Tag Archives: bicycle

1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 2 – De Haven and Bakerstown

27 Feb

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According to this article, “the first country run that the new bicycle rider attempts is to Bakerstown, on the Butler plank…The Butler plank has been familiar to wheelmen ever since there was such a thing as wheelmen.”

This ride was apparently so popular that “there is not a bright day during the entire riding season that does not see anywhere from ten to two or three hundred wheelmen at the cozy hotel at Bakerstown for dinner.”

One of my favorite parts of this article, written on May 2, 1897, is this little phrase about the weather: “if the weather is fair enough, which seems doubtful at this writing.”

The struggle is real.

Also mentioned were several clubs such as the Lawrenceville Cyclers, the Allegheny Cyclers, and the Keystone Bicycle Club. The idea of the Lawrenceville Cyclers, in 1897, brings me much joy as one lazy way to make fun of the neighborhood today is to refer to the imaginary “bearded bicyclists in Lawrenceville.” Ironically, this is code for the newer residents from the older residents, but the even older residents formed bicycling clubs.

Since this one is pretty hard to read, I’ve left some of the local bicycle advertisements on the image for your pleasure.

This one includes the Duquesne Manufacturing Company with a bicycle factor on Third and Penn, and a retail location at 518 Wood St. Free riding lessons for all customers.

 

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1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 13 – Wilkinsburg to New Center

25 Feb

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bicycle routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

Published July 25, 1897, this route follows a road race from Wilkinsburg to New Center, or what appears to be Plum Boro near Boyce Park, where there are now places called Center Tavern, Center Elementary School, and the Center Club.

A couple of these “Popular Bicycle Route” articles have been sexist, but this one includes racist elements. While not overtly racist, the description and accompanying caricature is a sad and unfortunate characteristic in newspapers of this era.

The route takes you from Wilkinsburg up Wood St to Franskstown Ave. Continue on Frankstown “through a prosperous farming district” to the Samson farm “with its ever welcome buttermilk.” Wheelmen then take Saltsburg Road past a large farm house with a windmill in the yard, then past “a grading camp of negroes employed on the new Bessemer railroad,” into Center, the “turning point of the race.”

The article ends with mention of some of the faster racers in the area.

1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 12 – Pittsburg to Freeport and Indiana

25 Feb

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bicycle routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

Just a simple ride, published on July 18, 1897, out to Tarentum and Apollo to see the Kiski River. The article gives a description to avoid Sharpsburg, “about a mile and a half of the worst road in western Pennsylvania.”

1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 4 – Sandy Creek Road to Verona

25 Feb

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bicycle routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

Thank goodness! This “popular bicycle run illustrated to-day is one that the ladies can take without fear of tiring out, and is at the same time one of the most delightful rides in the county.”

This one takes you through the East End, then along the Allegheny river, “through the hollow so deep that the sun rarely gets there,” to Verona and back.

In order to cross the river in Verona, you’ll need to find “the old man who runs the ferry” to “escort you and your wheel to the other side for the small sum of a nickel.”

Once back in town, you’ll have some options. Either take Butler St to Penn Ave, or climb Morningside Road (maybe the current Stanton Ave?), where apparently “there are a number of women in the East End who have climbed it, but it is long and in places quite steep.”

 

1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 11 – Around Highland Park

25 Feb

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bicycle routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

The description of the Highland Park route, “probably the most delightful ride inside city limits” begins with a praise of Director Bigelow’s initiative to open up city parks, creating new green spaces and the zoo in “this smoke-begrimed town of ours.” The Highland Park drive seems to have just been repaved, after it “was in such bad condition all last season.” The article shows that there has clearly been a long cycling tradition of criticizing the Pittsburgh Department of Public Works.

“It is only recently that Pittsburg wheelmen had any place to go that was really worth going to, within the city limits. But Director Bigelow has changed all that. The coming of the parks has made a new city out of this smoke-begrimed town of ours.”

The article goes on to describe an East End rider who crashed because he coasted a bit too fast down the twisty hill and lost control of his ride.

1897: Popular Bicycle Route No. 16 – Riverview Park

24 Feb

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bicycle routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

The August 15, 1897 Popular Bicycle Route No. 16, Riverview Park is particularly fascinating as it’s still a popular bicycle route over one hundred years later.

“There are many riders who have the spirit of country riding in them but who cannot spare the time to avail themselves of its delights. To this class of wheelmen and to those who want to enjoy the pleasures of country riding for a short time during the evening, the ride through= Riverview park, Allegheny, presents the strongest attractions. The road is practically in the city and yet when once around the first curve the city is forgotten and the beauties of nature loom up in surprising grandure. This is one of the most delightful short jaunts that can be found about the two cities”

Aside from the funny language, this could have been written in a modern cycling guide to Pittsburgh.

Even the directions to the park are the same:

“The best way to reach the park is to go out Perrysville avenue to Marshall avenue. Turn in here and in coming up the main road turn to the right. It is a slight down grade then for about tow miles around the park. Follow the road around to the starting point. Riders from lower Allegheny can reach the park via Woods Run avenue.”

 

 

1897: Press Popular Bicycle Route No. 15 – A Short Jaunt

14 Dec

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During the first bike boom of the 1890s, the Pittsburg(h) Press produced a weekly Sunday series of popular bike routes around Pittsburgh. All are accompanied by a map, some images, and a description that provides a delightful snapshot into the pre-auto era Pittsburgh.

For instance, this particular one, about a “Short Jaunt” around Wilkinsburg, Swissvale and Edgewood includes this ditty:

“There are few short runs about the two cities that appeal very strongly to wheelmen, fewer that are looked upon with any great degree of pleasure by the fair sex, but there are some really charming runs. Probably one of the most delightful jaunts and one that is most popular with the Pittsburg riders of both sex is out to “Mrs. Wagner’s place,” as it used to be known. It is called the Palmer house now, or the Cyclers’ Resort, and is situated near the station at Swissvale, about eight miles from Pittsburg. There are large elegant grounds about the house and every evening cyclists can be seen lounging on the benches under the big trees after they have done justice to a chicken and waffle supper. It is a delightful place in the cool of the evening, almost charming.”

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