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A Moonlight Ride

May 16, 2011

On the evening of April 14, 1895 the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that “A number of the Brighton Boys mounted their wheels on last Thursday evening and made a moonlight run to Winton Place.”

I’ve made this run countless times. If one were to start at the Brighton Bicycle Clubhouse at 88 14th street, then they would proceed down Spring Grove Ave for about 6 miles to Winton Place, which is just beyond Spring Grove Cemetery. The road is mainly level and follows the perimeter of the city avoiding the hills. Chester Park is nearby – a destination for many of the road races run at that time, including the famous Poorman and Hanauer races. What I find to be interesting is that these fellows would choose to ride a dirt road in the dark with only the light of the moon to guide them.  Given that it was April, I’m sure they were all anxious to ride after a long winter. If one were to follow the established cycling route from downtown they would take the following route: Race St. to McMicken Ave, turning left past the incline plane to Clifton. At 1.4 miles they would have crossed the Mohawk Bridge over the canal to continue on Freeman and Central Ave. At Frenchman’s Corner they would have turned left to get onto Spring Grove Ave, which at the time was a toll road. I’m unsure of how toll roads worked in the 1890’s, but I would assume that on a moonlight run they could have skirted the toll. The 1892 guide to cycling routes in Cincinnati indicates that they would have been near Chester Park and something called “Griers,” which I assume to be a tavern or restaurant. Why else would some young restless boys ride 6 miles out of town?

 

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