Popular Science Magazine, 1934
“A bicycle without pedals, invented by two Chicago men, is designed to operate on body motion alone. Standing on a springy footboard, a rider propels the strange vehicle simply by raising and lowering his body. The rear wheel of the bicycle has its axle mounted off center. A down-ward thrust of the legs tends, after the bicycle has been placed in motion, to pull this axle down to its lowest position, thus causing
the wheel to revolve in a forward direction. Momentum returns the axle to its highest position and the procedure is repeated. The up and down flexing of the footboard, once the rider gets the knack, can be coordinated with the movement of the rear axle to make operation easier. After a little practice, the inventors claim, a rider can make fifteen miles an hour. The exercise is said to be very beneficial to health.”
The Ingo Bike in Popular Culture
Evidence of the important place the Ingo Bike once held in American culture is its appearance in the 1939 Three Stooges feature “Yes, We Have No Bonanza”. Although Curly Howard is considered a “fat guy” notice how easily he vaults that railing. He reminds me a bit of Bert Assirati.
A thorough article on the subject is The Incredible Ingo, by Mary Miller, from which the following is excerpted:
The Ingo-bike was invented by two brothers, Phillip and Prescott Huyssen, during the early 1930’s. Phillip Huyssen rode from Chicago to Miami, Florida, in April, 1935. The trip took him 12 days, and on his arrival he was officially greeted by the mayor of Miami. Six Ingos were shipped to Florida for publicity on his arrival, and many people learned to ride there. This ride also led to the Ingo being featured in the Miami Chamber of Commerce promotional magazine. The inventors weren’t the only people who used the Ingo for long-distance travel. A 113-mile long Ingo-bike derby, running from Los Angeles to the Desert Circus Day Celebration in Palm Springs, California, was planned both to prove the practicality of the Ingo for traveling long distances, and to demonstrate the ease which which it could be used for sport and to improve one’s health.
Unfortunately, the Ingo was only manufactured for a short time. Production stopped in 1937, when the building the Ingo was made in was converted into an army shell factory. Then World War II broke out, and the Ingo idea was side-tracked.