Los Angeles Wheelmen
Los Angeles, CA
A letter from Los Angeles states that the club has grown to forty-five active members and that the 'cycling fever' is raging.
J. W. A. Off, Los Angeles representative Los Angeles Wheelmen.
The year 1888 marks the climax of bicycle racing in California. Five meets were held where championships were contested. Early in the year, W. S. Wing, of the Los Angeles Wheelmen, appeared, and won the three-mile championship in 9:30. The Bay City men, with Elwell, won the one, two, and three mile championships, - the latter called the national championship. The one-mile championship, run on the Stockton quarter mile track, is the most celebrated in local bicycle history. The race started out with a large field, Davis and Elwell favorites, who reached the tape within a few inches of each other. The time of this race is the present official record at one mile, 2:48 1/2; the two-mile record, 6:10 4-5, was made by the same man, Elwell, in that year. W. G. Davis, of the San Francisco Club, captured the half mile race, making 1:27 3/4, the present record.
The year 1889 was not a great one for cycling. On May 30 the Los Angeles Wheelmen had a meet, in which the most notable event was the remarkable speed shown by W. S. Wing, who made the mile in 2:47, lowering Elwell's record of 2:48 1/2, but the record was not allowed.
In Los Angeles, since the sad death of W. S. Wing, Burke may be able to wear a new medal on the outside of his coat at the watering places this summer. The Palo Alto wheelmen are resting their hopes on J. E. Alexander, who recently made one mile in 2:45 2-5 riding a pneumatic-tired wheel.
SUPPLEMENTARY SCHEDULE TO L. A. W. BOOK, CALIFORNIA DIVISION, 1890. Distance. Winner. Club. Time. Date. Place One-half mile D. L. Burke, Los Angeles W. 1.33 July 4, 1890. San José. One mile District Henry Smith, Garden City W. 3.03 2-5 July 4, 1890. San José. Five mile District Julius Smith, Garden City W. 16.58 3-5 July 4, 1890. San José. One mile Safety J. F. Ives, Alameda Bi. Club 3.18 3-5 July 4, 1890. San José. One mile D. L. Burke, Los Angeles W. 2.50 2-5 July 4, 1891. Stockton. Two miles Safety Geo. Osen, Garden City W. 5.45 2-5 July 4, 1891. Stockton. Three miles W. R. Lipsett, Garden City W. 9.58 Nov. 26, 1891. Oakland. Five miles Safety Grant Bell, Oriental C. C. 15.35 1-4 Nov. 26, 1891. Oakland.
The event was the one-mile Division Championship, and besides Davis and Elwell there were entered W. S. Wing, of the Los Angeles Wheelmen, and B. G. Toll, of the Capital City Wheelmen. The men got off well together, and Toll started to make the pace. Wing shot ahead, however, and led the race until the last lap. The other three men kept close behind, riding well together. A fast pace was set all through the race, but on the last lap the riders seemed to shoot ahead faster than ever. As they entered the home stretch they were all struggling desperately for the lead. Nearing the tape, Elwell forged ahead, and then seemed to relapse. Davis coming on close behind shot alongside with a rush, but Elwell recovered himself and crossed the tape so little ahead of his opponent that many people in the grandstand thought that Davis had won the race. The judges decided that Elwell had won the race, and immediately the track was swarming with spectators, some claiming the race for Davis, others clamoring to uphold the decision. Pandemonium reigned supreme, and it was long before order was restored. At no race since has such excitement been displayed, and although on the same day Davis and Elwell again came together in the five-mile national championship, this race was tame by comparison with the most sensational race ever contested on a California track.
The records established at this meeting were the half-mile, by A. W. Allen of Los Angeles, in 1:22 1/2; one mile, by F. D. Elwell in 2:48 1/2; the two and three miles, by A. S. Ireland.
By this time cycling in Southern California had increased to such an extent that the representatives from the South numbered a considerable vote. They demanded recognition for the southern part of the State, and in 1889 the annual meet was assigned to the Los Angeles Wheelmen for Decoration Day. But few northern cyclers were represented, and this meet went far toward advancing the sentiment in favor of establishing two Divisions in California. After much effort, the National League was induced to adopt a resolution establishing a Southern California and a Northern California Division, and this rule went into effect just before the last annual meet in July. [Note the date for the referenced article, 12 December 1892. I think the dates are wrong for the Southern Division in this article. - MF]