Thursday, April 16, 2009

Christchurch Cycling Craze #3 - Boys & Their Bikes

Boys & their (expensive) toys, Christchurch circa 1890
Christchurch City Libraries image

These brave young fellows put to shame those of us in a later age who took a million circuits of the backyard lawn before we would countenance unassisted self-balancing travel on a now standard uniform size two wheeler...

A Rudge Safety bicycle, presumably used, advertised for sale in the Evening Post classifieds of 8 March 1890 at 12 pounds would be equivalent in value to NZ$2011.57 in 2008 dollars according to the Reserve Bank historical inflation calculator. (Our thanks to Timespanner whose post on the historical price calculator directed us to said handy dandy calculator). Clearly, not a scientific estimate of value in current prices but an indication of the expense of pursuing the cycling life in 1890.

At those prices, these young lads either delivered a heck of a lot of newspapers, robbed a bank, or, most likely, had well-heeled parents.


Canterbury Heritage said...

In April 1956 I bought a Raleigh Roadster commuter bicycle from Calder Mackay Ltd in Worcester Street for £24.19.6, which in today's money is now $1,098.87.

The price of a bicycle, like the average weekly wage, had doubled in the 66 years from 1890, but a further 53 years on the cost of a commuter bike now represents about half an average weekly wage.

Unlike Calder Mackay's long gone shop, which is now part of the Cathedral Junction tram station and only remembered by the gift of the floral clock in Victoria Square, the bike is showing no signs of wearing out, which may not be the fate of its current counterpart by 2062.

Jayne said...

Gawd they were game, indeed!