> OK, I'll take the bait. When the first primitive bicycle, the
> Pedestrian Hobby-horse, was first seen in 1816 in Paris,
> reasoned that since you mounted a horse from the left side,
> that was
> the appropriate way to mount a Hobby-horse. When the chain
> driven was
> introduced in England ca. 1879, mounting a bicycle on the
> left side was
> further reinforced by the greasy chain that everyone wanted
> to avoid.
> Since horse racing goes counter-clock wise, I suppose bicycle
> racing on the track followed that tradition.
I'm sure we will never arrive at the definitive answer to this question. For one thing, outside of the USA, horse races are predominantly done clockwise even in Continental Europe. Not only that, but in the USA, the famous Belmont Stakes horse race was run counter-clockwise for roughly its first 25 years. Yet, as has been mentioned, car racing at the famous British speedway, Brooklands, was run clockwise.
What strikes as odd is that track racing bicycles kept their
drive trains on the right hand side, even though it seems like
a disadvantage when racing counter-clockwise.
Fred Rednor - Arlington, Virginai (USA)