Rube Goldberg's bike might've been the Hirondelle Rétro-Directe with its convoluted chain and two hubs. Featured in the book The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, the bike was built before rear derailleurs were commercially available, writes Fat Cyclist (although it includes the first commercial front derailleur). Here's the hitch:
But people still wanted to go up hills. The Hirondelle's solution was to give you two gears in the back. Simply pedal normally for the higher gear.(Via The Daily Irrelevant.)
And what do you do when it's time to climb? Pedal backwards.