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Bike Week and Bike Month occur at different times, depending on where you live. If you’re in the US, bike month is May and Bike Week is the second or third week in May. If you’re in Canada, Bike month is from May 25 to June 25. In Europe, Bike Week takes place during the third week of June. But wherever you are, we are coming up to that time of year where the healthy and environmental benefits of cycling are heralded across the world.

So, I took a look at the Europeana Sounds site to see how bicycles are represented there. Here’s what I found…

To start off with, there’s a recording from the National Library of France from 1912: “Une promenade à bicyclette”, the story of a stroll in bicycle told in Sormonne patois.

And here’s an image of a tone arm of a Primaphone Gabinet Grand gramophone, also made around the same time of 1912:

Primaphone Cabinet Grand gramophone: soundbox | Edison Bell, The British Library CC BY

Primaphone Cabinet Grand gramophone: soundbox | Edison Bell, The British Library CC BY

In this photograph, you can see that the soundbox is connected to the tonearm by a piece of rubber tubing. In fact, for many years the rubber tubing for gramophones was supplied by the same outlets that supplied inner tubing for bicycles.

Fashion from "Tours in Galloway, etc. [Signed, W. M'C.]", The British Library, Public Domain Marked

Fashion from « Tours in Galloway, etc. [Signed, W. M’C.] », The British Library, Public Domain Marked

Bicycles crop up in many tunes – the most well-known is “Daisy, Daisy” – she who would look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle made for two.

 

B8098, Tekniska museet, Public Domain Marked

B8098, Tekniska museet, Public Domain Marked

Robyn Hitchcock performs the Pink Floyd song, “Bike”, which is the seventh track of many here.

Rather less well known is a folk song from Tobar an Dualchais about a bicycle puncture – Maggie Stewart talks to Stanley Robertson about how the song was composed in an interview from 1982.

And finally, Barry Morgan talks about his early life at school. He was riding a bicycle to school every day – 5 miles there and back. Barry’s interview is one of several comprising the collection “Speaking for ourselves: an oral history of people with cerebral palsy”.

by Tom Miles, The British Library