By the late 1890′s several of the clubs in town had permanent addresses. The Grand Opera House shown above was home to the Cincinnati Gymnasium Athletic Club (pending construction of their permanent location at the Cincinnati Athletic Club). The Grand Opera building was located at the corner of Vine and Longworth Streets.
The YMCA club was housed in their beautiful Richardsonian structure on the corner of Seventh and Walnut Streets. The club had an active cycling contingent well up into the 1900′s. They also had a summer club out on the banks of the Little Miami River just past Newtown.
Associated Cycling Clubs Clubhouse
The Associated Cycling Clubs Clubhouse was located at 119 East 9th Street. The space is now a parking lot – surprise. This building was built to provide a permanent location for several clubs, including The Porkopolis Wheelmen, The Athletic Cycle Club, America Bicycle Club, The Queen City Cycling Club, and unattached riders who paid 75 cents a month dues.
Here’s another view of the club with members lounging on the stoop seen above:
Cincinnati Bicycle Club
The Cincinnati Bicycle Club clubhouse, here shown in an Enquirer sketch from 1897 was located on 7th Street near the corner of Elm Street. By looking at the front stoop I have to assume that the wheel room was off the side or from the alley.
And of course, our friends the Brighton Bicycle Club in front of their clubhouse 88 West 14th Street (just to the side of Music Hall):
In 1900 the rage for racing cyclists was motorpacing. The advent of motorcycles as pace vehicles led in short order to the banked tracks we now associate with velodromes. With a motorized pace vehicle a cyclist could achieve remarkable speeds over distance. The image above, from the May 20, 1900 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer, is interesting because the motor bike is a tandem. Cincinnati’s wheelmen were early adopters of the motorcycle and many became prominent dealers in automobiles at the turn of the Century.
Miles from home…
Great photo from the Kackley archives in the Kentucky Historical Society’s collection.
A group of cyclists out of Maysville rest on the side of the road.
Ohio’s famous orphan sharpshooter lived in Cincinnati for a time in the 1880′s. It was at a local sharpshooting contest that she met her future husband Frank Butler after beating him in a target shooting contest. Born Phoebe Mozee in Darke County Ohio (Northwest of Dayton on the Indiana border), she took the stage name Anna, or Annie Oakley. Using Cincinnati as their home base, the sharpshooting team of Frank and Annie toured the country with the Sells Circus – and later with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show with an act that gave trick shooting exhibitions. As part of her act Annie would ride her bicycle and shoot clay pigeons thrown into the air by assistants.
She designed her riding costume herself; hooking her skirt to her leggings so it wouldn’t ride up as she pedaled her bike with both hands on her rifle shooting targets. Her first wheel was a 35 pound woman’s “Premier” bicycle that she bought in Glasgow. The press began calling her the “Little Cycling Sure Shot.” She took to riding enthusiastically – riding errands in London, touring in the morning when she had the time, and planning tricks for her show that would incorporate her bike. When she was living near New Jersey neighbors described seeing her practicing shooting targets from her bicycle as she road around in fields.
It was rumored at the time that she was planning a tour a-wheel from New York to Chicago, but there’s no record of her making this trip.
Even with her travels, she remained attached to the Queen City. I’ve not been able to find a record of her riding our roads with her bicycle, but the city boasted several women’s cycling clubs (the largest was the Queen City Bicycle Club) and I would like to think that she explored the countryside of Northern Kentucky or Hamilton County with some of these ladies when she was in town. It’s certain that many of her old neighbors traveled up to Chicago to see her bicycle trick shooting at the World’s Fair.
Cracker Jacks pausing from their training at Chester Park in Cincinnati for a bit of publicity. Racing at the park was one of the most popular spectator sports of the 1890′s. Professionals came from Chicago, the East Coast, and Indianapolis to race for a season before heading home in the winter.
It’s interesting that in 1896, when this picture was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, that racing kits were very similar to those of today; knee length cycling shorts and wool jerseys with team colors.