Oh Maryland!

How did the internet carry me here, today?  I was looking at a very cool antique Stearns shaft driven bicycle at Mike’s photo site and a commenter asked about a shaft driven bicycle maker in Holliston, Massachusetts.  Searching for shaft drive bicycle makers brought me to Mt. Airy Bicycles in Maryland.  What a shop!  A couple of shops, actually.  While they don’t manufacture shaft driven bicycles (they sell and service new and used bicycles), they have a Rambler Chainless for sale.  Looking handsome at 110 years old, don’t you think?

I had the most fun with their excellent search feature.  It is like a used bicycle genie granting (most every) wish.  Rub the bottle and ask for Bridgestones and you are offered a couple of dozen.  Rivendells tickle your fancy?  Three available  and you can see many more that have already sold.  A Fat Fuck’n Chance?  Why not?  They claim to have over  3,500 new and used bicycles.  I am speechless (but can still type).

If I lived in College Park or Mt. Airy, would I have more bicycles or fewer?  I can’t say for sure, but knowing I can get a 56cm Bridgestone tourer helps me relax.  I don’t need to buy the next one that comes up on eBay if I feel relatively sure that when (if ever) I “need” one, Mt. Airy may have one.  I hope I get there in person someday for some heavy browsing.  

Back to the Stearns Chainless shown by Mike.  Manufactured by E.C. Stearns Bicycle Agency, Syracuse, New York (at one time the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world with 3,500 employees).  My favorite advertisement (from here).

The Chainless originally sold for $75.  The Special, offered at $125, weighed only 20 pounds.  They also produced a Light Roadster.  Is this where Mike picked up the name for his model?  If you care to learn more about the company (and the risks facing centurions pedaling in red petticoats), be here.

That’s enough of that.  Be well.


5 responses to “Oh Maryland!

  1. Hey Randy! This is Aaron Stearns, the guy who bought the Nishiki at your garage sale several years ago. That bike is now being ridden in Toronto by a good friend of mine. E.C. Stearns is my distant relative, and that is his defunct bicycle business! We have a ‘Ride a Stearns and be content.’ poster in my living room. Be well, man!

    • Thanks for taking the time to say hello! I remember you well, and now I learn you are bicycling royalty! What an amazing business your relative put together. Don’t you wish you could travel back in time to see the bicycles rolling off the line? Actually, I think assembly lines came along later, so production would have been less linear–probably more fun for the workers. Are any of the original factory buildings still standing in Syracuse?

      Glad to hear the Nishiki is still rolling along, too. I want them all to live forever.

      Hope you are well. Have a good Thanksgiving.

  2. Alberto Martinez

    Hi! I live in Syracuse, NY. The Stearns factory is gone. It was on Oneida Street right next to Onondaga Creek. There is a Byrne’s Dairy plant on the site. In 1899 E. C. Stearns biult a steam powered pace vehicle which was used to pace Marshal Major Taylor who rode a Stearns Sager Gear chainless that did the paced mile in 1:21. If I’m not mistaken this record was established on a 1/3 mile velodrome track.

  3. Woo If this is on sale, I’m interested haha…

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