i wanted to use this picture (from the national archives of singapore) to show that in the past the lighting for bicycles was generated by a dynamo, usually located near the front wheel of the bicycle.
then the registration plate on the bicycle caught my attention. so, i will talk a bit about the registration of bicycles.
some bicycle owners have recently clamoured for the registration of bicycles to be re-introduced. registration of bicycles in singapore was stopped in 1981. the registry of vehicles (rov) decided to do away with registration because the $5 fee was not enough to cover the adminstrative cost. the main reason given for scrapping the registration was that only 2% of stolen bicycles were recovered.
registration of bicycles in singapore had been done before the war and it resumed after the war. during the japanese occupation, there was also some form of register for bicycle owners. at one time, owners had to renew the licence on a yearly basis, and when the ownership was transferred, a small fee was also charged for the new registration.
(mcs stands for municipal council of singapore)
this bottle dynamo or sidewall dynamo, which was affixed very close to the wheel, usually the front wheel, could be engaged by depressing a lever or catch. when engaged, the roller would be in contact with the tyre.
when the wheel was in motion and the dynamo roller was engaged, electricity was generated as the tyre spun the roller. this would translate into light for the headlight of the bicycle. the faster the wheel spun, the brighter would be the light.
however, even at its brightest, it was not very bright because the voltage was rather low. the bulb tended to blow once in a while, so it was necessary to have replacement bulbs on stand-by.
when engaged, however, there was some resistance, so the rider would have to pedal slightly harder than when the dynamo was disengaged.
this ring-lock used to be a standard item on ordinary bicycles in the past. when the lock was effected, the shaft would come between the spokes of the wheel. it would immobilise the rear wheel to prevent it from being moved. it was not a high security kind of lock as it could be broken or unlocked without the need for great force.
i had thought that these two items - the dynamo and the ring-lock - on the normal bicycle had gone out of fashion until i saw them on several bicycles in sweden.
in singapore, these two items are like antiques. i have not seen them around for a long time.