Rüsselsheim is known for cars nowadays. But that was only Opel’s second career. Way back in 1886, the first penny farthing rolled out of the Rüsselsheim factory. Two years later, the Opel bicycles were so popular that the bicycle association „Radfahrer-Verein Opel Rüsselsheim 1888 e.V.“ was founded. And in the 1920s, Opel was – go figure! – the largest bicycle manufacturer worldwide.
The founder, Adam Opel, had five sons who served as the best PR professionals for their Dad’s business by racing his bikes and winning, in toto, over 560 races. Sometimes, though, they simply rode for pleasure (and PR, alike) on the special custom-made
So it was a matter of respect towards the bicycle tradition of the area to ride the Rüsselsheim tour on today’s European Day of the Bicycle. And sure enough, my 1997 Lemond Tourmalet looked like a youngster among all those well-polished and very apparently truly loved beauties of the 20s and 30s.
This factory was organized as a wholesale cooperative, supporting the idea of the workers and socialists of providing the working class with a means of transportation and mobility at an affordable cost. Something the Nazis didn’t like too much and made an end to by disappropriation as one of their first actions after coming into power, in 1933.
Understandably, the Retro Pedal tour participants seemed to favor a different, earlier time of the Opel (and other) bicycles, namely the first two decades of the 20th century, as put on display by most participants cycling dresses. With only some accessoires dating even further back:
Historic picture of the Opel Bros. taken from Rüsselsheim-Ruderklub 08 e.V.© Copyright 2013 bxa, All rights Reserved. Written For: bxa's Greetings from Germany