CHAT ABOUT THE CYCLE. - The San Francisco Call, 08 Aug 1892
A Wheelman's Journey Through Four Counties.
Announcement of Races by the Alameda Club. - A Run to Mill Valley - The San Jose Track.
"An 'outing on a bicycle! That had always been my ambition; and this summer I determined to gratify my long-cherished desire," said B. D. Bent of the Bay City Wheelmen last night. "For once, at least," he continued, "the best-laid plans of man did not go wrong, and I have just returned from a 200-mile ride over one of the most picturesque portions of the State. Starting by an early train about 10 days ago I reached the quiet little town of Calistoga about 11 o'clock A. M. After an hour's delay for dinner my long trip on the wheel really began. The first stage of the journey was the worst. The St. Helena Mountain loomed up before me, and after pushing my wheel until tired nature craved relief I succumbed to the inevitable and dismounted. Then came a long and weary climb, which, however, was rendered endurable and even pleasant at times by a grand panorama of hills, vales and wooded canyons. At last the summit was reached and then all my weariness was forgotten in the thrill of excitement which I experienced during the splendid coast to Middleton, having beaten the time of the stage from Calistoga. After a short rest I went on to Harbin Springs, where I retired and slept as only a worn-out wheelman can.
"The second day's run was the shortest on my trip. In the morning I rode back to Middleton, where I spent over an hour participating in the joy of the people so plainly exhibited on the arrival of the stages bringing visitors from the outside world. The next hour and a half was devoted to spinning over a good road to Anderson's Springs, where I took a long rest, met some jolly good people and enjoyed another good night's sleep.
"Early on the morning of the third day I started for Seigler, which I reached before nightfall, stopping at Adams and Howard on the way.
"The fourth day was one long to be remembered, the route leading me by way of Kelseyville and Soda Bay to Seaport through the beautiful valley bordering Clear Lake. The next day was devoted to aquatic pleasure. Leaving my cushion-tired Swift in care of a party of friends I sailed down to Soda Bay and back again after lunch.
"My sixth day's journey was a long one, but in every respect delightful. I made the whole distance to Ukiah and Vichy Springs, the intermediate stopping places being Upper Lake, Saratoga Springs and Blue Lake. The next morning I rode from Vichy back to Ukiah, where I took advantage of a convenient train which carried me to Hopland. After a short run out to Duncan Springs I again did the train act, and took life easy until Cloverdale was reached, arriving at 2:30 P. M. and starting immediately for the Geysers. Here's where I made the mistake. I should have put the day in on the wheel, the roads being good, and remained over night at Cloverdale. Then the ride to the Geysers could have been made in the cool morning hours and not in the heat of the day, as was the case. That sultry afternoon will not soon be forgotten. The thermometer was surely geared above 100.
"The Geysers were reached at 6:30 P. M. and I concluded to remain there over Sunday. Profiting by my Saturday's experience I started out at 4 A. M. on Monday, passing through Pine Flat, noted for its fine quality of root beer, and on to Calistoga, the place of beginning.
"During my nine days' absence I had covered about 200 miles, seen much of four counties and gained an intimate knowledge of human nature in some of its peculiar phases. Everywhere I was well received and treated with great hospitality after the ice had once been broken. But in a few places, where knickabockers were a novelty, the ice seemed rather thick and several hours were required to complete the thawing out process. It was at these places where I was an object of country curiosity that I felt the need of a wheeling companion more than I did along the road."
Other wheelmen will be interested in the facts that Mr. Bent carried no baggage save a complete change of clothing strapped to the wheel, and that he spent nine days at the springs, the total cost of his trip being less than $30. And it was not all hard work either. There was hunting, fishing, boating, bathing, music, mind-reading seances and possibly, though this is not admitted, a quiet flirtation or two. The moral of which, addressed to all overworked city men, is learn to ride a bicycle and go thou and do likewise.
Mrs. C. C. Candy, wife of the chief of the western division racing board of the L. A. W., is the first woman to make the descent of Pike's Peak on a bicycle. Accompanied by her husband, she left the summit at 1:15 P. M. on Saturday, July 16, and in 4 hours and 15 minutes had reached the foot of the mountain. The only accident occurred when they were about four miles from the summit. Mrs. Candy was ahead, and her wheel suddenly slipped, throwing her off to one side of the road. At this point, which is above timber line, there are no trees or shrubs to stop a person when once started to rolling, and the descent is quite rapid for fully 500 feet. The side of the mountain is very rough with boulders, and one of these was directly in the line of her descent. After rolling about 100 feet she came to an abrupt stop against the rock.
The Alameda Bicycle and Athletic Club has finally decided on the date of its next racing meet. It will be held on September 5th, in recognition of Labor day, the recently declared legal holiday. The races will nearly all be for short distances, thus insuring many entries and preventing the sport from becoming tedious. An innovation sure to be appreciated is the manner in which the prizes will be distributed. They will all be on exhibition before the day of the contests, and immediately after each race the winner will be presented with the trophy to which he is entitled. The list of events will be as follows: Half-mile safety novice, quarter-mile safety scratch, halfmile safety handicap, one-mile safety handicap, two-mile safety handicap, quarter-mile running race, open. Slight modifications may be made, but accurate entry cards will soon be ready. All of the best men in this part of the State will probably compete with the possible exception of Walter Foster, who now thinks of entering in the Admission day races at Riverside. By the way, Foster has just received a new wheel with which he hopes to still further reduce the coast record. It is a Model D Victor racer weighing only 25 pounds, all on.
The "smoker" given by the Alameda Bicycle and Athletic Club on Saturday evening was largely attended and thoroughly enjoyed by all present. Speeches were made by prominent members of other clubs, congratulating the Alameda boys on their successful efforts to stimulate interest in cycling on the coast. The club presented Frank Waller with a gold watch in recognition of the fact that he reduced the world's 24-hour record on the Alameda track. After disposing of a substantial repast, spread in the pavilion, and discussing cycling affairs until a late lour, the guests dispersed with three cheers for their generous guests.
Secretary Smith of the Garden City Cyclers reports that everything will be in readiness for their big racing meet on September 9. The new track has been laid out and the corners banked. The top dressing of pulverized blue rock will be laid on this week, and the course will be in condition for training purposes by August 20. It is expected to be fast, as it is being built on approved lines.
The Bay City Wheelmen went on a run to Mill Valley yesterday. There was a large turnout, and nothing occurred to mar the pleasure of the occasion. The initiation fee of this popular organization has been reduced to $5.
The California Cycling Club had a great time at Alameda yesterday "trying out" its racing men. There were some lively spurts, and the time of all the fast ones was taken for future reference. Several members of the Pacific Road Club also tested their speed on the track. Captain Hancock is developing rapidly aud bids fair to come to the front should he enter in the September races.
The Pacific Road Club is making arrangements for a series of road races for a medal which will have to be won three times by the same person to become private property.
And now the Acmes of Oakland are talking of building a track. The more the merrier.
It is time to say a word against the cramped position on the wheel assumed by too many riders, who apparently wish to be considered "scorchers.” It is neither graceful nor healthy to double up like a half-closed jack-knife. Besides prejudicing people of sense against cycling as a beneficial exercise, this attitude is not calculated to inspire any spectator with the idea that the rider is on pleasure bent.
Of course the event of the week was the lowering of the world's record to 2:11 by G. F. Taylor of the Manhattan Athletic Club. As this wonderful time was made from a standing start, it must be considered as equal to 2:07 had the rider passed the starter going at full speed, as a trotting horse always does. Hence it is safe to assert that the bicycle is capable of greater speed than even Sunol or Maud S.
The Alameda club has a mascot. It came from Japan, proudly wears the Nile green and pink, and is known as Little Ah There!
The San Francisco club had no regular run yesterday, but many of the members took trips into the country. It is rumored that Secretary Cobden was seen on the road to Coventry Cross. Captain Pixley at last accounts was pushing his pneumatic up Mount Shasta. When he reaches the snow line he will turn around and coast into Oakland.