ON THE ROAD. A Contribution From an Old Time Biker. - Oakland Tribune, 26 Jun 1889

From Wooljersey


A Contribution From an Old Time Biker.

A few Sundays ago, not being able to resist the longing for an old time spin, I mounted my wheel (have fallen from grace I now pump a safety), and rode out the San Leandro road. I met hosts of wheelmen going to and fro, but gazed in vain for some familiar faces. Memories of the days when we had almost daily encounters with the festive Portuguese road hog; when every mile or so we bad to dismount and wait for a fractions horse to pass, and often were we called upon to lead the animals past our machines and perform other acts of mercy. Days when we used to take the Haywards Hotel by storm, and on departing from the "base of supplies,” were considerate enough to leave the dishes and tables.

Every Sunday and holidays the same old crowd would be seen on the road. The veteran George H. Strong with measured stroke rode as well as many a younger man and was always the best of company. Guy C. Earl, then a Deputy in the County Clerk's office, broke the Sabbath but no records, while Bob Edgar, the present deputy in Cupid's department, was also an enthusiastic rider. Biederman from across the bay was the "Dude of the Day" before he tendered his resignation as "Stamp Clerk” of the [Southern Pacific Company]. Rosborough of Highland Park was always waiting for a "new mount" from the East, but the wheel he longed for never came, Bob Magill Jr. divides his time between amateur journalism and the path and was a scorcher of no mean proportions, but he, too, has forsaken the wheel. Harry Tenney was an expert all around rider, who hailed from Alameda, and who made himself popular with the young ladies in that village by investing in a tandem tricycle, Haralson, who hailed from Fitchburg, was a reckless rider, and when taking part in any race was always sure of a header or some other accident. Haslitt, our former Secretary and Treasurer of the L. A. W. was always in for mileage and couldn't stop, "because he had to make his fifty miles before dark." A. S. Ireland, our present Secretary and Treasurer, used to labor with a heavy machine of unknown weight before his racing aspirations had made their appearance. Charlie Krytser, Reichling, and Havens used to make things interesting for the boys.

East Oakland furnished several riders at that time, among whom were Tad Grimes, who by the advice of his doctor has given up cycling, Rob Chapman, who has also discarded the wheel, because "Yaw see, I get fawtigued so soon, doncher know." George H. Mason, now Deputy County Recorder, was during those days, as now an active rider and capable of riding in from the San Lorenzo cherry orchards after dark.

Larzelere and Wheaton of the San Franciscos were generally to be found resting by the roadside on the avenue leading to Lake Chabot.

Ed Mohrig was often seen on the road showing off some new machine for which he was agent.

The "Oaklands," a full fledged club, then held away and was much longer lived than the Ramblers and Ariels, which followed.

"Tempus" does "fugit," new riders take the places of the old, new styles of machines are introduced and some become the popular craze, new routes for runs and tours are mapped out, but all the wheelmen are the same happy contented crowd they always have been.

True, I might almost say the majority of the active riders are "Sabbath breakers" in a certain degree, but taking all things into consideration 'cycling is one the most pleasant, beneficial, and gentlemanly of all the sports.

Gliding as though upon wings,
  Wheeling, oh, so gaily wheeling:
Free as the air and more happy than kings,
  Hurrah for the road and wheeling!
An Oakland Wheelman.

OAKLAND, June 26, 1889.