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110 bicyclists re-create historic photo on Main Street in Concord

  • A group of 110 bicycle enthusiasts gathered on Main Street on Sunday morning to recreate a photo from the 1890s. Clark Todd, 12, poses in front of the group.<br/><br/>(ANN MARIE JAKUBOWSKI/ Monitor staff)

    A group of 110 bicycle enthusiasts gathered on Main Street on Sunday morning to recreate a photo from the 1890s. Clark Todd, 12, poses in front of the group.

    (ANN MARIE JAKUBOWSKI/ Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Zip Zamachi of Eliot, Maine, displays his antique penny farthing bicycles on Main Street Sunday morning. <br/><br/>(ANN MARIE JAKUBOWSKI/ Monitor staff)

    Zip Zamachi of Eliot, Maine, displays his antique penny farthing bicycles on Main Street Sunday morning.

    (ANN MARIE JAKUBOWSKI/ Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • A group of 110 bicycle enthusiasts gathered on Main Street on Sunday morning to recreate a photo from the 1890s. Clark Todd, 12, poses in front of the group.<br/><br/>(ANN MARIE JAKUBOWSKI/ Monitor staff)
  • Zip Zamachi of Eliot, Maine, displays his antique penny farthing bicycles on Main Street Sunday morning. <br/><br/>(ANN MARIE JAKUBOWSKI/ Monitor staff)

Early yesterday morning, 110 bicycle enthusiasts lined up on Main Street to recreate an 1890s photo taken at the same site, representing what several organizers think of as the second wave of a “bicycle boom” in Concord.

The 7 a.m. crowd was a collection of all ages and all levels of expertise – and unlike the boys-only 1890s photo, women were welcome to join the line. Many bikers wore colorful spandex outfits and competed in the Northeast Delta Dental Merrimack River Trail Triathlon after the photo, while others came just for fun and to be a part of the commemoration.

Inspiration for the re-creation came from Lorraine Courtney, who is working on a book called Legendary Locals of Concord, which will be released early next year to coincide with the city’s 250th anniversary celebration. She came across the 1890s photo while researching local history and plans to feature the new version in her book.

“I’m excited to involve today’s residents with the book,” Courtney said. “It will include about 150 contemporary and historical figures total who have made an impact in the community. . . . It’s a great community to write about with so many interesting people and things that have been going on.”

Her research into the community at the turn of the 19th century made her interested in the developing popularity of bicycles since then, she said.

“Those old big-wheeled bicycles weren’t

so safe, but as soon as they invented the safety bicycle with two normal wheels it just boomed,” she said. “They sold 2,500 bicycles in a short period of time all over the state. Actually, Keene was very instrumental in developing these bicycles. Even women who normally wouldn’t get on those big giant bicycles would use the new ones.”

To add to the historical atmosphere at the event, Zip and Carol Zamarchi of Eliot, Maine, brought several antique penny farthing and wooden-wheeled bicycles for participants to pose with. The Zamarchis collect antique bicycles and own about 70 of them.

“I thought I’d bring a bunch of them down and let people get a look at the old bikes,” Zip Zamarchi said. “Most of these are early ones that had hard tires, before they made air tires. Eventually they came out with safety bikes that had air in the tires so you could have a softer ride on all those cobblestone streets.”

Dick Lemieux, board member for the Central New Hampshire Bicycling Coalition and one of the event organizers, said he has seen bicycling gain traction in Concord since he moved here in 1985.

“I’ve been a bicyclist for over 40 years, and now it’s become so popular there are hundreds who ride for either exercise or transportation, or both,” he said. “Since I’ve been living here, it’s gone from what I’d characterize as a rather unfriendly bike place to a very friendly bike place. Concord was even named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, a national group.”

The current popularity of bicycles, as well as the obvious technological developments in the bikes over the years, made them an ideal subject for the photo, Courtney said. The historical progress can be seen at a glance when comparing the antique bikes in the 1890s photo to today’s mountain bikes and spandex gear.

Debbi Roy and Kim Arndt came down to be a part of yesterday’s photo and described themselves as bike enthusiasts. They participate in a casual riding group that meets Wednesdays and Sundays but said their experience would be improved with bike paths added around Concord.

“The city is bike friendly, but I think it could be friendlier,” Arndt said. “The road is not just for automobiles, it’s for bikers and joggers too who are trying to get off the sidewalks.”

The new photo will be added to the time capsule that will be made to celebrate Concord’s 250th anniversary, said Brent Todd, Concord 250 president.

“It’s a great moment of history to show and it’s a great time to look back,” he said. “This is what we envisioned for Concord 250, to have folks in the community or groups have an inspiration, an idea, then be able to come to us and say they want to include this as part of the yearlong celebration.”

Todd, who also represents Ward 1 on the city council, said organizers were very pleased by the support.

“We’re hoping to have many more events like this in the year to come,” he said.

All participants who signed in at yesterday’s event can claim their complimentary print of the official photo by emailing concord250nh@gmail.com.

Support for the event came from Concord 250, the New Hampshire Historical Society, the Central New Hampshire Bicycling Coalition, S&W Sports and the Merrimack River Greenway Trail.

(Ann Marie Jakubowski can be reached at 369-3302 or ajakubowski@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @AMJakubowski.)

Legacy Comments3

All those cyclists . . . and not a damn penny of tax money we can get out of 'em in the way of license fees for their bikes which clog up our roadways.

Yes indeedy, HD...and that pedestrian re-enactor is jaywalking, too. That's gotta good for another $150!

*be good for...

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