What is a "BICYCLE MAIL"?
“…… Bicycle Mail describes a specific category of Special Delivery, where mail was delivered by bicycle and is identified by stamp and or postal mark used. …… In some countries Bicycle Mail became more prevalent during periods of railroad strikes to keep local mail routes active. It was also used as an alternative to horse and foot delivered mail in rural areas……. Some Bicycle Mail was used for local routes in an unofficial capacity…….”
Here are some examples:
Coolgardie, Western Australia
Ministerial mail, France
Privat Mail, Great Britain
In these examples the transportation by bicycle is clearly evident. From Coolgardie there even exist appropriate stamps showing a bicycle.
There are also so-called bicycle mails, whos stamps have no obvious reference to a transport by bicycle, but nevertheless are very famous: for example the unauthorized POSTES MOULINS ones:
Timaru, New Zealand
From other issues it is repeatedly told that there existed a transport by bicycle, e.g. these marmalade glass stickers
with the following description in internet auctions:
But this story is definitely made up: A horse cart was used (see Rudolf Otto, Gemeinde-Botenpost Vaduz-Sevel 1918; Edition 1966, page 19 or BS magazine no. 4, page 24).
There exist detailed articles and even books about the different bicycle mails. The book "Le Cycle et la Poste" by Jean-Pierre Mangin / René Geslin gives a good overview of this subject, and it is up to you to decide whether to add issues of SABE (Societa Anonima Barbera Editore), Coralit, Castiglione d ' Intelvi, Hammonia, …… to your collection or not. For example such an expressionless postal card printed by the company Hammonia (Chemnitz/Germany) in 1894:
Today, Deutsche Post also uses hundreds of thousands of bicycles to deliver letters. Nevertheless this is no reason yet to collect all issues of the Deutsche Post. You can rather collect the cancellations of these licensed bicycle couriers:
Although many so-called "bicycle mails" are not included in any mayor stamp catalog, they are very popular with collectors and partly achieve considerable prices at auctions.
A general answer to the question"What is a BICYCLE MAIL?" cannot be given. Perhaps the above remarks nevertheless help to get a feeling for the problem answering this question. It always stays up to you, what you like to collect and what not.