Hi all, Since the CR timeline starts with 1900, I'm assuming that the racing lightweights of 1896 are within the umbra of topicality, like "keepers of the flame" at the other end. If not, my apologies for being OT.
The League of American Wheelmen's 1896 National Meet was held in Louisville, KY. Newspaper accounts said up to 40,000 people attended. Here's an excerpt from a recent account:
"THE MEET RACES WERE A MAJOR ATTRACTION, drawing top riders from across the
country and even around the world. They broke world records that week at
Fontaine Ferry track. Participants such as Eddie Cannon Bald, of Buffalo,
and Tom Cooper, of Detroit, enjoyed considerable fame in those days. They
made big money $10,000 a year and more, about $520,000 in todays money
and traveled the race circuit in sumptuous railroad cars. Conspicuous by his
absence in 1896 was Marshall Major Taylor, a black cyclist from
Indianapolis who was later a world champion. Blacks had been banned from
league membership by a National Assembly that met in Louisville in 1894."
I also saw an 1896 reference contrasting the hearty, intrepid cyclists of the highweeler days with the "dainty pedaler of the feather-weights of 1896."
Dennis Ryan Louisville, KY
PS for your amusement, here's what a "Courier-Journal" reporter wrote about the event in 1896:
Do you ride a Wheel, he asked.
Can you discuss intelligently and dispassionately the seventeen sacred propositions concerning gears? Have you an honest partisan preference among saddles? Are you in possession of sincere and unwavering convictions on the profound question of tires? Have you in secret prayed to be enlightened as to whether the handle-bar steers the wheel or the weight steers the handle-bar? As a chivalrous gentleman do you tremble at the revolution involved in bloomers?
No? Then why continue to live?