The Grampian Transport Museum (GTM) in Alford is currently displaying a chronology of the cycle leading up to its bicentenary in 2017.
The sequence of historical machines started with a replica of the first cycle as invented by Baron Von Drais in 1817 and nicknamed, ‘Hobby Horse’ in Britain. Unfortunately a month ago, the replica, a loan item, had to go elsewhere and so the museum’s exhibition had a gap, and to be missing the first machine was a real setback.
Curator Mike Ward said: “Hobby Horses are the rarest of all cycles, with only three genuine examples known in Scotland.
“A few days ago, however, fate and coincidence combined to give a solution. A visitor to the museum mentioned a curious old cycle in the Fraserburgh area and on investigation it turned out to be a Hobby Horse.
“This machine has been in the same family for a least three generations and has been expertly identified as an ‘artisan’ example - in other words a local copy of the machines that were to be seen mostly in aristocratic hands further south.
“It is thought to have been made in the Kintore area in about 1820. Certainly the owning family have had it since way back into the 19th century and have very early photos of it being used.
“There is also a family story of a ride from Kintore to Inverness to collect a heavy sack - well it would have been easier than walking!
“The cycling world is busy absorbing news of this great rarity, a fourth genuine Hobby Horse, that arrived just in time for the first day of the museum’s 2012 open season last Sunday.”
Despite its simple form and drab slate/linseed grey paint finish, all the staff at the GTM agree the ancient Hobby Horse is a real star exhibit in the 2012 exhibition.
For more information on the Grampian Transport Museum and its attractions and open days this year, visit www.gtm.org.uk or call (019755) 62292.