Hobo Bicycles


In my recent real world and virtual wanderings I’ve become aware of a hitherto undiscovered or at least less-commonly-classified species of bicycle, that I like to term ‘the Hobo’.

You won’t find the Hobo bicycle in any product catalogue. No sir. It’s not a bicycle that your average marketing department could or would sell.

It’s not a touring bicycle in the traditional sense but it’s a bike that evokes thoughts of travel, independence and everyday wanderlust. If Huck Finn owned a bicycle, it would be a Hobo for sure. 

The Hobo bicycle cannot be created. Rather it grows out of the heady brew of usefulness, necessity, love and neglect. Beausage is its watchword; it knows not the life of the pampered Sunday Best bike.

The Hobo can be any kind of bicycle from any era. It’s classification comes from its level of cosmetic neglect and functional adornment. Indeed, it is almost beyond definition. You’ll know one when you see one.

I entertain thoughts of Resurrectio attaining Hobo status. However, one must realise that such status is largely beyond owner control. Besides, I polish her too much.

I’ve included an image of a bicycle that perhaps epitomises the Hobo better than any I’ve seen, Grant Petersen’s Rivendell Atlantis camping bicycle. An expensive bicycle with an exquisite frame and fork and some choice components. But proudly Hobo nonetheless.

Over the coming hours and days, I’ll post some more pics that define Hobo chic. Indeed, dear reader, feel free to send your Hobo bicycle pics to me at edmundallen@blueyonder.co.uk, with the word Hobo in the subject line.

Nb: image of Grant’s bicycle from the excellent blog http://pushingthepedals.com. No harm intended.

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8 thoughts on “Hobo Bicycles

  1. Chris Thompson

    I’m waiting for the day when my Raleigh’s paint loses its gloss, and the B17’s leather gets that weathered look. The Timbuk2 pannier will have to go (or will it?). And, the bar tape gets grimy.

    I do find it odd, though, that the long distance riders like really fat tires. I would think a 35mm would be a good compromise. Maybe the extra weight of baggage is the concern?

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      I like my 35mm tyres. Find them a good compromise. However for heavy loads you can’t beat a bigger cushion. Got my eye on a set of Nokian Ultra Tours in 40mm. They look robust.

  2. velovoiceblogspot

    Hi, I love the sentiment here but would just caution you on using “Hobo” to define a type of bicycle, however nebulous or conceptual its characteristics may be…. because there is a company in Coventry called Hobo Bicycles: http://www.hobobicycles.co.uk/Home.html. They make a range of lovely bicycles, have exhibited at various bike shows for a few years now, and have registered the words HOBO BICYCLES as a trade mark in the UK. Just sayin’…

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