Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wheelmen's Fish Stories

After increasingly incredible reports of ever-shorter times on the AA-Ypsi run, the local bike club determined to winnow away the tall tales with a fall bicycle race.

At the time three main conduits ran from AA to Ypsi, all of which were dirt roads. I also believe that bicycles at this time were all one-speeds. (Googles Wikipedia): yes, apparently so; even the Tour de France did not use derailleurs until the late 1930s. "In 1937, the derailleur system was introduced to the Tour de France, allowing riders to change gears without having to remove wheels. Previously, riders would have to dismount in order to change their wheel from downhill to uphill mode."

So these cyclists attempting to one-up each other were riding coaster bikes on rough dirt roads...and racing to beat each other's times. Pretty rough-and-tumble! Presumably the cyclists eagerly looked forward to the September 1st bike race.--August 3, 1888 Ypsilanti Commercial

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