Bike Boats at Hersheypark

Hersheypark had a variety of water attractions on Spring Creek over the years. While the park no longer has any (since the end of the 2006 season), this was still a mainstay for many of the years the park has been open.

In 1931, Hersheypark installed a new boat ride called Bike Boats. These were promoted as being a popular ride from Europe. An example of a bike boat can be seen in this stock photo.

1931-07-10 Harrisburg Telegraph (p13)
Hersheypark advert featuring the Bike Boat From Europe (France, specifically). Published in the Harrisburg Telegraph, July 10, 1931, on page 13.

The image in the advertisement above originates from a photo of a Bike Boat being displayed at the 1930 Los Angeles Boat Show. You can especially see the similarity in the edge of the pool, as well as there being four flags on the Bike Boat.

1930-04-11 The Cincinnati Enquirer (p10)
A photo from the LA Boat Show display of the Bike Boat – the device’s debut in the United States. The person in the photo is Kay Miller. Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer, April 11, 1930, on page 10.

Hersheypark purchased the Bike Boats from Bike Boat, Ltd., a New York City-based company. Bike Boats, Ltd., purchased the rights to sell the Bike Boat from Cycles Peugeot, a French manufacturer of bicycles and motorcycles.

A bike boat can be seen in a Curt Teich postcard of Spring Creek.

[1935] - 5A-H241 - Canoeing and Boating
Curt Teich postcard from 1935, Canoeing and Boating on Spring Creek, #44 in the series of Hersheypark.
[1935] - 5A-H241 - Canoeing and Boating [crop]
When you take a closer look, you can see at least three Bike Boats, one prominently.

Other Curt Teich postcards has a Bike Boat in it. These two are from approximately 1940.

1940 ~ Miniature Railroad and Lake
A circa 1940 Curt Teich postcard featuring the Miniature Railroad and boating on Spring Creek. A Bike Boat can be seen on the far right.
1940 ~ Miniature Railroad and Lake - Bike Boat
Here’s a closer look at the Bike Boat from this postcard. You can see at least one flag is on the boat.
1940 ~ Sunken Garden - Electric Fountain
This Curt Teich postcard features the Electric Fountain, the main attraction in the Sunken Garden. On the right side of the Fountain, you can see a Bike Boat.
1940 ~ Sunken Garden - Electric Fountain - Bike Boat
Here’s a closer look at the Bike Boat.

The concept of the ride was pretty much having a bike mounted on water skis. You could propel yourself by peddling and control direction by turning the handlebars. The boats were said to be stable enough on the water to not flip over, so this was a safer option for those concerned about boating on the creek.

Aside from the canoes and rowboats the park had, the Bike Boats were also complimented by another boat ride, Custer Specialty Company Paddle-About, in about 1936. By the end of World War II, it appears that both the Bike Boats and Paddle-About rides were retired, with canoes being the only boats seen in post-war photos of Spring Creek.

Hersheypark wouldn’t install another kind of paddle-boat ride until 1982, when the park installed the upcharge ride Paddleboats.

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  1. Pingback: Bike Boat | Big Water Sensation of 1930 | The Amusement Parkives

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