19th century bicycling — Gearing up for 1895

Maury Thompson
3 min readApr 17, 2024

Bicycle dealers were gearing up for the 1895 season.

“Bicycle agents are already preparing for the spring and summer trade, and, judging from the number of people who intend to sell wheels this season, Salem will have a full share of machines,” The Granville Sentinel reported on Feb. 22.

“Frank Joubert, J. B. White, and W. O. Capron have taken the (Glens Falls) agency for the sale of the Union Crack-a-Jack wheel, manufactured by the Union Bicycle Company of Boston, Mass.,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 2. “A handsome specimen wheel is on exhibition in the window of Mel Smith’s clothing store.”

In other 19th century bicycle news collected from historic newspapers of the region:

  • “Senator Donaldson has introduced a bill to the Senate requiring bicycle riders on public roads to give warning signals within two rods of a person on foot or driving or riding a horse, when about to pass the same. Violators make the bicycler liable to civil damages due to any runaway,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 20, 1895
  • “There is a great deal of interest being manifested by many local bicyclists in regard to a road race from Monument Square to Lake George and return,” the Glens Falls Y.M.C.A. reported in The Morning Star on March 2, 1895. “It is thought that May 20 will be a good date, but if the weather proves unfavorable, the race may come off the first fair day after.”
  • “It is predicted that this will be the greatest bicycle year known. There are now 208 manufacturers engaged in making bicycles,” The Granville Sentinel reported on March 1, 1895.

1894

  • “Literary stables have got to go. Bicycles have already cut off one half of their customers, and now it is said that young men are utilizing the telephone for sparking in order to save horse fare,” The Granville Sentinel reported on Dec. 21, 1894.

1890

  • In 1890, the Glens Falls Y.M.C.A. gave up baseball as an organized activity in favor of bicycling.

“There are twenty-five wheelmen in the association, and if they all join the club that is to be organized, it will be a vigorous society from the start,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on March 19, 1890.

“The young men are planning bicycle excursions to nearby towns, and moonlight rambles,” the report continued. “It is also talked of to hire convenient grounds where contests may be held, and the wheelmen can practice.”

An initial meeting was encouraging.

“The project of organizing a wheelmen’s club meets with much approval among the bicyclists in the association, and, if nothing changes the plans, a vigorous society ought to be the outcome of the movement that is in the incipient stages,” The Morning Star reported on March 22.

The club was organized with 15 charter members on April 22.

Officers included B.E. Hillburg, first bugler, and J.G. Budd, second bugler.

W.J. Seales’ bicycle with a 58-inch wheel was the largest bicycle in the club, The Morning Star reported on April 24.

The club decided that membership would be open to owners of any brand bicycles.

Orange and white were selected as the club colors.

Click here to read the most recent previous 19th century bicycling post.

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY