F. Ed Spooner
F. Ed "Well-Fed" Spooner was someone who successfully raced bicycles at the highest level, operated in a leadership role within the organizing and promotion of bicycle racing, and who successfully made the transition to press and photographic coverage of motor sports.
Since F. E. Spooner of Chicago beat Waller's record and won the championship of the world by riding 374 miles and 1605 yards in 24 hours, renewed interest has been manifested in long-distance cycling, and it is confidently predicted that this wonderful record will soon be lowered. Indeed it may not stand longer than next Saturday, for on that day Holbein and all the best wheelmen in England will compete in a 24-hour race for a a magnificent challenge cup. In the meantime the wings of the Flying Dutchman are folded. "I will wait and see what those foreigners will do," he said yesterday, then I'll get in and make over 400 miles. Its easy to do this in the papers, but I can do it on the track." And he may accomplish the task, for his endurance is phenomenal. He finished his great ride apparently as strong as when he began, whereas Spooner was too weak to dismount and had to be carried from the track. In this connection the following comparison of the work of these two men will be of interest:
Spooner is 24 years old, 5 feet 10 1/2 inches high, and weighs 144 pounds when in racing condition. There is not a half ounce of fat anywhere in his anatomy. He was born in Batavia, Ill., and is a member of the Lincoln, Ravenswood and Chicago cycling clubs. He has been an active wheelman about eight years. In 1889 and in 1890, at the old exposition building in Chicago, he took first prize in century races, winning the 1889 race eight miles ahead of his closest competitor in 5 hours, 59 minutes and 40 seconds. In the 90 race he lowered his own record 19 minutes and 46 1-5 seconds, riding 100 miles in 5 hours, 39 minutes and 53 4-5 seconds. Only one accident marked the long struggle. When he had reeled off 272 miles he wanted water. Stackpole, his trainer, ran alongside with a sponge. Spooner raised his hand to catch it as he sped around the track and the effort cost him a heavy fall. The man was so weak that he could not guide his bicycle. An hour later he was all right again, grinding out mile after mile inside of four minutes. He had the advantage of Waller in having for pace-makers such famous riders at Merrill, Nicolet, Root, Ullbrecht, Walden, Dennison, Hoagland and Van Sicklen, who interchangingly led the way for the rider from start to finish.
The Wheel is publishing weekly a cartoon representing the leading class B riders climbing from a soup tureen up a ladder which leads to a big bag of dollars encased in a laurel wreath on the top rung. The positions of the figures are changed weekly, the riders being shifted by the number of points each has acquired over the other as given in Spooner's record tables. Last week Eddie Bald of the Columbia team was shown with his hand on the top rung of the ladder, with a total of 79 points, and the rest of the Eastern circuit chasers bunched far below him at the center, with none of them showing over 46 points. Bald's showing for the season is therefore almost double any one of his competitors. He is unquestionably the man of the year, and his many California friends who met him last spring will be glad to hear he has been so successful, which, I may add, he attributes largely to his training in this State early in the season.
Several big bicyclers arrived from the East yesterday and put up at the Baldwin Hotel. They were: E. C. Bald of the Columbia team, his trainer Asa Windle; Tom W. Cooper and his trainer, James Temple, of the Monarch team; Charles M. Murphy and trainer, W. B. Young, of the Humber team; E. S. Kiser and trainer, H. B. Gleezen, of the Stearns team; Charles S. Wells and W. A. Terrill of the California Giants, and F. Ed. Spooner, cycling correspondent for a number of Eastern papers.
If there is any man in the United States who is supposed to know things about the national circuit races, that man is F. Ed Spooner. They call him "Well Fed" Spooner where he is best known, because there isn't such a persistent string fiend to be found elsewhere in this country as in the sumptuously furnished office of this journalistic autocrat of the cycle path. Yesterday a letter was received here from Spooner by Art Stackpole, who happens at present to be sojourning in Minneapolis, which let go of a few very pretty little secrets from the inner governmental chambers of the big league.
View of F. Ed. Spooner at the 1909 Glidden Tour. Caption on photo back: "F.E. Spooner, who took two and [? two thousand photos on the tour."]
Autoist Killed By His Own Car
SUMMIT, Sept. 1 Charles S. Wells, known at the "California Giant" a quarter of a century ago, when he broke professional bicycle racing records, was killed yesterday when he attempted to stop an automobile from rolling down hill after releasing the brakes.
Wells, after a career as secretary of the New Jersey Auto Association and newspaper work, had turned to commercial photography and made, his home with his partner F. E. Spooner of Baltusrol Hill.
Spooner with Wells as passenger had stopped in front, of his home when fire broke out under the hood of the car. Spooner rushed off to get water while Wells smothered the fire. Wells then released the brakes to It th can roll away from a pool of burning gasoline. The car crushed him when ho went to the front in an attempt to stop it. He was about fifty years old and is survived by no near relatives.
F. EDWARD SPOONER, FORMER BICYCLE CHAMPION, DIES
Held Every Racing Record From 25 to 375 Miles in 1902.
By the Associated Press.
NEW YORK, Oct. 27. - F. Edward Spooner, former champion bicycle rider and a pioneer motorist, died Sunday of cancer at Hawthorne, N. Y. He was 68 years old, a native of Batavia, Ill.
Spooner was founder and former vice-president and advertising manager of the magazine Motor West, published at Los Angeles. He took part in such "pathfinding" motor tours as those from New York to Florida and Detroit to Mexico City via Denver.
In 1892 he held every bicycle racing record from 25 to 375 miles. [Not quite. - MF] Among other feats, he won in 1888 [1889 - MF] the 100-mile road championship at Chicago in five hours, 39 minutes on a high wheel bicycle.
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