The Paris correspondent of the London Orchestra writes: " I see a playful statement made by one of the Paris correspondents of the daily press in an ultra-waggish mood, I presume to the effect that the Customs returns here show 40,-000, or a million francs, as the value of velocipedes exported to the United Kingdom in the course of a year. During some weeks past I have made bicycle statistics a particular study, and I have learned enough to convince me that the above figure must cover (with plenty to spare) the value of the total manufactures. Nine-tenths of these, to speak with moderation, are for home use ; and of the exports, by far the greater number go to the United States. Every manufacturer and manufacturers have sprung up like mushrooms has his hands full. Any man whose productions are trustworthy, has to enter his orders, and demand a month or six weeks' delay an elastic convention stretching indefinitely. " Velocipedes have become a rage. Everybody talks of them. Athletes and gymnasts led the way, and now you see them in the hands of old, young, serious, and gay. Employes de commerce ride down to business on them in the morning, and home at night. They stable them during the day in obscure ncoks of warehouses, in yards, or cupboards. They fly over the ground at race-horse speed, and their hobby horse takes no more expensive feed than the occasional goutte in the patent greaser. Thus they economize time and omnibus fares. The faculty have pronounced it a sanitary exercise, and lo ! the obese are seen in shoals on iron horses bringing, down the superfluous pound or so at eight miles an hour and they for the most part, like their patent wheels, provide their own grease an increasing supply that gathers in globules on their brows and streams down their glowing f acos. Ergo, the bicycle supersedes Banting, for of a surety it is more congenial to the /at to do deeds of daring in the pigskin than to go off their sugar. " The house of Michaux et Cie., of the Champs Elyseos, have already one hundred and fifty workmen going as hard as they can. Now Michaux, the king of the trade, can barely produce five a day. ' What!' cries the critical reader, ' one hundred and fifty workmen to make five velocipedes in a day; a very queer speculation for Michaux ' Not at all. His velocipedes sell for three hundred and fifty francs in the plainest form, to five hundred francs in polished iron, with the patent improvements. They are really models of perfection, but they cost as much as a horse. " They very politely told me ' Notts donnons delecons gva-tuites d tout acquereur,' and if I purchased an instrument of their London agent, I was welcome to my free lessons in their manege. They led me into a spacious riding school, I should say three or four hundred feet long by a hundred wide. It was a dazzling sight. You are in an ordinary warehouse, a door is opened, and a field of thirty huni ers bursts on your view, all dashing madly to cover! There are riders of every kind more tyres than proficients of course. One young man of twenty, or under, at once fixed inj attention ; a fearless fellow this that can perform more danng tricks than a Prussian rough rider. He starts it on at a desperate pace and leaps into the saddle as it files out again a run and he's up again en amazonc, working one pedal only eff again a run and he jumps back on to his knees and then lie's standing bolt upright, like a circus rider ; and all the while his velocipede is dashing away at the rale of a London Hansom. Ho slackens his space to breathe awhile, and then 'again he urges on his wild career.' He dashes full at the fence, and you shrink in your boots for a brief second, thinking he has lost command of his velocipede, but he turns off at aright angle when within an inch or less of the paling. I asked the gatekeeper of the manege who this was. ' It is the fils MIcliarux/ was the reply, ' and if he would only go to the Palais de Crystal, to run in the race on Easter Monday, your compatriots wouldn't stand a chance.'J Thus I had to kam the doings ot Sydenham from the Champ Ely sees. I learned too that Michaux meant to send over a first-rate mr.n Le was shown me and one second only to the daring son of the house, to uphold the honor of France in the contest at the Crystal alac3. It is a plucky thing to do, and (patriotism apart) I wish them every success. " 'You see that young fellow in the gray suit,'said the gatekeeper to me in a whisper, pointing out a tall, English-looking youth of fourteen ; ' that's the cousin of the Prince Imperial. The Prince has given him a velocipede lit for a gamin of eight years, and he has come to get it changed. That tall gentleman decor e, no beard, is Monsieur-----;' then sotto voce the name of a public character that lather astonished me ; ' that little disdainful-looking boy is a Spaniard, the Marquis de' (I forget what suppose we say Carrabbas). In fact, nobles, notables, and princes were plentiful in Michaux' manege, and there was proof positive that the highest in the land incline to the bicycle." One of the peculiarities of velocipedestrianism in this country is the large inventive talent displayed in framing names for it. Velocipedestrianiym, velocipedestrian, velocipedist, velocipeder, velocipedism, velocipedian, velocipeddler, veloci-pediana, are some of the names applied to riding, riders, and items on the velocipede. People who want to establish a velocipede rink can call it by any of the following names : Amphicyclotheatron, gyni-nacyclidium, velocipedroine, or bicyclocurriculum. Monocy cle, bicycle, tricycle, quadricycle, are terms used to indicate the number of wheels. But we have seen one name, that in classical beauty and richness of conception, seems to us to eclipse all competitors. The machine which rejoices in this appellation is a water velocipede, and it is called " Tachypo-doscaph." Greek scholars will understand this to mean " a swift foot-boat/' or, as Artemus Ward would have said, "words to that effect." In view of this amazing fertility of language would it not be well for some enterprising publisher to print a velocipedictionary ? Pickering's Velocipedist says: " We have had so many inquiries in regard to the monocycle, or one-wheel velocipede, that we have determined to get up one, which shall be clear of many of the objections which are urged against those we have so far seen. We shall have it completed in time to give an engraving of it in our next number. We think that we can dispense entirely with the use of not only the steering arms, but even the cranks, although it is worked by the feet; and we consider that th@ same machine will be adapted for either boys or men, short or tall persons and even ladies. It may be easily mastered (we think), and in case the rider falls, the machine will not fall on him ; in fact, it will not be capable of falling on its side ; and further, it will not infringe any known patent. Still further, it is not a wheelbarrow." Mr. Benton, master mechanic of the Terre Haute St. Louis Railroad, has invented a railroad velocipede, and has made passenger train time on the same, making about twenty miles an hour between Litchfield and St. Louis, a distance of fifty-five miles. An Ohio inventor also proposes to make a veloci* pede to run on one rail of a railroad, and thinks it can be propelled at a rate of a hundred miles an hour. Professor "Ab" Brady, of Hanlon's, announces that the challenge of Fred. Hanlon will be kept open only one week longer, and if not then accepted Fred, will claim the championship. It is stated that a velocipede clock has been invented, having numbered pins to correspond with the numbers of the velocipedes used in the schools and halls. These pins are stuck in holes drilled in the face of the clock, and prevent disagreements about time, as they indicate exactly when the time for which a machine taken has expired, and thus provide against slips of memory said to be common among velocipede learners.
This article was originally published with the title "Velocipede Notes"