NEARING A MILE A MINUTE. - The San Francisco Examiner - February 11, 1895

From Wooljersey


Something About the Four Men Who Rode the Quadruplet Bicycle and Edwards' Own Story.

Reducing Weight and Friction and Raising Gear of Bicycles Make High Speed Possible - A Good Illustration.

Everybody is asking how a bicycle can be ridden a mile on an ordinary road in close to a minute and half or 1:34 1-5. It is indeed strange, after all the fastest men in the world, ending with Ziegler, could not pull down below 1:50.

[Drawn by an "Examiner" artist from a photograph by Bushnell.]

At the beginning of last season only three men had ridden a mile on a bicycle inside of two minutes, and many wheelmen even doubted that, yet only last Saturday five men did the mile under 1:35 the first time they tried it on a straight road. True, four of them were on one bicycle. But the explanation is simple. Bicycles have been wonderfully improved, making fast riding easier. Wheels are now much lighter, friction is less and the gears are much higher. In the day of the high wheel a man could only make a bicycle wheel revolve once for one revolution of the cranks. To-day one revolution of the pedals produces from two and a half to three revolutions of the wheels, and in the case of the quadruplet the gearing is higher, sometimes equivalent to nearly five revolutions of the bicycle wheels. In Saturday's successful record Edwards' bicycle was geared to nearly three revolutions and the "quad" to over three revolutions for one of the feet. But the gear used by Edwards is in common use now on racing wheels.


The quadruplet bicycle has been in us about three years, but was first used as pacemaker late last fall. Just after Ziegler had lowered the mile to 1:50 on the Sacramento track, Tom Eck, who is the trainer and mentor of John S. Johnson, bethought himself of this four-man machine, and at Buffalo he found a straight course with a strong wind. This he had measured, and being slightly down grade the experiment was tried. After several attempts 1:35 3-5 was made. A few days later the racing men of the Buffalo Press Cycling Club cut this record to 1:35 on a poorer course, but with a stronger wind. The men who rode the "quad” at Livermore Saturday are worthy of more than passing notice as well as the machine. Tony Delmas is the same age as Ziegler, nineteen, and built very much like the "Little Demon," Tony stands only 5 feet 4 1/2 inches and weighs 143 pounds, but he has not got his growth yet. He commenced racing on May 11th last, when he finished second in his novice race and also won second in the two mile handicap. In fact, the second place was a favorite position for him to finish in no matter how fast the first man was. This was wonderful work for Delmas, who rode in Class B races from the start, and thus had only the fastest men to ride against and in most cases men that had the advantage of better training. On July 27th, at the Electric Light Tournament at San Jose, Tony Delmas captured two more seconds. On September 10th, at the finest meet of the year, Tony got two more seconds. At the Olympic meet, October 1st, the little fellow came in for two more seconds. At the Acme meet, Alameda, July 4th, and on the same track August 15th, he won thirds, finishing close up with the best men. If Delmas had stayed in Class A he would have been the best man on the Coast in that class for the whole season.

At Sacramento last fall with Bob Long, Delmas paced Ziegler when he made a mile in 1:50, and broke the quarter and half mile tandem world's records, one of which he still holds. He also made the mile in 1:56 in practice on the tandem there. As the captain of the "quad" he has again shown his ability and can now lay claim to having ridden a mile as fast as any racing man on wheels.


Henry C. Smith of San Jose has been racing longer than any of the other riders of the four-man machine. He is but twenty-one years old, weighs 150 pounds, and stands but 5 feet and 7 inches. He has not devoted very much time to training, but yet won over $600 worth of prizes in 1894. His winnings were as follows: May 1st, one first and one second; July 4th, a first and a third; September 10th, a second and a third; November 25th, two seconds, both being close finishes to Ziegler.

Smith was sixteen years old when he first began bicycle riding, and at seventeen he began making century runs and doing some racing. At that time he was a member of the Garden City Wheelmen, organized in 1886. This club combined with the San Jose Cyclers and formed the Garden City Cyclers. Henry C. Smith's first race was on New Year's Day, 1889, at Haight street baseball grounds in this city, where he won the novice race and took several other prizes. That season he won many prizes on both track and road. In 1890 Smith won the Coast championship at the California division meet of the League of American Wheelmen. In 1891 and 1892 Smith kept on winning prizes on the ordinary, or the high wheel, as it is better known. In 1893 he took up the safety, or low wheel, and made a good showing, riding a close second in the division championship at Central Park track.


In Allan N. Jones, San Jose and the Garden City Cyclers have another new rider like Delmas, of whom they can well be proud. Jones is the same age as Ziegler and Delmas, and weighs 159 pounds. His height is 5 feet and 9 inches. He commenced racing on the 4th of last July, so is almost unknown. Jones is still a Class A rider and will remain among the simon pures this year. Like Delmas, he won second in his novice race. It was on September 10th at San Jose, but in the half-mile handicap the same day he got away with first prize. In the half-mile race on October 1st, at Alameda, he won second but at the Thanksgiving Day meet of the San Jose Road Club, he was first in the half-mile scratch, and proved again that he was a dangerous man at a half mile. In the mile handicap that day Jones finished second, and these two races cover his whole racing experience. On the quadruplet Jones is the third man from the front and the other riders say that only the high gear keeps him from taking the pedals from them. For his short experience Jones may well feel proud to have ridden a mile in 1:34 1.5, though he divides the glory with the rest of the "quad" team.


Clarence L. Davis was born twenty-two years ago and began bicycle-racing, like hundreds of other famous racing men, when he was nineteen years of age. He is the largest man on the quadruplet team, weighing 174 pounds and standing 5 feet and 10 1/4 inches.

Davis' first work was on August 27, 1893, when he won the mile handicap of the Bay City Wheelmen meet. Just two months later, at San Jose, he broke the coast record for the half mile in his heat of the half-mile handicap, but had the bad luck to fall in the final.

In the Admission Day races of the Garden City Cyclers, the same year, Davis won the five-mile championship of San Jose and the mlle handicap.

On October 2d at the Sacramento meet, where Edwards rode his greatest race, Clarence Davis won the two-mile, beating both Ziegler and Wells, and in the mile and three-mile State championships he beat out Ziegler, Wells and Edwards, besides other fast Coast riders less known than them. That was a great year for Davis as well as Edward and Zeigler and at the beginning of last year Davis was considered the equal of both of them, but 1894 proved a bad year for Clarence, who only raced two months, and almost at the beginning of his track work got an ugly fall while training on the quarter at San Jose and injured both knees. He found it almost impossible to get in shape, and, finally, after the San Diego meet, gave up the racing until he went into actual training for the work on the quadruplet. As Davis needs hard work to get in winning form, the judgment of a trainer is required to fit him. How well Aylward has looked after him the wonderful mile of Saturday shows.

Bicycle Notes.

Eighty thousand people attended the [New York Cycle show], and at [the Chicago show] nearly every day people were turned away.

Archie Reid of the Bay Citys, who has lately returned from his visit to Scotland, will probably go into racing again this year, and it he has thorough training will be one of the very fastest riders in the West.

The Pacifics have reached the limit set some time ago and will now only receive new members when some of the present members resign. Their new uniform is very nobby. H. R. Hicks will be the club's photographer on all trips this year.

The third-of-a mile track at National City, five miles outside of San Diego, and known as the Sweet water track, was ruined by the late wet spell, as a small river flowed across it for several days and washed a way half the track.

Moonlight runs were very popular this week. The Imperials and Californias both had runs to the Park and beach Friday night, Thursday night those continuously ringing bells could be heard in every part of Golden Gate Park at the same time.

The Bay City Wheelmen will have as good a racing team this year as ever and probably much larger than in any other year.

The Pacific Cycling Club will be equipped with its new uniforms within a week. On March 29th the first anniversary will be observed. The membership limit of the P. C. C. has now been reached.

C. R. Coulter of Toledo, O., one of the Eastern men training here for the indoor races, received the news early this week of the death of his brother, [Harry E. Coulter], at Mansfield, O. He has the sympathy of all the Coast wheelmen in his bereavement.

Haley, Hobson and Fawcett of the Olympics are training daily on the bicycle track. Jack McGlynn is their trainer.

The Acme Wheelmen have organized themselves with the following officers: G. F. Neece, President: C. L. Hannan, Vice-President; J. W. Wright, Treasurer; A. L. Ormsby, Secretary. The road officers are: John Kitchen Jr., Captain; C. L. Hannan, First Lieutenant; and A. L. Ormsby. Second Lieutenant, with O. L. Pickard as bugler.

In the death of E. W. Stuart the cyclists of California and the Southern California Division of the League of American Wheelmen lose a valuable friend and worker. For a number of years he was Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles Wheelmen and Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern California Division of the Los Angeles Wheelmen until his health failed. - Los Anpeles Express.

Etiwanda is to have a bicycle track. The little town has only a few wheelmen, but those it has are all enthusiastic sportsmen.

The Olympic Club Field Day at the Olympic oval on Washington's Birthday will contain two bicycle races, one a two-mile club race, and the other a three-mile class A open. Both will be handicap events.