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The Golden Age of Cycling

May 6, 2014


The Golden Age of Cycling

Great article from the Chicago Tribune on the Golden Age of Cycling.

Vintage Cycling Photos from the Chicago Tribune

May 6, 2014

People gather to watch a bicycle race in the community of Englewood in Chicago, circa 1897.

Great gallery from the Chicago Tribune of vintage cycling photos.

One Hundred and Eighteen Years Later

March 7, 2014



Here’s and interesting item from Eh Bay: a One Mile Novice gold ribbon medal from 1896 for the Hanauer Race.  This ribbon was won by George N. Kirn of Cincinnati. The race was held on August 18, 1896 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Carthage. There were over 500 wheels counted at the race track for the different events, which included professional racers and women’s events. These races were the main attraction of the fair, with record attendance for the races that started at 2:00 in the afternoon and continued throughout the day. Otto Barth, an old Brighton club member was a referee.

A Dangerous Animal

March 5, 2014

From Referee and Cycle Trade Journal on July 27, 1894:

The runaway horse is scarcely more terrible
than the runaway bicycle, says the Cincinnati
Times-Star. A pretty boy was carefully pedaling
down Sycamore hill this morning behind a cable
car when, in attempting to get around the car, he
lost his balance, and, quick as lightning, the ma-
chine threw him to the ground, then sprang to its
tires and began terrorizing the neighborhood. It
first dashed madly at the cable,car, but missed it,
and, getting in front, sprang down the steep grade
at the rate of four miles a minute, its pedals flut-
tering like fly-wings-simply a blur. When a
horse runs away it may be stopped with a bullet
or at least slowed up by people waving to it, but
you can’t wire a bicycle or subdue it with guns.
Ten seconds later‘ the machine was lying, a heap
of rubbish, against the canal bridge pier and a
runaway milk wagon, a crushed market basket,
titty drivers trying to quiet their terrified horses
and at least a hundred people choking for breath,
were strewn along its wake.


The Brighton

March 5, 2014



In 1893 J.E. Poorman advertised his “Brighton” bicycle in The Referee and Cycle Trade journal. He was for a time a member of the Brighton Bicycle Club, so it’s fitting that he branded his bicycle after the club name. 

Chicago Riders Visit the Queen City

March 5, 2014


Snapshots of the Chicago Cycling Club’s visit to Cincinnati in May of 1896. Scenes include the road past Carthage (now Spring Grove and Vine Streets), canal boats, and Chester Park Track. Willie Windie, or Windisch as he was christened, along with other members of the Brighton Bicycle Club, entertained their Chicago friends each year on their annual visit. They would tour the Windisch-Muhlhauser brewery at the corner of Central Parkway and Liberty Streets and then banquet at the Gibson or Highland House.  According to the caption, this year they were entertained at the Country Club before spending the day at Chester Park.  Presumably their visits were to train on the hills of the Queen City and race in the annual Poorman road race, but surely the good food and beer were additional incentives to make the trip.

Their trip to Cincinnati in 1895 was reported in Bearings magazine, here transcribed:

Chicagoans Visit Cincinnati

Bearings May 3, 1895

Cincinnati was invaded by a crowd of Chicagoans last Sunday. It has been the custom for several years for the Chicago Cycling Club to call on General Poorman, William Windisch, and the latter’s brewery, and to ride from Hamilton over the Poorman road race course. This year there were twenty in the party and a hungry crowd it was that landed in Hamilton Sunday morning. After a hearty breakfast Eddie Poorman, son of the general, started to escort the Chicagoans into town. But there was a Thistle tandem along and when it went to the front to escape the dust every one began to look for a scorch. The pace was gentle at first, but gradually grew hotter. At the end of six miles Bliss Levy, Winship, Nicolet, and Hovey were the only ones hanging to the tandem. Three miles farther on Levy and Hovey ran into the wrong path and lost their holds. About a mile farther the tanem team started to sprint up a long hill. Winship then dropped. At the top Bliss quit and the tandem then jumped Nicolet, the sole survivor, and finished the course alone.

Levy and Hovey, by changing pace, caught Nicolet and the trio finished after the tandem. The rest of the party came straggling into Weber’s pavilion, some of them not getting there until noon time. Several of them had disabled machines. After dinner the party started for Mr. Windisch’s brewery and in a sprint with the tandem Nicolet took a hard fall, scraping his forehead badly. Levy ran over him. After a thorough inspection of Mr. Windish’s establishement the party visited the rooms of the Brighton Club, leaving there for supper and the train.

The Chicagoans on the trip were J.P. Bliss, A.J. Nicolet, W.C. Thorne, G.A. Thorne, H.R. Winship, James Levy, Frank Hovey, M.G. Matteson, Henry Elliott, J.H. Kelly, H.A. Thiede, D.E. Cook, T. Ritchie, J.H. Hodges, H.J. Jacobs, E.G. Gustafson, N.H. Van Sicklen, C.W. Shattuck, G.K. Barrett, and C.G. Sinsabaugh.

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March 4, 2014

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