Absurd patent of the month: the rowing bicycle (1900)

Le vélo à rames de Louis S. Burbank
Publié le 26 September 2022

This month, we present this funny velocipede patented in 1900 by an American, Louis S. Burbank (US patent 642,544), which does not seem to have had much success and legacy.

As you can see in the image, it differs from conventional bicycles by the absence of pedals in the usual place and by the addition of a mechanism partly actuated using the arms. The inventor’s idea? Provide the user with a way to practice a total sporting exercise like rowing… on a bicycle! Thus, the cyclist can work the arms muscles just like those of the legs and develop beautiful biceps.

As for the practicality, comfort and safety of such a means of transport, we’d have a burning desire to test this invention… preferably on a flat and soft ground, as we don’t know yet how the brakes work (if there are any)!


Absurd patent of the month: the rowing bicycle (1900)

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