Before the bicycle computer, there was the cyclometer for keeping track of mileage logged on a bike. The mechanical odometer for cyclists was common by the 1930s, and stuck around until things started going digital in the early ’80s. Mike Barry Sr. has a few cyclometers in his collection, such as the King of the Road by Lucas (also the name of a bicycle lamp by the same manufacturer), a pulley-driven unit by Huret and a Veeder. “The Veeder ones were really good-quality,” he said.
Veeder was a Hartford, Conn.-based company. The cyclometer pictured has a fairly simple design. It attaches near the hub and requires another piece that is affixed to a spoke. As the spoke piece comes around, it ticks over a small wheel on the side of the cyclometer. The number displayed on this Veeder represents miles, not kilometres.
The company produced various models of cyclometer, including the Trip, which could keep track of the total miles logged on a bike, as well as those ridden each ride via a tripometer that could be reset. An old ad by Veeder reads: “The Cyclist without a Cyclometer is almost as much ‘at sea’ as the ship without a log. It gives accurate information of distance traveled that is always useful and often of vital importance; besides the constant satisfaction that every rider finds in reading the exact record of his cycling achievements.” Sounds a bit like Strava, but analog.— MP