Bay City Wheelmen track at Central Park
San Francisco, CA
The Bay City Wheelmen are going to build a track at Central Park. Messrs. Elwell & Rice have been engaged to lay it out on scientific principles, and they assure the club that they will make it the fastest four-lap track in the State. Work will commence on it May 1.
There will be several impromptu races this afternoon at the Bay City Wheelmen's new track, Central Park.
This will be the last day in which wheelmen who are not members of the club can enjoy the privileges of the track.
President Whitmore expects to see a large gathering of riders on the grounds, and it will afford him much pleasure to have the opinions of the wheelmen from different parts of the State as to the track and what they think of it when compared with other racing tracks. All those who have ridden on it state that the Bay Citys have struck the nail on the head, and that at the July meeting coast records are bound to go under.
The great race meeting of the California Division League of American Wheelmen, under the auspices of the Bay City Wheelmen, was brought to a most glorious and successful conclusion yesterday afternoon at Central Park.
The annual championship of 1893 was awarded to the Bay Citys on March 11th, but no work was begun on their track until May 16th. All plans and arrangements had been made, however, and work proceeded very rapidly. In the course of two weeks the entire track was finished and ready for trial. It succeeded beyond expectations. The novel shape and the material of which it was composed at once aroused much wonder and criticism. The track is a five-lap one, and is built on the large lot known as Central Park, at the corner of Eighth and Market streets. It is made of rough concrete, and is banked very high at the curves. The track is about thirty feet wide, and at the highest point is about eighteen feet, thus making an angle of nearly sixty degrees with the ground. The advantages of this idea have been established beyond doubt, by the fact that since the erection of the "new-fangled track" three of the Coast records have been lowered without apparent exertion.
The new track was formally opened on July 1st by the Bay City Wheelmen. The programme that had been laid out was a most alluring one, and brought hundreds of bicyclists from all parts of the State. The meet opened on Saturday with the first day's races. Not as many records were broken as had been expected, owing to the high wind, but Walter Foster, B. C. W., managed to lower the half mile record from 1:12 to 1:11.
Arrangements are now under way by which the track at Central Park will be put in first-class shape and the talent allowed to train thereon. The committee will announce training privileges inter.
There is going to be a colored gentlemen's race at Central Park to-morrow in connection with the general jollification of colored Odd Fellows. I understand entries have been received from many of the speedy riders from this City and surrounding towns, and the natural rivalry for supremacy should result in a good race.
Next Saturday afternoon at Central Park the best athletes in the State will gather and contest in the biggest field games ever held on the Pacific Coast.
The bicycle track is in itself a wonderful creation, and has excited widespread interest among the racing enthusiasts. Constructed of boards, six laps to the mile, it is expected to be a world beater in its own way. Manager Charles A. Wikidel, whose success in the handling of the recent indoor tournament games won for him the admiration of the cycling fraternity, has supplemented the work of Frank D. Elwell, the designer of the track. During the time of its construction he has been a constant attendant at the grounds and has personally superintended the work. The result as seen in the completed track last night will be appreciated by every wheelman who knows how far the minor details go toward making a track both safe and fast.
The painters followed closely the work of the carpenters, while the latter were putting down the surface so that to-morrow morning it will be thrown open for practice. To-day the paint will be allowed to dry thoroughly - a necessary precaution owing to the fact that finely powdered pumice stone has been sprinkled on it, to provide a non-slipping surface for the racing tires.
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Peter McIntire, with his assistants, is working like a Trojan on the running paths, and will have them fit for any runner when the bell rings for the first event on Saturday's great programme.
It is situated at the corner of Eighth and Market Streets, and it is known as Central Park. ... Between now and then Central Park will be transformed. Charles A. Wikidel has taken a lease of the place and is going to spend a great deal of money upon it. He has assured "The Examiner" that by the date of the Berkeley champion's Field Day it will be fit for Olympians to battle. The principal work before Mr. Wikidel is the construction of the bicycle track, which will be begun Immediately.
Unprecedented Number of Entries for Saturday's Coast Championship Field Day. Manager Wikidel, who made such a success of the Mechanic's Pavilion bicycle track, is rushing the work night and day on the new wheeling track in Central Park.
A conference was held by R. M. Welch of the [L. A. W.'s] Racing Board, J. M. Hamilton of the Cycle Board of Trade and C. A. Wikidel, manager of the Central Park track. The matter of the support of the track was discussed in all its phases, but no conclusion was reached. It is probable, however, that the clubs which desire the use of the track must pay a stated fee for it, and in addition, that the trade will be asked to assist in its support, if it believes its presence beneficial.
Never has such cycle racing been seen in this city at an out-door meet as was witnessed at Central Park yesterday at the national circuit races held under the auspices of the San Francisco Cycle Racing Association. The races were without exception the most closely contested events seen here for years. The track was kept clear of all but officials, much to the satisfaction of the spectators.
The pioneer wheelmen claim that Elwell holds the highest percentage of any rider in the world, having ridden in twenty-one races, and having won twenty first and one second prize. The first modern bicycle track was designed by him and was laid at Central Park. It was the first track using an easement curve permitting the rider to merge into the curve without too great a transition and was regarded as a great curiosity. The principles employed in its construction have been universally adopted.