John Keen's "Eclipse" Racing Ordinary 1879

John "Happy Jack" Keen 1849-1902 was an early cycling pioneer and is often overlooked by historians. Initially a carpenter by trade, Keen launched his career racing velocipedes in 1869. He raced and built his own brand of machines,the "Eclipse", throughout the 1870's. Keen, an early proponent of a larger driving wheel, helped to establish the high bicycle as the dominant design.The list of successful wins upon the Eclipse both by Keen and others is long. In 1876 Keen attended the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, USA, promoting cycling upon his Eclipse. He was considered the fastest rider on earth earning the title World Champion in 1878. In 1879/80, he traveled with Harry Etherington's Anglo-French team and introduced (high) bicycle racing to the USA. Keen is credited with many early cycling innovations one being rat trap racing pedals.Note the "bayonet" rear fork on this circa 1880 racing Eclipse. The pictured rear hub is not missing a spoke - this is an oil hole for lubrication.  Like James Starley, John Keen was a true renaissance man. Pictured is John Keen's patented Eclipse racer serial # 161 - 55 inch wheel

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