Rocket-Powered Bicycles.

Updated: 15 Feb 2004
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In Germany in the 1920s and 1930s there was great interest in all kinds of rocket-propelled vehicles; cars, aeroplanes, boats, motorcyles and ice-skimmers. However, one of the strangest and least promising applications of rocket propulsion must be the bicycle.

In March 1931 Herr Richter attached twelve solid-fuel rockets to his bicycle, then made a run down the Avus race track in Berlin.

Left: Preparing the Rocket Bicycle.

The white box suspended from the crossbar holds the battery used to ignite the solid-fuel rockets, controlled by switches on the handlebars.

Left: Herr Richter sets off, accompanied by a car carrying a movie camera.

So far so good, but...

Left: The end of the Rocket Bicycle run.

Herr Richter can be seen picking himself out of a ditch at top right. Accounts vary as to what happened; according to one report, everything went well until he had reached 55 mph, when he lost control and was thrown from his machine. He was not seriously injured.

Left: Herr Richter cautiously approaches his fallen machine.

Explosions of these solid-fuel rockets were not unknown.

Left: A race between three Rocket Bicycles.

The well-known racing cyclists Max Hahn and Oskar Tietz, with an unknown partner, try out rocket propulsion on the Olympiabahn track in Berlin-Plötzensee, in the Autumn of 1929.

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