But you’ll look sweet But you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.
Times change and our modes of transportation change with them.
The tandem bicycle or bicycle built for two was invented in late 19th century England and there is a report in The Oklahoman that possibly three bicycles, and one of those a tandem, participated in the Land Run of 1889.
Here is an article about a theft published November 28, 1938, that brought back memories of an earlier time to the responding police officers.
“Shades of the gay nineties descended upon the police department Sunday afternoon.”
“Got a stolen bicycle at the White House cafe, 1945 Northeast Twenty-third street,” Joe Jerkins, station captain, told (Clyde) Anderson (station officer).
Anderson took off and when he returned it was with “a bicycle built for two–a tandem. And the back seat was almost a large as a rocking chair seat, so the girl friend could ride sideways.”
“Twirling his moustache and yearning for the return of the mustache cup, Jack Barnett, scout car lieutenant, took one look at the machine and remembered how he had clipped a neat corner on one of the things in the dear, dead days. He could go whizzing by the Overholser Opera house on North Robinson avenue, do a fancy left turn, and coast to South Broadway.”
Try that today with downtown’s streets under various stages of repairs and you could probably wind up in a hole or run into a backhoe.
Jack Barnett continued telling about the first car he ever saw was one he ran into on his bicycle. He recalled, “It was a doctor’s car, and when he lifted me into that strange animal I quit hurting right away.”
“Many a boy and man hopped off their tandems to enlist for the Spanish-American war,” Barnett remembered. “And the fellow who had a shiny tandem could really give the girls the eye!”
Back to the crime, it was determined a teen-age boy had left the bicycle behind the cafe and escaped on foot. There was no indication he was ever apprehended, but it sure brought a nostalgic air to the police station back in 1938.