A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, August 2, 2013

A Poor Man's Motorcyle

Kansas Motorcycle Museum

This is an item that one could purchase for their bicycle through Sears & Roebuck by mail order in the 1940's when you couldn't afford a full-on motorcycle.

If you look closely you can see a foot operated lever on this side of the bicycle.  It is connected to the coaster brake in the rear hub so you could stop the darn thing since you had to remove the pedal and crank assembly to mount the motor.  Normally you would reverse your pedal action to slow down and stop the bicycle.  On the opposite side there is another foot pedal which operated a clutch assembly (that round drum thing) so the bicycle wasn't in constant motion.  The sprocket on the rear wheel looks like what would have been the sprocket up front where the pedal cranks were.  Obviously the motor turns over at a higher RPM than one can pedal a bicycle so the gearing was reversed and you could ride at a reasonable speed.  A cable runs up and into the handlebar to a twist grip like a motorcycle which controls the throttle.
 Pretty clever all.

My only concern is your trouser leg getting caught in that whirring rope pulley on the motor.  
It'd rip your britches right off of you!


  1. Did you have this smooth add-on to your bike? Did you lose YOUR britches?

    We need the whole story here, John!



  2. I think I would need a stiff drink before getting on this thing - perhaps two, which I'm sure would help stability any.

  3. my brothers motorized one of their bicycles once with an old lawnmower engine. mounted it on the back fender.

  4. A friend here sells battery packs that go on a bicycle for electric power. Never examined one but they go pretty fast!

  5. I could have used one of those in my youth.
    Many memories of puffing and panting going up and down a couple of hills when I went to the store for my Mom.

    Oh yes, I saved you a little piece of the Peach coffee cake...(:0)

  6. Gum band around your pant leg.

    We still have them here in our area though maybe a little more advanced than this one.


  7. a unique mode of transport from yesteryear. I remember 'bicycle clips' to put around the ankles/pants, maybe they were stretchy? It could've been very dangerous as you say without something like that

  8. I cant tell if this is a good idea or a recipe for disaster!


    Cheers - Stewart M

    PS: It was wonderfully quiet when I took my pictures.


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