Bicycle enthusiasts to gather on Main Street to re-create historic Concord photo
While flipping through books at the Museum of New Hampshire History, Lorraine Courtney stumbled across a photo dating to about 1890 that shows a line of bicyclists posing on Main Street in Concord. They had gathered to commemorate the “bicycle boom” caused by the invention of safety bicycles with two small wheels to replace the penny farthing bikes with massive front wheels, which were named after two types of British coins that were proportional to the two unequally-sized wheels.
With the popularity of bicycling in Concord and current trend of photo-sharing on social media, Courtney was inspired to organize an attempt to re-create the photo featuring residents of today’s city. And at 7 a.m. tomorrow, anyone with a bike is invited to come to Main Street to be a part of it.
“Seeing the picture got me thinking about bicycles and events like the ride your bike to work day at the State House,” Courtney said. “I looked at the picture and thought, ‘Wow, that would be cool to redo and see what it would look like on Main Street today.’ ”
With the help of Concord 250, the nonprofit organization coordinating the city’s 250th anniversary celebration, organizers scheduled the event for early tomorrow morning while Main Street would still be blocked off for Market Days. They hope to entice residents to wake up early with the promise of coffee donated by The Works Bakery and Cafe, homemade baked goods and fruit, Courtney said. The street will be closed until 9 a.m. to regular traffic.
Preregistration isn’t required, and the first 82 attendees will receive a gift from S&W Sports and a free copy of the image from Concord Photo Services, said Kim Murdoch, director of Murdoch Social Capital and marketing coordinator for the event.
“The original photo has been blown up and closely examined, and we counted 82 people in the 1890 version,” Murdoch said. “So we’re hoping for at least 82 on Sunday, and so far our numbers are looking good. . . . We guarantee that everyone who comes will be in the photo, even if the numbers exceed that.”
Participants can wear anything for the photo, from 1800s-style dress to state-of-the-art cycling gear and everything in between, she said. A red tent will be set up in front of Lotions ’n Potions at 25 N. Main St., where cyclists can sign up tomorrow morning; they must bring their own bikes. The new photo will be placed in the time capsule that will be buried as part of the city’s 250th anniversary celebration, and it will also be featured in Courtney’s forthcoming book Legendary Locals of Concord.
Following the 7 a.m. event, bikers and bike enthusiasts are invited to the Merrimack River Greenway Trail at 6 Loudon Road to cheer on participants for the 9 a.m. Northeast Delta Dental Merrimack River Trail Triathlon that will be held there, Lemieux said.
He predicts the new photo will “far surpass” the 82 participant benchmark set by last century’s version.
“I’ve been at the Merrimack River Greenway Trail’s Market Days table this week, and we’ve had a lot of people stopping by and saying they plan to be there for the pose,” he said. “Between that and the RSVPs on the Facebook page for the event, we’re in good shape.”
Positions in yesterday’s photo will be arranged on a first come, first served basis, so those hoping to be shown in the foreground should arrive early, Murdoch said.
(Ann Marie Jakubowski can be reached at 369-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AMJakubowski.)