San Francisco Bicycle Club

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See also Alameda Scorchers

Place

San Francisco, CA

Emblem & Uniform

"The Club uniform is neat and tasteful, consisting of a dark-brown Parole jacket, knee breeches and stockings, and black cap with visor. The Club colors are blue and white."

Established

December 13, 1878

Members


Among the vehicles for rapid transportation which are now coming into favor in this country, where it has but lately been introduced, is the bicycle.

These machines are extensively used in some parts of England, and the first one imported from there was received in this city about six months ago. They are materially different from the velocipede, being constructed with one large front wheel and a small one behind, and, when skillfully handled, are capable of being operated with far greater ease and speed. Fifteen miles per hour is considered to be very fair average time over a good road, but in Europe, in match contests upon the race-track, a single mile has been made in 2:52 and twenty miles in one hour. The bicycle is provided with a cyclometer that registers the number of revolutions made per minute, by which means the distance is measured. It is not an especially bad machine to manage after a bit of practice, but the greatest difficulty experienced by the novice is met with mounting and dismounting, the bicycle being extremely apt at such times to fall down. Yesterday morning, by invitation of Loring Cunningham, a grand meet took place on the Point Lobos road, at which all the bicycles in the city, together with their owners, by whom they were ridden, were present. The object of the gathering was merely for practice, and for the encouragement and better promotion of the sport. The names of the gentleman, comprising eleven riders, who participated are as follows: Loring Cunningham, W. G. Barrett, R. de Clermont [de Clairmont] and two sons, James J. Searle, George Searle, George Strong, J. B. Golly, W. B. Land and M. Allen. The start was made at 8 o'clock from the old toll-gate, and the party rode leisurely, two by two, along the road to the Cliff House. One or two inexperienced riders were obliged to dismount and walk up the hill, but the others kept their saddles, and in some instances displayed much grace and skill in managing their automatic steeds, executing many rapid and difficult curves and evolutions. The time to the Cliff, a distance of some three and a half miles, was twenty minutes. Here the party, after partaking of a lunch, resolved to form themselves into a bicycle club, and organized temporarily by electing Loring Cunningham President and W. G. Barrett Secretary. A few of the experts then tried a ride along the sandy Ocean beach by way of experiment, but found the tide was too high to permit for that sort of amusement, and so, shortly after 10 o'clock, the bicycle cavalcade set out to return home, stopping at the half-mile track with the intention of trying a brush, but owing to its heavy condition no note of the time was taken. The best long run on record was made in England - 223 miles in less than twenty-four hours, allowing for stoppages. Mr. Cunningham, one of the local experts, some two months since made a run of fifty-two miles from this city to San Jose in seven hours, exclusive of halts by the wayside, and this is the only long run of any note performed in San Francisco. A number of machines ordered by gentlemen of this city are now en route from England, and it is the intention of the [[[San Francisco Bicycle Club]] to increase and strengthen its organization and do its utmost to cultivate and disseminate the art of bicycle-riding.

BICYCLE-RIDING. Meet on the Point Lobos Road, and Formation of a Club - Fri, Nov 29, 1878 - Page 3 - San Francisco Chronicle

The Bicycle Club.

The San Francisco Bicycle Club has elected the following officers for the ensuing year: Ralf de Clairmont, President; G. Loring Cunningham, Captain; George H. Strong, Sub Captain, and Chas. L. Barrett, Secretary and Treasurer. The Club holds its first road run this morning, the start to take place from Central avenue, at the beginning of the Point Lobos road, at 10 o'clock. On Saturday last two members of the Club made a trip to the Mission San Jose, starting from Oakland at 10 o'clock a. m. and arriving at the Mission at half past 4 P. M. The run to Haywards, fifteen miles, was made in an hour and fifty minutes.

The Bicycle Club. - Daily Alta California, Volume 30, Number 10484, 25 December 1878

The Bicycle Club.

The San Francisco Bicycle Club will petition the Golden Gate Park Commissioners for permission to hold their practice runs in the Park before the hour of 8 o'clock and alter 6 P. M.

The Bicycle Club. - San Francisco Chronicle, 03 Jan 1879

The San Francisco Bicycle Club is the second association of this kind in the United States, being organized December 13, 1878. Ralph de Clairemont, one of the founders, is the oldest bicycle rider on the coast, and imported one of the first French bicycles made in the present form. Several years after the organization of the Club a number of the younger members who had gained considerable proficiency in riding and were eager for tests of skill, seceded, forming the Bay City Club. This latter Club had been in existence but a short time when it was again divided, and a number of gentlemen who cared more for touring than for racing formed what is called "The Cycling Club."

ON THE WHEEL. - Daily Alta California, 29 November 1885

First in point of age among existing organizations of wheelmen in the United States is the San Francisco Bicycle Club, which was formed on December 13, 1878. The charter members were: Ralph de Clairmont, George H. Strong, ex-Governor George C. Perkins, Howard B. Land, John B. Golly, William M. Fuller, G. L. Cunningham, Fred G. Blinn and C. L. Barnett. At that time bicycles were not allowed in Golden Gate Park; but the club prevailed on the commissioners to permit its members to enter the park at Stanyan street and ride on the south drive as far as Strawberry Hill before 10 o'clock in the forenoon and after 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

CHAT ABOUT THE CYCLE. - The San Francisco Club and What It Has Done. - Results of Yesterday's Races - The Coming League Meet - Ladies Who Ride the Wheel. - The San Francisco Call, 25 Apr 1892, Mon - Page 8 

A sensation bas been caused in cycling circles by the amalgamation of the Pacific Road Club and the San Francisco Bicycle Club, two of the leading bicycle organizations in this city. The San Francisco Bicycle Club enjoys the proud distinction of being the second bicycle club organized in Ameries. The Pacific Road Club was formed about eighteen months ago and contains many of the most active wheelmen in the State. The proposition for amalgamating the two clubs has been under consideration for several weeks and is really the outcome of the recent League of American Wheelmen fight in this State. The San Francisco Bicycle Club and the Bay City Wheelmen were arrayed against each other in the recent election. The Pacific Road Club sided in with the pioneer club and a strong friendship sprang up between the two clubs.

The Pacific Road Club held a meeting on Wednesday night in its clubrooms, corner of Van Ness avenue and Fulton streets. The proposition of the San Francisco Bicycle Club was submitted to the meeting by President Jesse Hazel. After considerable discussion it was unanimously agreed to amalgamate. The Pacific Road Club will be merged into the San Francisco Bicycle Club. The defunct club will have fair representation on the board of officers, as several of the San Francisco directors will resign so that members of the Pacific Rond Club can be appointed to fill their places. The arrangement was adjusted in a very amicable manner, and at the conclusion of the meeting Messrs. Knox and Welch of the San Francisco Club were introduced and made appropriate speeches.

The San Francisco Bicycle Club has now a membership of almost 200. The gentlemen who worked assiduously for the merging of the two clubs were Messrs. Knox and Edwards of the San Francisco Club and Messrs. Hazel, Loney, Ballard and Luby of the Pacific Road Club.

The San Francisco Bicycle Club was organized December 13, 1878. Colonel Ralph de Clairmont was the first president, and other prominent members were Captain George H. Strong, ex-governor George C. Perkins, John B. Golly, William H. Fuller, G. L. Cunningham, Fred G. Glynn and C. L. Barrett. The club incorporated this year with the following board of eleven directors; L. D. Owens, H. S. Field, Thomas R. Knox, H. J. Foley. J. C Spencer, H. C. Massie, Thomas R. Cobden, George F. Day, Eugene Unger, Will I. Pixley and B. T. Edwards

The clubrooms of the San Francisco Bicycle Club are on Golden Gate avenue.

THEY ARE ONE NOW. - THE LEADING BICYCLE CLUBS AMALGAMATED. - The Pacific Road Club Merged With the San Francisco Bicycle Club. - San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Dec 1892

The addition of the San Francisco Bicycle Club has given the Olympic Cycling Annex a decided impetus. The directors are fitting up a room in the basement with all the necessary conveniences for the care and repair of wheels and have also assigned the annex a "home" adjoining the lounging room where wheelmen may discuss sprocket and tire undisturbed. All the cycling publications will be kept on file here.

A neat and dressy uniform has been adopted to which all will be expected to conform, and this is the only requirement to membership in the annex. There are several embryo "flyers" in the club and another season will see the red and white of Olympia somewhere near the van of the cycling column.

Captain Russ is alive to his opportunities, and makes an efficient officer, while Lieutenants F. Hunter and Haley are his right and left bowers. Last Tuesday evening that veteran wheelman, R. M. Welch, was elected presiding officer, and Lewis C. Hunter was elected secretary.

A run to Mill Valley has been called for to-morrow, leaving the clubhouse at 8:30 A. M.

THE CYCLING WORLD. - San Francisco Bicycle Club annexed by Olympic Cycling Annex - San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Jul 1893

The riders endured the stare of pedestrians and braved audibly derisive remarks from horsemen. They rode the high phantom wheel, spite of all danger, until more stout hearts augmented their numbers. These pioneer wheelmen organized the San Francisco Bicycle Club on December 13, 1878, at Union Hall.

The Bicycle Club.  The San Francisco Bicycle Club has elected the following officers for the ensuing year: Ralf de Clairmont, President; G. Loring Cunningham, Captain; George H. Strong, Sub.Captain, and Chas. L. Barrett, Secretary and Treasurer. The Club holds its first road run this morning, the start to take place from Central avenue, at the beginning of the Point Lobos road, at 10 o'clock. On Saturday last two members of the Club made a trip to the Mission San Jose, starting from Oakland at 10 o'clock a. m. and arriving at the Mission at half past 4 P. M. The run to Haywards, fifteen miles, was made in an hour and fifty minutes.

It was the first club in this city and second only to the Boston Bicycle Club, which had been organized a few months earlier. Colonel Ralph de Clairmont, Senator Perkins, H. B. Land, W. M. Fuller. G. Loring Cunningham, George H. Strong, F. G. Blinn, J. B. Golly and Charles L. Barrett were the charter members. Some of them still ride the wheel, but not the old style they had to climb in those days. Colonel de Clairmont was President of the club till 1881, when he was succeeded by Columbus Waterhouse. The club maintained its organization until two years ago.

FIRST BIKE ON THE COAST. - The San Francisco Examiner 04 Aug 1895, Sun Page 18

Then the "club" resort was had. On December 13, 1878, a club was formed known as the San Francisco Bicycle Club, which was the first organization of its kind on the Coast, and the second in the whole United States. Among the members were Governor George C. Perkins, Colonel Ralph de Clairmont, Judge Kerrigan, George H. Strong, G. Loring Cunningham, F. G. Blinn, J. G. Golby, George Hobe, Robert M. Welch, Charles L. Barrett, F. C. Merrill, E. Mohrig. F. E. Osbourne, Charles C. Moore, Fred Russ Cook, Herman C. Eggers, Frank D. Elwell and many others.

When San Francisco Was Teaching America to Ride a Bicycle - Sun, Feb 26, 1905 - Page 5 - San Francisco Chronicle 

The portrait of Mr. George H. Strong. of San Francisco, Cal., will be found in the group of newly elected Division officers. He rode the old velocipede in 1869 and 1870, and commenced riding the ordinary in June, 1878, being one of the first three in San Francisco to do so. Other riders gradually joined the trio until in December, 1878, he organized the San Francisco Bicycle Club, which has had a continuous and flourishing existence since that time. It is the second oldest club having existence in the United States, the Boston Club being the leader. Mr. Strong was elected vice-captain of this club at the time of its organization. During the following year there was a sufficient number of new riders added in Oakland, where he had his residence (just across the bay from San Francisco), to warrant a club there, and he organized a club in June, 1879. [Oakland Bicycle Club - MF] He was elected captain of this club for several successive years and elected consul three successive years under the old organization of the League and before the formation of the California Division, and was also a member of the racing board for one or two years. 

[GEORGE H. STRONG]

The San Francisco Bicycle Club was the first one formed in San Francisco. It was established in 1879, and included among its members Columbus Waterhouse, Ralph De Clairmont, and George H. Strong, the present Chief Consul of the Northern California Division. Ex-Governor Perkins, now United States Senator, was the bugler of the club.

[The Wheel in California]