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Something old is new again

This morning I stumbled across this item on the Hammacher Schlemmer website. It’s billed as “the world’s only four-wheeled rowing cycle.”

Well, it may be the only one now, but it’s certainly not the first. It reminded me instantly — and for the first time in more than sixty years — that when I was a little girl in the late ’40s and early ’50s, my best friend had one of these, It was smaller and closer to the ground, of course. And at the time it was called a push-me-pull-you. I thought the name was almost as much fun as the vehicle itself.

It really was novel, learning to pump with my arms and steer with my feet. Opposite normal bicycle moves. Great fun and I’d highly recommend it — if only it weren’t $3,000 now. But adult-sized, with hand brakes, and a sliding seat — maybe it’s worth it. Seems like it would be a great workout for seniors like me, with more stability than a bicycle. I suppose it depends on whether you want to work your upper body or your legs.

(Of course, it’s entirely possible that these things have been around all my life and I just haven’t come across them until now.)


I had to know I wasn’t imagining things so went looking for a picture. Finally found this image of a 1940s “Irish Mail.” No one seems to know why it was called that, but it was a version of this that I rode:

US

4 Comments »

    • There were no Big Wheels when I was young, but my son absolutely loved his. As a mom, I loved it because it was low to the ground and couldn’t tip over easily like a tricycle.

      The tricky thing about riding an Irish Mail was that as you pulled back, you had to maintain equal pressure on the front axle with your feet in order to keep going straight. Turning, of course, was achieved with unequal pressure.

"Nothing is more dangerous than ignorance and intolerance armed with power." ~ Voltaire

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