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February 25, 2012

In the years following the cycling boom years of the 1880’s and 1890’s, former members would get together for annual dinner parties. At these events they would review slide presentations by Otto Burger, sing old songs, and eat heartily (as well as enjoy a drink before prohibition.)

The first record of a reunion of the Brighton Boys is found in Bassett’s Scrapbook from 1910. He writes that the annual reunion of the Brighton Bicycle Club of Cincinnati took place at the Gibson House on Saturday, February 19. On this occasion Harry Ellard was toastmaster (at the time he was well established in his role as the cowboy “Poet Lariat” and lived for much of the year in Colorado in an effort to treat his tuberculosis).  Bassett notes that “The date of organization places the club in second place in the history of the wheel.”  The Boston Club is on the books as having been established on Febraury 11, 1878.

The invitation for the 1931 event included a poem by Burger, Bumiller, and Emil Schmitt that waxed nostaligic for the early days:

“When doctor’s condemned water unfit to drink

and Red Lights were not used for Traffic Blinks,

When Lion Brew was a beverage aged in wood

and not made from the stuff mother now brings

home from the neighborhood.

Oh, take me back just for tonight

To those good Old Days you and I rode a Bike,

When joys and pleasure were unconfined

By edicts of Volstead, Wheeler and their kind.

Oh, take me back just for tonight

To mingle with the Old Pals that rode a Bike,

Relating adventures of the Road and Track

That merit recording in History’s Almanac.

Oh, Take me back, just for tonight

To join the chorus in Songs of the Bike,

Raising high our Cups of foaming glee

for tomorrows Sun we might never see.

Oh, Take me back just for tonight


3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2012 7:11 pm

    If the San Francisco Club was established on December 13, 1878, then wouldn’t the Brighton Bicycle Club be first since the date of its founding was April 11, 1878? I’d be interested to know when Bassett thought the club was formed.

    • September 4, 2012 7:32 pm

      The Boston Club was formed on February 11, 1878 (according to the NY Times “The Bittersweet History of Bike Clubs” January 19, 2010). Basett and his readers would have known this. I think that what he is trying to say is that the San Francisco club was formed afterwards. I should clarify this in the blog post because it’s understandably confusing. You can read the original on the Internet Archive here:

      • September 7, 2012 12:28 pm

        Ahh, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the link, too. I wanted to check it out.

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