BICYCLING. - The San Francisco Call, 24 Jun 1890

From Wooljersey


The following extracts are taken from the article on "Racing," written by R. A. Smythe for the “Division Road-book":

The first, so-called, championship race, at one mile, was contested in the old Mechanics' Pavilion in December, 1878, and was won by E. D. Woodman in the time announced of 4 minutes and 53 seconds. On the same day the five mile championship was won by Fitzgerald. A three days' race held in November of the same year was won by H. C. Eggers, F. T. Merrill second, and A. A. Bennett third. The track was six laps to the mile and having an incline toward Mission street was unsafe. The machines ridden were heavy affairs with plain bearings and short, straight handles - far removed from the light, graceful, easy-running wheels of to-day. It was not considered necessary to have elaborate racing-rigs, and tradition says that Edwin Mohrig, who, as a racer, legislator, road-rider and general celebrity, is known to many riders throughout the State, stopped to the middle of the five-mile championship, to roll up bis trousers, as they were continually getting caught in the spokes.

The California Division was organized on February 18, 1886, and Chief Consul Robert M. Welch appointed as the Racing Board F. A. Cook (Chairman), O. F. Griffin and J. P. Churchill. The first State meet was held in San Francisco on September 9th, and at the Bay District Track on that day was contested the first official State championship race, and inaugurated what have since been recognized, by all authorities, as the cycle championships of the State. The meeting provided excellent sport, but no new records were made. The first year the championships, although representative, were not exciting. The second year, however, some excellent sport was had.

In the spring of 1888, through the efforts of C. C. Moore, a grand quarter-mile track was built at Stockton. The surface was excellent, the shape nearly perfect and the size all that could be desired. It remained for the annual meeting of that year to furnish the sensational races of the championships.

Although many successful meetings were held in 1889 the list of championships is a small one. This is explained by the fact that several meetings were arranged at short notice, and the time was not sufficient in which to give the one month's notice of the assignment of a championship as required by the rules.