Recently I was contacted by the great-grandson of William Windisch, who was a founding member of the Brighton Bicycle Club, and he shared with me some amazing photos. I am researching them at the moment, but wanted to share these two images of the old clubhouse down on West 14th Street next to Music Hall. The photo shows the club assembling for a run up to the zoo on Vine Street in the spring of 1894. This was an annual event hosted by the club. They often invited riders from out of town to join them for a day of touring the Queen City. The Cincinnati Historical Society has a similar image, but it was taken before or after this one.
Here’s the image in the Cincinnati Historical Society’s collection:
Here the group is assembled at the front of the clubhouse, dressed in their uniforms, prior to the run. The note at the foot of the photo is in Willie Windisch’s hand.
I was cycling on the West Side this past Sunday and flatted on Harrison. After patching the tire and filling it with “fresh country air” I started off again. About a mile outside of Miamitown I flatted again (the roads are terrible. Still!). This time I had to walk into town. My luck was with me because West Trails Bike Shop was open and I was able to get settled. Hanging in their shop is a photo that I’ve not seen before of a party of wheelmen resting after their ride into town. This photo is intriguing on a number of levels – There’s a mixture of uniforms, so this is a group of friends from different clubs, there’s a young girl peeping out the window, and there’s some variety in the wheels – including a safety bike for good measure. This is an undated photo, but perhaps with a little sleuthing more can be discovered about it. Anyway, it was interesting to see the folks from a hundred years ago with their wheels. Clearly they were enjoying themselves. When I set out again towards Oxford I felt like I was in good company.
Here’s the Brighton Bicycle Club posing for a group photo on the steps of the Butler County Courthouse, which still stands in Hamilton County. The club would frequently make the trip out to Hamilton because both Eddie Muhlhauser and Willie Windisch’s families had hops farms close by. Here’s the view today:
Charles F. Williams, who in 1910 was elected the head of Western & Southern Life Insurance Company in Cincinnati, was a member of the Porkopolis Wheelmen and made several century runs (100 mile rides) in his day. He was elected Secretary of the Associated Cyclers Clubhouse in 1896.
He had an impressive collection of artwork, which included works by Sargent, Duveneck, and Van Dyke (among many others). It was said of him that throughout his life he ate simple fare and was kind to his workers.
Here he is leaning over the porch rail of his father’s home in Mount Adams, rallying his club for a run in the country.
In 1894 the Dunlop Tire Company surprised visitors to the Springfield Ohio Wheelmen’s meet with their “giraffe safety” piloted by Lem Smith. Bearings magazine wrote: “Smith rode the abortion through the streets of Springfield, guiding in and out for carriages and crossing slippery tracks with impunity.”