr. Roper was dead before the machine left the track.”
It was later determined that a heart attack killed Roper, who left behind a legacy of steam motorcycles that dated back nearly three decades. His first, on display at the Smithsonian Institution, was built in 1869, nearly 20 years before Gottlieb Daimler created the first internal-combustion motorcycle. About 10 other steam-powered vehicles followed, culminating in this machine, now owned by Robert Boudeman of Richland, Michigan, and on display at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame museum.
In this final design, Roper’s engine consisted of a small boiler over a coal firebox that was good for about 7 miles on each stoking. As the inventor liked to say, “It would climb any hill and outrun any horse.”


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