Victor A. Hancock
Brother of J. F. Hancock
The Pacific Road Club's 10-mile handicap road race took place yesterday around the San Leandro triangle before a large number of spectators, mostly wheelmen from this city, Oakland and Alameda. The start was on the lower road at 11 o'clock, with the following entries: E. S. Battles, 1 minute handicap; J. H. Hutaff, 1 minute; A. T. Janzen, 2 minutes; Charles R. Hazell, 3 minutes; M. J. Ballard, 4 minutes; G. Tregellas, 5 minutes; W. H. Price, 5 minutes; J. F. Hancock, scratch.
There were three prizes. W. H. Price won the first prize, a gold medal, in 37:17, with Hancock a close second, and Battles third. Hancock made the best actual time, 32:37, and Battles came next in 34:26. The race was a close one, as all the starters finished inside of 38 minutes. Janzen and Hutaff did not start. The officers of the day were: Jesse Hazell, judge; Captain Doane of the B. C. W. and V. A. Hancock, starters and timers; J. C. Luby, handicapper. The second race of the series will take place next month as the medal must be won three times to become personal property.
Chief Consul Charles K. Melrose of the League of American Wheelmen is preparing to add the maps of Humboldt, Lake and Eureka county roads to the league road book]. Victor A. Hancock departed last Wednesday to accurately measure the same and secure other useful knowledge. Hancock is accompanied by his brother, Frank, and both will ride single wheels weighing twenty-three and one-half pounds. These boys will be remembered as the two lads who carried the programmes last July to the conductors' ball, held at Wadsworth, Nev., during the strike. Past experience has proved them to be capable of accomplishing any difficult journey. These road maps will prove a valuable acquisition to the now handy road books.
Victor A. and Frank Hancock are now traveling through Northern California in the interests of the League of American Wheelmen, gathering data for the roadbook of this division. A very valuable addition to this book will also be a map of the route from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the new work commencing from Pleyto, Monterey County. The Hancock brothers are now in Mendocino County, and an interesting letter has been received from them from Ukiah, under date of May 27, as follows:
Dear Friends: We have been here since Saturday, on account of rain. It has been pouring, with a little rest between showers. We rode down from Lakeport in the rain and were sights when we came in - mud from head to foot. We went up the Pieta grade to Highland Springs - eight miles up and five down. It is the finest grade in the State and can all be ridden with rests between. The grade is six feet to the hundred, surface all smooth, no rocks. The road from San Rafael north is better than last year, from Petaluma worse, and from Santa Rosa to Healdsburg very poor, as it has dust and ruts; will be better after this rain. From Healdsburg to Cloverdale it is good. It has snowed north of here; It can be seen on the mountains from here.
If possible will start to-morrow. Lots of wheels all along the line. Mrs. George Faulkner and Miss Wilson of Oakland came up from the City on wheels, and left for Lakeport by stage with their wheels to-day to stay until the rain is over, when they will return via Calistoga and Napa Valley. We took in several members for the league and made rates at Highland Springs, Saratoga Springs, Laurel Dell and Blue Lakes. Yours, V. A. HANCOCK.
Victor A. and Frank Hancock are still touring Northern California in the interests of the revised roadbook for the League of American Wheelmen. In a letter to his brother here, Victor writes from Eureka, under date of June 4, as follows:
We arrived here O. K. after the roughest trip I have ever taken. We left Uklah Thursday morning and arrived here Monday noon, four and a half days. Roads rough and muddy. Going through the redwoods it was all mud and mostly all walking. It will be better in a month or so. Plenty of walks up three and four mile hills. We used drags with success down all the long grades. The roads for the last twenty-eight miles are pretty good.
There are lots of wheels here and the interest taken in cycling is about the same as In other places. There are two renting places. The league hotel is the Vance House.
We found every stopping place from Willits (first place out of Ukiah) and Rio Dell was but a farmhouse, all about fifteen miles apart. Here in Eureka the boys are beginning to train for the Fourth of July races. There are several very good riders, and I might mention Roberts, Putnam and Ohman. We leave here to-morrow for home, going along the coast as far as Guerneville, then through Santa Rosa and Napa Valley.
The data which the Hancock brothers are securing for the roadbook will make that work of inestimable value to all wheelmen. They secure maps of all localities, accurately measure distances by cyclometer, appoint league hotels, show where roads are good or bad, sandy or hilly, and make it so that any one contemplating a wheeling trip to any part of the State can by reference to the roadbook tell just about how hard the trip will be, how long it will take, the best conditions, etc. The book cannot be purchased, but is given gratuitously to all members of the League of American Wheelmen in this State.
City's Businessmen as Wheelmen SIXTH in Series of Sketches, Accompanied by Photographs Found in Garrets and Homes of San Joseans Who Were Devoted Followers of Sport in Early Days of the Cycle.
VICTOR A. HANCOCK, manager of the Auditorium Skating Rink, "bubble" driver and prominent Elk, was another pioneer of the bicycle, although not a member of the Garden City Wheelmen of San Jose. He was a resident of San Francisco when the cycle age dawned, and, together with his brother Frank, took to the "silent steed" like a duck to water. For several years he devoted his best energies to the cycle, and probably has had more adventures while following this sport than most riders in this city.
For four years, when cycling was controlled in America by the League of American Wheelmen, he was engaged in compiling a road map of practically every road in California, and which at that time was, and still is, recognized as one of the best of the kind ever compiled in this State. He traveled more than 10,000 miles awheel in securing the facts and figures and other data contained in this invaluable wheelmens' guide.
The most interesting experience in Mr. Hancock's whole cycling career was his race against time across the Sierras for the romantic purpose of supplying the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen of Wadsworth, Nev., with programs for a dance. This was in '94, during the A. R. U. car strike, which had tied up practically the whole railroad system of America.
The story of this ride reads like romance.
Pedaling Across the Sierras.
The principal celebration of the Fourth of July at Wadsworth, Nev., '94, was a ball by the Harry Wilson Lodge, No. 313, Brotherhood of American Trainmen. This ball was a social event at Wadsworth, and the lodge had arranged that the equipment should be complete. An order had been sent to San Francisco for badges and souvenir programs.
The printing was finished. The souvenir programs were made in representation of the end of a railway car. Opening the door on the platform, the program of dances was discovered. When the time came for the shipment of the badges and programs the strike of railway men had begun and no delivery either by mall or by express was possible. A telegram was sent by the San Francisco printers to the Harry Wilson Lodge advising the members that the printing could not be shipped.
"Do Your Best." "Do the best you can," came the answer by telegraph, and the printer conferred with Victor A. Hancock on what was the best that he could do. Victor Hancock rode a bicycle, and his brother Frank was also a wheelman. Victor said he believed that the trip could be made to Reno by wheel, and that he and his brother would attempt it.
The attempt was made, and successfully. The programs and the badges were packed on the bicycles. A couple of extra tires and a few newspapers were included in the loads, and on July 1 at 10 a. m. the Hancocks started for Sacramento by boat. The boat arrived in Sacramento a little after midnight and at 1 o'clock a. m. of July 2 the wheelmen started on their long ride to Reno, 244 miles from San Francisco.
The night was intensely dark, The riders wheeled cautiously across the bridge and were speeding along the road when they saw dimly a camp by the side of the highway. Perceiving several horses in the camp, the wheelmen desired to pass without frightening them, so they alighted and were walking quietly, rolling their bicycles by their sides, when they were suddenly confronted by a man with a shotgun and surprised by a command to halt. They stopped, but when the man with the gun saw their wheels he explained that he had to be on guard, as an attempt had been made the night before to steal the horses. He permitted them to resume their trip.
The road was easy to Newcastle, which was the breakfast place of the wheelmen. Thence to Auburn the road was rough and hilly and the heat was intense, the thermometer standing 105 degrees in the shade. From Auburn to Clipper Gap the road was still uphill. Then the Hancock brothers rode on the railroad ties to Colfax, where they slept for the first night.
Leaving Colfax at 5:30 o'clock in the morning. they passed through Dutch Flat, Alta and Gold Run. These towns had not received the daily papers after the trains had stopped and were hungry for news. While the brothers rested the hotelkeepers read the newspapers aloud to the assembled population the news of the strike. At Emigrant Gap they stopped for dinner and then pushed on to Cisco. The road was rocky and steep and very little riding was possible. At Cisco they weighed and Frank had lost 13 pounds and Victor 11 in the two days of rough riding.
The next day was July 4, the Day of the Ball. There was a long trip yet to make. At 5 o'clock in the morning they started again, and, taking to the snowsheds, managed to ride between the rails for more than ten of the fourteen miles to the summit. At Summit, 7000 feet above the sea level, a single newspaper was sold for $1, four men making up a pool by contributing twenty-five cents each.
The wheels had to be carried over snowdrifts fifteen feet deep and around huge boulders in the trip from the summit to Donner Lake, a distance of only two miles, yet a descent of 1000 feet. Still the wheelmen enjoyed the sport of snowballing on the Fourth of July. The six miles around the lake were covered in twenty-one minutes and a quick trip was made over good roads into Truckee, where a crowd of trainmen had assembled, having been notified by telegraph of their coming. The railroad men eagerly bought copies of the newspapers for big prices.
In Reno On Time.
Without long delay the Hancocks started at 10:30 o'clock, climbed a five-mile hill, slid down another, pedaled a steeper six miles, crossed the State line, rode through Verdi and then dashed over eleven miles of good roads into Reno, stretching their legs at the hotel at 3:30 o'clock. Cheers were sounded for the wheelmen by an enthusiastic throng gathered on the streets to greet them.
The programs and the badges were delivered in good order to the Secretary of the lodge of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, who took them by handcar to Wadsworth, thirty miles distant. The bicycle riders were the lions of Reno. Their last newspaper was sold and they were invited to Wadsworth to the ball, but they decided to go instead to the home of relatives in Virginia City. When they left Virginia City on the 8th they carried many valuable letters back across the Sierras with them to San Francisco.
CREATORS League of American Wheelmen. North California Division TITLE The L. A. W. road-book of California : containing measured routes and maps of the principal riding districts north, east and south from San Francisco / compiled for the North California Division of the League of American Wheelmen by Geo. H. Strong. EDITION 3rd ed. PUBLICATION San Francisco : Hancock Bros., c1896. DESCRIPTION 62 p. : fold. maps.