PHOTO: BYRON COMPANY (NEW YORK, N.Y.) / MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. 18.104.22.16803
So fierce was the competition for the 120,000 attendees at the 1896 Annual Bicycle Exhibition at New York's Madison Square Garden, some exhibitors went ballistic. The Columbia Bicycle Co., for example, drew crowds by attaching a 40-pound Colt automatic gun to the handlebars of one of its bikes. Foregoing such weaponization, the Fowler Cycle Manufacturing Co. exhibit shown here displayed a 13-foot-long bike that half a dozen could ride at once. Moreover, the company paid celebrity strongman Eugen Sandow for his pictorial endorsement to help convince Americans that bicycling was a manly pursuit.