Notes & References



These are the notes and references to accompany the print, iPad, ePub and Kindle versions of the book. There are 1600+ entries, some of them extended, making for a whopping 108,916 words. That’s far too much detail for placing in the print – or even digital – editions of the book. With so many references to cite there would have been way too many fugly, fiddly superscript numbers on the pages.

The text in quotes and bold is the text with the note attached to it. Click on the large green text to navigate the notes in those chapters. Click on the arrow in the grey box, at the base of the page on the right, to skim back to the top of the page.




1. When Two Tribes Were One

2. Pioneers

3. Mastodons to Motorways

4. Who Owns the Roads?

5. Speed

6. Width

7. Hardtop History

8. “What the Bicyclist Did for Roads”

9. Ripley: “the Mecca of all Good Cyclists”

10. Good Roads for America

11. America’s Forgotten Transport Network

12. Pedal Power

13. Motoring’s Bicycling Beginnings

14. Without Bicycles Motoring Might Not Exist

15. From King of the Road to Cycle Chic


History of roads timeline

Appendix – Motor marques with bicycling beginnings





Top quote: “Time to curb pedal power,” Daniel Meers, Gold Coast Bulletin, Australia, December 11th, 2012.

Quote from Line Algoed:

Edmund King quote:

” … horse-drawn carriages … “: And not just historians. A 2014 advert for Mitsubishi UK shows the evolution of wheels as going from stone (!), to solid cart wheels, to spoked carriage wheels to motor car wheels, missing out the contribution of spoked bicycle wheels (which were used on the first motor cars).

” … carriage DNA … “: Later motor cars, with more powerful engines, were sturdier and able to accommodate heavier carriage body-work. Social historian H.L. Beales said, in 1935, “Bicycles and motor-cars have an ancient lineage.”⁠ The King’s Highway Pioneers of Road Improvement, H. L. Beales, The Times, Dec 10th 1935.

” … automobile’s family tree … “: And tricycle, of course. The symbiotic relationship between cycling and motoring continues today with the likes of bicycle-maker Specialized and F1 motorsport manufacturer McClaren working together on making bicycles more aerodynamic.

“America’s foremost highway enthusiast … “: Amos G. Batchelder was described so by the Automobile Club of Oregon, 1921.

“Sturmey was editor, at the same time, of both The Cyclist and The Autocar”: According to The Cycling World Illustrated, Sturmey was very active at promoting cycling even while he was also promoting motoring. In 1896 he was lobbying MPs not to introduce a “cycle Tax” at the same time as lobbying MPs over the so-called Emancipation Act that in November of that year would allow motor cars to drive, legally, on British roads. The Cycling World Illustrated, March 25th, 1896.

” … free from fodder, free from timetables, free from rails … “: Cyclists might have been the first to awaken people to transport independent of oats and timetables, but motoring extended the concept. The early motorists (and many still today) very much despised public transport. Here’s an example from The Automobile Magazine, September 1902:

“The railway train is necessarily collectivism. A passenger train starts and reaches its destination owing to the combined volition of a large number of persons who want to travel, let us say, from New York to Boston. But in order to satisfy these volitions and make them executive they have to be marshaled and organized, and so, in a sense, shackled. A railroad train, with its engineer, brakeman and conductor and fixed places of stoppage, is a creature of strict rules, and those who travel on it must temporarily surrender their private wishes, or, a portion of them, in order to co-operate with others.

“The man who takes an automobile and drives it along the open road, is, as it were, a freeholder, also with some of the freeholder’s freedom — though, doubtless, also with some of the freeholder’s limitations and weakness and isolation. Still, the charm of freedom he stops when he likes, and he can be independent of his fellows.”


“Before Coventry and Detroit became known as motor towns, they were cycling cities”: Another reason for Detroit becoming Motortown was because it was an important producer of engineers for motor launches and other small boats.  Coventry was a city with many machine-shop businesses and operators, thanks to the cycle industry. Coventry’s established cycle businesses could amortise the costs of experiments and production of the first models before returns began to flow in. Coventry became Britain’s key motor city even though Wolseley and Ford, Britain’s biggest car makers, were not based in Coventry. Singer, Rover, Daimler, and Humber were the largest motor car manufacturers in Coventry (only Daimler wasn’t a former bicycle brand, but the British company was started by cyclists). Rover, Singer, and Humber still made cycles up to the First World War. Machine tool manufacturers were also based in Coventry and sold first to cycle firms and later to motor car firms. Alfred Herbert Ltd. made milling and grinding machines, lathes, drills, a hub lapping machine, and a powered hacksaw to Coventry cycle manufacturers, and to cycle firms across Europe. “The City of Coventry: Crafts and industries: Modern industry and trade,” A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 8: The City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick, 1969.

“There was nothing inevitable about the acceptance of motoring”: From “The Motor Problem: A Road Problem,” paper read by William Rees Jeffreys at the Automobile Club, March 12th, 1903: “If you say [25 miles per hour] is for ever impossible in the towns, then you have doomed the motor-car. If you draw a ring fence round the large centres of population, and, say, that within fifteen miles of the Bank of England, and five miles of the town halls of Manchester, and every other large town, the motor-vehicle must be a crippled thing … then you have ruled out the motor-car from playing any large part in the future development of this country … A vehicle that can only travel its average speed in depopulated rural districts is quite unsuitable for the needs of the age … We want a vehicle that can run at high speeds in an out of the large towns. If the motor-car cannot fill this requirement, then something must and will be found that can – underground trams, deep-level tubes, electrified railways … or some other form of locomotion … Motor-cars will fall out of the main current of the nation’s life, or rather they will never get into it, and will touch the life of the average man as little does a … private yacht.

“Most of us, both on bicycle and on motor-car, have travelled [the Great North Road]. We have come upon short strips of road, along which we have been able to speed with enjoyment, and we have murmured grateful thanks to the surveyor and the responsible road authority. Then, with startling abruptness, we have found ourselves upon other stretches the bad condition of which has driven us almost wild with desperation, and we have called upon Heaven to deal out justice in the next world to men whom we cannot bring to book in this.”

” … popularised by the ciclovías of Bogotá, Colombia, first held in 1976″:  The first modern-era car-free street events didn’t originate in 1976 in Bogotá. The first was started in 1965, in Seattle. Seattle’s Bicycle Sunday led to similar events in New York in 1967 and other North American cities. And then they fizzled out, although they are gradually being reintroduced.⁠

“… transform streets back to what they originally were: public spaces, not spaces for motor cars”:  The relatively new American phrase for streets-for-all is “complete streets.”

“Streets are an important part of our cities and towns. They allow children to get to school and parents to get to work. They bring together neighbors and draw visitors to neighborhood stores. These streets ought to be designed for everyone – whether young or old, on foot or on bicycle, in a car or in a bus – but too often they are designed only for speeding cars or creeping traffic jams.

“Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to “complete” the streets.

“Complete Streets are streets for everyone. They are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users of all ages and abilities are able to safely move along and across a complete street.”

“British rights of way expert said in 1913”:  The Rambler and the Law, A. R. Moon and G. H. B. Ward, Peak & Northern Footpaths Society, 1913.

“I’m not an Arcadian, wishing for simpler times”: Rural life may have been simple but it could also be, as Thomas Hobbes wrote in The Leviathan, “nasty, brutish, and short.” Crabbe painted a similar picture:

Go, if the peaceful cot your praises share.

Go, look within, and ask if peace be there.

If peace be his, that drooping weary sire.


Or theirs, that offspring round their feeble fire;

Or hers, that matron pale, whose trembling hand

Turns on the wretched hearth the expiring brand.

From “The Village” by The Rev. George Crabbe, 1783.

Nevertheless, there are often movements back towards simplicity. In the 1970s, French historian of technology Jean Gimpel wrote that car-based transportation systems were wasteful and not likely to survive long-term. He theorised there would be a return to more benign and appropriate forms of transport – such as walking and cycling – just as there would also be a return to cotton and wool despite the supposed superiority of man-made fabrics such as nylon. His ideas were dismissed at the time but there have been many “return to” movements in recent years, stressing quality over novelty – such as artisan food and beverage concepts. “Artisanal” coffee started out as something for the cognoscenti only but the growth of Starbucks shows that such movements can also go mainstream. Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages, Jean Gimpel, Penguin 1977

” … reliance on propulsion in five-seater motor vehicles … is unsustainable in a number of well-understood but ignored ways”: Although even in bicycle-friendly Amsterdam the Dutch government is set to expand the A10 motorway in the south of the city from eight lanes to 12. This mammoth infrastructure project plans to bury the road underground and create a public transport hub above. Bicycle paths are incorporated, of course.

“New York City which is gradually taming the motor car …”: As well as transforming Times Square into a pedestrian zone New York City is installing cycleways and reducing speed limits across the city. Traffic signals are being adjusted to give more time to pedestrian and even on major arterials drivers are encouraged to reduce their speeds with alternating traffic signals where before there might have been a long succession of green lights a long way into the distance.

“Rule 170 in the Highway Code …”: Rule 170 refers to junctions but doesn’t define the word “junctions”.

“Few motorists (or cyclists) know this rule exists …”:  I asked, on Twitter. A few people knew of the rule, most didn’t. Of those who knew, they said they had learned of the rule only since becoming pedestrian- or cycle-advocates. That pedestrians don’t have to jump out of the way at junctions is not common knowledge.

“In America, the creation in the 1920s of the concept – and crime – of “jaywalking” … : For the history of how the motor lobby created the concept of “jaywalking, see *Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, Peter D. Norton, MIT Press, 2008. There are laws against jaywalking in the US, Singapore, Poland, Serbia, Iran, Australia and New Zealand. In most US jurisdictions, “jaywalking” is an infraction, not a misdemeanour.

“When motorists do notice cyclists it’s often because they are perceived to be “getting in the way”:  Dr. Miles Elsden, the deputy chief scientific advisor at the UK’s Department for Transport, told horrified delegates at an active travel conference in July 2013 that cyclists were guilty of a number of sins including “getting in the way.” Shifting Gears, University of the West of England, July 2nd, 2013.

” … the use of cars as weapons is well documented …”:  Driven to Kill: Vehicles as Weapons, J. Peter Rothem University of Alberta Press, 2008. “Violence and the car”, Helmut Holzapfel, World Transport Policy & Practice, Vol. 1 No. 1, 1995. Newspaper columnists also often refer to cars as weapons. “The automobile industry does much to mask the fundamentally aggressive, heavy, brutal nature of our cars, because consumers don’t like to be reminded of it … But can we also all just recognise the innate power and danger of driving …?” Rosie Millard, The Independent, July 21st, 2014. “As we watch the slaughter of young people in the Middle East, the overwhelming feeling is one of impotence … Yet there is also, year after year, the violent and random termination of many young lives in this country. In our case the deadly weapons travel at subsonic speeds and have wheels. They are called cars.” Dominic Lawson,The Sunday Times, August 3rd, 2014.

“Violence may be rare, but verbal abuse is not”: For some people, cyclists are scofflaws. Not just some cyclists, all of them!

The sins of a few projected on to the many is one of factors that leads to the irrational hatred of cyclists. You really don’t have to go very far on the internet before finding this sort of stuff. Using search terms ‘cyclist’ and ‘road tax’ on Twitter, for instance, will bring up lots of unbidden hate, or follow @cyclehatred which is a collection of comments from Twitter users who feel it’s socially acceptable to write “get off my road” threats against cyclists and joke about knocking into, and even killing, cyclists.

Sometimes the hatred is spouted by incoherent dunderheads but there’s also plenty spouted by what appear to be, from reading their Twitter timelines, otherwise decent people.

The highly ingrained beliefs that “all cyclists run red lights” and “all cyclists ride on the sidewalk” – even though, in whataboutery fashion, motorists do the same – are part of the problem but the hatred goes deeper than that. It’s irrational prejudice, and that’s why in The Times on November 15th, 2012, Edmund King, president of the AA, said invective aimed at cyclists was a “road safety issue.”

King has long argued that motorists and cyclists are often the same people and that the ‘them and us’ mentality must be eradicated, as he writes in the foreword for this book. Animosity shown by cyclists to motorists, and by motorists to cyclists, needs to end.

King told The Times that motorist hatred of cyclists was “almost like racial discrimination, there is no good reason for it.”

King shocked audience members at an annual road safety conference when he read out some of the hate tweets collected by @cyclehatred. For many people, the existence of such irrational hatred against a group of folks who choose to be self-propelled on two wheels came as a great surprise.

But the hatred isn’t news to psychologists. In The Psychologist of September 2012, Bath University’s traffic specialist Dr. Ian Walker said he believes the hatred shown towards cyclists is a manifestation of more than just hatred against an “out group”:

“A report from the Transport Research Laboratory and University of Strathclyde a few years ago suggested that there’s some classic social psychology at work here – cyclists represent an outgroup such that the usual outgroup effects are seen, particularly overgeneralisation of negative behaviour and attributes – ‘They all ride through red lights all the time’. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that something of this sort is going on.

“However, there has to be more to it than just this. For a long time I wondered if the outgroup status of cyclists was compounded by two other known social psychological factors: norms and majority vs. minority groups. Not only are cyclists an outgroup, they’re also a minority outgroup. Moreover, they are engaging in an activity that is deemed slightly inappropriate in a culture that views driving as normative and desirable and, arguably, views cycling as anti-conventional and possibly even infantile.

“But even adding these factors into the mix does not explain all the anger that cyclists experience. It’s easy to identify other minority outgroups whose behaviour similarly challenges social norms but who do not get verbally and physically attacked like cyclists do: vegetarians, for example. So there’s clearly one or more important variables that we’ve not identified yet.”

Hatred isn’t confined to social media, of course. Shockjocks and columnists in national and local newspapers also like to take potshots at cyclists.

All of the hatred on social media and in the press matters because it’s not marginal, it’s mainstream. Pro-cycling MPs say it’s incredibly tough to get any truly transformational cycling policies out of the powers-that-be because the hatred of cyclists runs deep. When local and national politicians suggest making roads safer for cyclists, some of their colleagues say this shouldn’t happen until “cyclists stop running red lights and riding on pavements.”

The same good behaviour is not expected of motorists before infrastructure is provided. In 2011, 47 percent of cars exceeded a 30mph speed limit, while 49 percent went faster than 70mph on a motorway. 71 percent of HGVs exceeded the single carriageway 40mph limit in 2011 yet instead of being vilified and chastised for such law breaking, the British Government is to trial lifting single carriageway speed limits for HGVs.

Hatred against cyclists isn’t a recent phenomenon. In 2009, long before Twitter, Peter Zanzottera, senior consultant at transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave, told the Scottish Parliament’s Transport Committee: “People love cycling but hate cyclists.”

“Keith Maddox of Piedmont, Alabama, filmed himself ranting at cyclists …”: And The Aniston Star, May 22nd, 2014 Maddox was subsequently charged with misdemeanour reckless endangerment.

“This type of unbidden hate is not limited to cyclists …”: But cyclists do seem to be a hated “out group” for many motorists. It’s rarely advisable to read the comments section of newspaper websites or The hate directed at cyclists is vile, and much of it unbidden. For instance, when news stories are posted about cyclists being killed in road incidents, a great many sickos will chime in via comments sections arguing that such deaths are to be welcomed. Sadly, I am not exaggerating.

” … it is our Christian duty to … not hog the road”: To prevent conflict and increase safety, Indiana is installing “buggy lanes” on some major roads.The Indiana Department of Transportation is spending $12m adding “buggy lanes” on Cannelburg Road in Daviess County, Indiana. The lanes have been talked about for nearly 30 years. A State law in 1999 allowed for their construction and the first lanes will be in place by 2016. House Bill No. 1841 “requires the Indiana department of transportation to create and construct buggy lanes for horse drawn carriages and wagons operated by an individual. Provides that buggy lanes must be constructed adjacent to a designated highway, and the buggy lane must be dedicated solely to buggy traffic. Requires a buggy lane for each direction of buggy traffic …”

” … streets belonged to people on foot, not people in motor cars … “:  In the 1980s and 1990s, the UK’s Reclaim the Streets movement originated as a reaction against unbridled road building and the resulting car culture. Similar movements elsewhere in Europe used guerrilla tactics to “reclaim” motorways, with sit-down protesters using their own (usually shabby) motor vehicles to block others from progressing, at which point the people-powered party could begin. Critical Mass – an urban social movement using rolling protests about bicyclists’ right to streets – was born in in San Francisco in 1992.

” … the streets belong to the people …”:  Berman was a Marxist philosopher.

“Unprotected propulsion, Shanks’s pony …”: Shanks’s pony derives from the name of the lower part of the leg between the knee and ankle, the shank, or tibia. There are several early citations in Scottish literature, albeit with nag and not pony. “He took shanks-naig, but fient may care.” Poems on Various Subjects, as Robert Fergusson, 1774. In America, the term was Shanks’s mare. “A public exhibition of the velocipede was given on the streets last evening by Mr. Clark, who managed the vehicle with considerable skill… They are a toy, and will never come into general use in competition with Shanks’ mare.” The Dubuque Daily Herald, May 1869.

” … motor-centric infrastructure … encourages motorists to travel faster, which deters pedestrians and cyclists …”:  That we’ve built plenty enough roads for cars, and have not shared out the public highway fairly, is not a mainstream point of view but it’s by no means heretical. No less a figure than a former British transport minister has called for road building to be halted. Steven Norris is no lentil-chewing environmentalist: before he entered politics he worked for Ford, and ran his own profitable car dealership chain, and he was later the director general of the Road Haulage Association.⁠ Norris was Secretary of State for Transport from 1992 to 1996 and became aware of the arguments that showed building more and more roads caused more and more congestion. After a Damascene conversion, he became chairman of the National Cycling Strategy Board, quite a flip-flop. And he’s remained a road building sceptic. In 2012, in a foreword for an anti-road building report, he argued: “In 1989, the Conservative Government published the White Paper Roads for Prosperity. At its core were a series of bold assertions about the transport needs of the country. More roads were good; good for the economy, good for communities and even good for the environment. New road building was a necessity, and Roads for Prosperity promised to deliver them in spades. The reality did not turn out like that…Experience tells us clearly that a massive programme of road building won’t solve the problems the country faces. Now is the time for brave and creative decision-making, not a return to road building policies that were tried and failed in the 1990s.”⁠ From a press release to accompany the forward he wrote for Going backwards: the new roads programme, Campaign for Better Transport, October 2012





“Automobile is a Latin and Greek mash-up”: In 1899, Scientific American used the word “automobile” as an adjective, calling the Winton Motor Carriage, created by a Scottish bicycle mechanic, an “automobile carriage”⁠ in the same way that other self-propelling devices were described, such as the “automobile torpedo”.⁠ An automobile torpedo was a skiff-shaped (i.e. rowing boat shaped) motor car, usually with no doors. A Panhard et Levassor motor torpedo was driven by Chevalier René de Kyff, company director, leading figure in the world of automobiles and a former leading figure in the world of cycling. Scientific American, May 14th 1898.

“Following upon the prize given by Le Petit Journal … gaining the large money prize”: The Horseless Age, July 1897.

” … chauffeur … meant “driver of a motor car” rather than a servant who drove a motor car”: According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word chauffeur means stoker, from chauffer “to heat”, which in turn is from Old French, chaufer “to heat, rub with the hands to make warm” whence we get a word familiar to cyclists: chafe. Its meaning “to make sore by rubbing” was current by the 1500s.

The Online Etymology Dictionary links the word chauffeur to stoker.⁠ But, as with many words, there can be other derivations and there’s perhaps a good case for an earlier definition to be used. In June, 1918, Popular Science reported:

“It seems that the word chauffeur means ‘scorcher’. Over a century ago, some particularly brigandish brigands lived on the borderland between France and Germany. To force ransoms from their captives, these desperadoes grilled the soles of their victims’ feet before a fierce fire. So the countryfolk referred to the band as scorchers or, in French, chauffeurs.

“Not so many years back, when these same imaginative French were in need of a descriptive name for motor-car drivers, they hit upon the word chauffeur. Just how much ‘scorching’ of a more modern kind these up-to-date brigands of the road indulge in is best divulged by police records of fines for speeding.”

So, an early word for motorist – before it morphed into its current servile meaning – was chauffeur, and this was linked to a word for speeding. Some would say that’s apt.

“… one British Member of Parliament called motor cars “stinking engines of iniquity.”⁠”: Cathcart Wason, the Liberal Unionist MP for Orkney and Shetland, House of Commons, June 11th, 1903.

The Weekly Times and Echo said its favoured name was Greaser“: The Times, May 21st 1896.

“Petrocycle, Motorfly …”: “I feel certain that the popular name will be either the Autocar or Motor Car or Carriage.” Frederick Simms, The Autocar, 1896.

“An editorial in The New York Times had cause to hesitate …”: The New York Times, January 3rd, 1899.

“This was a policy for whole bicycles.”: Sectional Road Map of Westchester County, New York and Part of Fairfield County, Conn. Showing the Good Roads, Servoss, New York, 1895.

“velocipedestrianisticalistinarianologist”: Belfast News-Letter, May 11th, 1869.

” … noun dates back to at least 1828″:  Journal des Artistes, July 6th, 1828. Via Bicycle design: an illustrated history, Tony Hadland, Hans-Erhard Lessing, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2014.

“The Polish word for bicycle is rower”: Belarusian has a similar nod to the machine which “set the fashion to the world”: ровар.

“birotate chariot, a term used in Charles Pratt’s 1879 …”: The American Bicycler: A Manual for the Observer, the Learner, and the Expert, C. E. Pratt, Boston, 1879.

” … mustang of steel …”:  “The bicycle ranks among those gifts of science to man, by which he is enabled to supplement his own puny powers with the exhaustic forces around him. He sits in the saddle, and all nature is but a four-footed beast to do his bidding. Why should he go a foot, while he can ride a mustang of steel, who knows his rider and never needs a lasso? The exhilaration of bicycling must be felt to be appreciated. With the wind singing in your ears, and the mind as well as body in a higher plane, there is an ecstasy of triumph over inertia, gravitation, and the other lazy ties that bind us. You are traveling! Not being traveled.” San Francisco Chronicle, 25th January, 1879. Other languages had similar terms. Hungary used drótszamár (“wire donkey” in Magyar); in Mali it was nàgàso (“iron horse” in Bambara); in German it was Drahtesel (wire donkey); in Breton marc’h-houarn (“iron horse”); and in Gaelic, earrán iarainn (“iron horse”).⁠

“Penny farthing … coinage-derived term …”: The term was first spotted in Bicycle News, 7th March, 1891.

” … cycle historians and cycle collectors have softened … “: There’s an annual high-wheeler parade at the English “Pennies in the Park” event.

“Grand Old Ordinaries”:  In French, the high-wheeler was known as the grand bi and in the Netherlands as the rijwiel.

“… automobile sales overtook bicycle sales.”: Hodges, 1994.

“Motoring historians often use the term Brass Era …”: Talking about eras and automobiles, Brave New World, the 1931 dystopian novel by the deeply cynical, speed-intoxicated Aldous Huxley, was set in London some 600 years in the future – a Henry Ford worshipping future. The Year 632 A.F. was 632 years “after Ford.” London’s Big Ben was Big Henry. Faith in Christ was replaced by Faith in Ford. Huxley supposed that motor cars were already so revered that the worship of King Car could easily evolve into a religion. Aldous Huxley believed driving very fast “provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.” He liked to partake of “the drug of speed.”

” … American term for the same sliver of pedestrian infrastructure …”:  Raised sidewalks and kerbs have a long history (there were excellent sidewalks in ancient Pompeii, for instance) and, until mass motorisation, were mainly designed to keep pedestrians clear of mud and slops rather than act as a form of separation between vehicles and pedestrians. In the UK, the “pavement”, strictly speaking, is the “footway”. A footpath is a rural path, not adjoining a road.

“That’s right, in England, bicycles aren’t allowed on the pavement.”: Technically, cyclists aren’t allowed on footways. Pavement isn’t the definitive term. Also technically, motorists aren’t allowed to drive on footways but, bizarrely, they’re usually allowed to park on footways. Why? Because the offence is “riding” on the footway with a carriage – dating from the 1835 Highway Act – and being parked on the footway is no proof the car was driven there. It could have been placed there by a crane, for instance. Yeh, right.

“Way denotes moving or travelling and comes from the same Sanscrit root …”:  Ways of the World, M. G. Lay, Rutgers University Press, 1992.

“… paths are for pedestrians, tracks are for horses, I built cycleways.”: – The Imperial Dictionary of 1854 defined “way” thus: “Four species of way are known to the law :- 1. A foot-way; 2. A horse-way, which includes a foot-way; 3. A carriage-way, which includes both a horse-way and a foot-way; 4. A drift-way, for driving cattle.”

“A cobbled street is, in fact, a setted street.”: British Standard EN 1342:2001 defines a sett as a dressed block or stone greater than or equal to 50mm in depth and 50-300mm in length.

“The famous Paris–Roubaix cycle race …”: The famous pavé are setts not cobbles. The roads the race uses today are all minor ones but the race used to be held on routes nationales until, that is, these roads were surfaced with asphalt.

“The length of a cricket pitch is 66 feet, or exactly one chain.”: Gunter was also Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London. His chain became the common measuring tool for land surveyors.

“Some Americans used to spell tire with a y“: For instance, there’s this jokey paragraph from a Wisconsin cycling magazine: “While riding over the plains we were pursued by Indians and captured. One of them who had, through going to Washington several times to talk with the Great White Father, become intimately acquainted with that product of civilization known as bologna, taking the pneumatic tyres for a large and succulent variety of that edible…⁠” The Pneumatic, May 14th 1892.

“Thomson’s “aerial wheel” English patent of 1845 …”: “I claim … the application of elastic bearings round the tire of carriage wheels.”⁠ With the advent of the cycle in the 19th century, tyre came into general use in British cycling magazines. Some American cycling magazines copied this English usage while others didn’t. Thomson, British Patent 10,990, 1845.

“The bicycle … was a great emancipator of women …”:  Lilias Campbell Davidson was on the staff of Bicycling News in the late 1880s and wrote for the Cyclists’ Touring Club Gazette in the 1890s. She was the founder of the Lady Cyclists’ Association, established in 1892. This had a monthly journal, the Lady Cyclists’ Association News. Davidson was also the author of the best-selling Hints to Lady Travellers of 1889 and later the Handbook for Lady Cyclists of 1896, a compilation of her articles from bicycle magazines. These books were published by Iliffe & Son, the great cycling publisher.

For many women, the Safety bicycle of the 1890s enabled escape. Escape from kith and kin, escape from the strictures of late Victorian society, escape from tight corsets and voluminous dresses (bloomers weren’t invented for bicycling but so-called ‘Rational dress’ was ideally suited to journeys awheel), and, in many cases, escape from chaperones. Later, it was the motorcar which enabled easy illicit liaisons (especially when motorcars were made more private, with side windows, a roof and, ahem, a bed of sorts) but it had been the bicycle which had given women their first true taste of freedom. Bicycles required no fare, no feed; bicycles didn’t have timetables; bicycles could speedily go – almost – anywhere.

Women could ride alone, and many did. The majority of the entries in a diary by a young Yorkshire lady, written between the years of 1894 and 1896, show that Ms. Coddington went for long bicycle rides by herself. Nothing unusual about that today but back then it was pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable.

Many in Victorian society were scandalised by the behaviour of bicycling women, and severely disliked the free-flowing costumes many of them wore, but it was clear to all in the 1890s that the bicycle was a revolutionary vehicle, in more ways than one: it changed society. Among its many other accomplishments the bicycle hastened the emancipation of women. Many suffragettes rode bicycles, and women-only clubs, such as the Unique Cycling Club of Detroit (founded in 1894, and run from the same plush clubhouse as the Detroit Wheelmen), helped foster a growing sense of what would be described later as “sisterhood”.

This particular club was perfectly respectable – the chairwoman was married to the chairman of the Detroit Wheelmen – but bicycling, as a force for social change, was also at the forefront of a different kind of female emancipation. Lesbians of the 1890s latched on to cycling as an activity blissfully in tune with their radical sensibilities.

One of the wonderful things about cycling – then and now, really – is how it’s so adaptable, for both sexes. Men and women enjoyed the freedom of bicycling but for women it was especially liberating. An 1891 article in Outing asked “where shall [women] ride?”:

“The smiling countryside holds out arms of welcome to her, the shaded grassy road, the smooth steep incline, the bumping corduroy by-ways, the canal towpaths, the lakeside drives and the stubborn stiff hill to be climbed.”

Women on bicycles broadened their horizons beyond the neighbourhoods in which they lived. Parochial records in Dorset show that from 1890, there were marriages between couples from parishes further apart than previously. Late Victorian era cycling extended peoples’ geographical reach (better roads would help in this respect), enabling couplings from outside a confined area. Cycling helped expand the gene pool.

But women had to fight for their right to ride and were often mocked for “muscling in” on a “man’s world.”

The Sporting Life of Philadelphia carried correspondence on its “cycling department” page of 24th September 1892 which showed this mockery could descend to generalised personal attacks.

“Is It Possible That No Pretty Women Ride Bicycles,” asked the newspaper, with the correspondent answering his own question (there’s no byline but it’s got to be a ‘he’) “though the [girl] riders may look healthy and happy they possess no claims on beauty whatsoever.”

In the same year, John Peterson wrote to the Morning Advertiser to complain about “Ugly girls and bicycles.”

According to he “a women pumping a bicycle is an ungainly, ungraceful spectacle. A handsome woman would as soon think of going down town in a pair of stoga boots and plug hat as to ride a bicycle publicly. The ugly girls don’t care. They are reckless.”

Perhaps this sort of editorial mockery was off-putting to some would-be women bicyclists but, clearly, not all: bicycling was wildly popular with middle class women of the 1890s.

Detroit wasn’t the only city to have a women-only cycling club. Chicago also had a chapter of the Unique Cycling Club and it had strict rules on clothing: no skirts were allowed to be worn over bloomers. “Two members who disobeyed this rule …met with a punishment they will not forget soon,” recounted a story in The Wheelman, the magazine of the League of American Wheelmen. They had their skirts ripped from them, in public, by “strong armed members.” Club member Mrs Langdon said: “The clubs rules are made to be kept and not be broken.”

Beneath a story about this tale in New York World in June 1895, there’s a list of rules about bicycling etiquette for women. No doubt the rules were commonly breached, hence the need for codification:

Don’t be a fright.

Don’t faint on the road.

Don’t wear a man’s cap.

Don’t wear tight garters.

Don’t forget your toolbag

Don’t attempt a “century.”

Don’t coast. It is dangerous.

Don’t boast of your long rides.

Don’t criticize people’s “legs.”

Don’t wear loud hued leggings.

Don’t cultivate a “bicycle face.”

Don’t refuse assistance up a hill.

Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.

Don’t “talk bicycle” at the table

Don’t neglect a “light’s out” cry.

Don’t wear jewelry while on a tour.

Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.

Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.

Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.

Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.

Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.

Don’t keep your mouth open on dirty roads.

Don’t converse while in a scorching position.

Don’t go out after dark without a male escort.

Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.

Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.

Don’t wear white kid gloves. Silk is the thing.

Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.

Don’t tempt fate by riding too near the curbstone

Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”

Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.

Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.

Don’t think you look as pretty as every fashion plate.

Don’t go out without a needle, thread and thimble.

Don’t allow your dear little Fido to accompany you

Don’t try to have every article of your attire “match.”

Don’t let your golden hair be hanging down your back.

Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.

Don’t appear in public until you have learned to ride well.

Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor.

Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman.

Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”

Don’t throw your legs over the handlebars and coast down hill

Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.

Don’t cultivate everything that is up to date because you ride a wheel.

Don’t emulate your brother’s attitude if he rides parallel with the ground.

Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily.

Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.


“Do I really think everything has a cycling-related back-story, from roads to rockets?” Rockets, hey? The nuclear bomb was made possible by a cyclist. “I thought of that while riding my bicycle,” are the supposed words of Albert Einstein when describing the origins of his Theory of Relativity, the scientific shorthand which went on to be used in a rather horrific way.


1. When Two Tribes Were One


TOP QUOTE: “The roads you travel so briskly lead out of dim antiquity, and you study the past chiefly because of its bearing on the living present and its promise for the future.” Letter to the McAlpine family by Lieut. General James Harbord, 1946, published in Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd’s 125th anniversary brochure, 1994. Quoted in The Motorway Achievement, Ron Bridle, Peter Baldwin, John Porter, Robert Baldwin, Thomas Telford, 2004,

“Five years later some of the wood blocks …”: Asphalte is the 19th century spelling for “natural asphalt.”

“This was a test of a tar-and-gravel mix patented by a Civil War cavalry general …”: William Wood Averell and DeSmeldt, see Chapter 7. However, an earlier trial of asphalt had taken place in Washington, D.C., in 1871 by N.B. Abbott. This soon failed.

“The District of Columbia’s asphalte roads formed a “wheelman’s paradise,” said …”:  Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, 28 January, 1881.

“How is it possible for a man or woman to get along in that city of magnificent surfaces without a cycle of some kind?”: Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, 18th October, 1889.

“Suzanne Fischer, curator of The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan …”:

“For years the farmer drives behind his horse with many a bumpety-bump …”: New York Journal, January 1899, quoted in L.A.W. Bulletin, January 27th, 1899. “ The bicycle I look upon … as the pioneer of good roads. The bicycle has done more for good roads, and will do more for good roads in the future, than any other form of vehicle.” Frederick W. Wurster, Mayor of Brooklyn, March 1896.

“… permitted them to glide along almost without effort …”: The Sun, quoted in New York Journal, January 1899, quoted in L.A.W. Bulletin, January 13th, 1899.

“The critical part the bicycle played in the history of roads, automobiles, technology …”: Human power was unfashionable at the end of the 19th century. It was uncivilised, it was about to be consigned to history. George E. Latham sniffed: “The one feature which was primarily responsible for the decline of the … bicycle does not enter into the sport of automobiling. That is hard muscular exertion…” In the same issue of the magazine, newspaper magnate and pulp magazine publisher Frank A Munsey wrote that motoring, open to the elements still, was “the greatest health-giving invention of a thousand years. The cubic feet of fresh air that are literally forced into one while automobiling rehabilitate worn-out nerves and drive out worry, insomnia, and indigestion. It will renew the life and youth of the overworked man or woman, and will make the thin fat … ” Munsey’s Magazine, May, 1903.

” … chided aeronautical and automotive designer Sir Dennistoun Burney …”: “The Car of the Future,” Sir Dennistoun Burney, Auto-Motor Journal, 9th January, 1931. This opinion has been expressed numerous times. Here’s a later example: “There is no doubt that the desire to own a car is both widespread and intense. The number of people who genuinely do not desire to possess their own private means of transport must be very [low], and we think it safe to base estimates of the future on the assumption that nearly all families who, at any time, can afford to own a car (or who think they can) will in fact do so.” Traffic in Towns, Professor Sir Colin Buchanan, November, 1963.

“In part, organised cycling had a rather inglorious past … “: In February, 1894 at the national meeting of the League of American Wheelmen, members voted to bar non-whites. The motion had been tabled by William Walker Watts, a lawyer and former Confederate Colonel. The vote was 127 to 54. The Zig-Zag Cycling Club of Indianapolis, co-founded by bike shop owner and motoring pioneer Arthur C. Newby in 1890, copied the bar, which prevented local racing cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor from joining. (Major Taylor went on to global prominence as a cycle racer.) In 1895, the 16-year-old Taylor joined the African-American See-Saw Cycling Club.

In 1999, the League of American Bicyclists – successor organisation to the League of American Wheelmen – righted the wrong.



WHEREAS, the League of American Bicyclists has members from every segment of our society and aspires to an even more diverse membership that reflects the diversity of America; and

WHEREAS, in commemoration of its return to Louisville, the site of the 1894 League of American Wheelmen convention, the League desires to acknowledge the wrong committed by that convention in approving a resolution offered by Colonel Watts to bar African-Americans from membership; and

WHEREAS, the League’s bicycle racing arm disavowed the color bar and supported the rights of African-American racers to participate in the sport, including banned member Marshall “Major” Taylor, the African-American racing phenomenon of the 1890s; and

WHEREAS, the League has not been able to find records indicating formal revocation of the membership ban;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Board of Directors of the League of American Bicyclists hereby disavows the action of the 1894 League of American Wheelmen convention, repeals the 1894 Resolution and reaffirms our commitment to diversity of membership.

In remembrance of his struggles to overcome racism and ignorance, and in recognition of his continuing contribution as a symbol of excellence in cycling and of overcoming adversity, we posthumously bestow on Major Taylor a League membership.

ADOPTED at the Annual Meeting this 5th day of June 1999, in Louisville, Kentucky

Earl F. Jones, President

David Takemoto-Weertz, Secretary

Jody Newman, Executive Director.

” … cycling eventually … had a major impact on equal rights for women …”: Hmm, that is if we exclude the still-in-existence bar on women members in the Pickwick Club, founded in 1870 and the world’s oldest extant cycling club.

” … glamorous illustrations of Gilded Age “Gibson girls”: US illustrator Charles Dana Gibson was famous at the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th for his pen-and-ink representations of upper class American socialite beauties. The front cover of Scribner’s Magazine in June 1895 featured an athletic young lady in bloomers on a bicycle.

” … bicycling had done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”: “Champion of Her Sex,” Ellie Bly, New York Sunday World, February 2nd, 1896.

“Victorian livery stables complained that their takings were much reduced …”: Since the early 1890s, livery stables complained they were being put out of business by cyclists.⁠ “The most sensible and apparently the only thing for [livery stables] to do is place themselves in a position where they can retain the business that is now fast leaving them. That position is to keep bicycles for hire … There is good demand for bicycles, they cost less than horses, harness and buggies, they don’t get the heaves or the colic, and don’t require any feed. Livery Stable magazine, 1895 (quoted in LAW Bulletin & Good Roads, June 21st, 1895).

This was exemplified by an 1897 poem in the St James’s Gazette of London that concluded “everything’s neglected but the bicycle.” The poem also references the concomitant high demand for shares in bicycle companies:

What makes the carriage builder slack.

What cheapens cob and nag and hack.

While the financiers boom and crack?

The Bicycle.⁠

A Cathechism, St. James Gazette, via *Lyra Cyclus; Or, The Bards and the Bicycle: Being a Collection of Merry and Melodious Metrical Conceits anent The Wheel, Edmond Redmond, ed., M.F. Mansfield, New York, 1897.

While livery stables may have voiced complaints, economic statistics paint a different picture. In the late Victorian period, businesses which sold and hired horses, and provided fodder and other services had never had it so good. The expansion of Britain’s railway network – almost fully mature by the end of the 1890s – led to a huge rise in the demand for horses.⁠ While trains transported people and goods efficiently over long distances, the “last mile” solution tended to be the horse.

The claim that horses were history thanks to cycling was made in the 1880s:

“There is much, no doubt, to be said in favour of the horse; he is graceful, faithful — sometimes — and productive of envy in the minds of people who do not own him ; but his day is gone, or going very fast, and he will, before long, be about as useless as our Italian greyhound. The railway engine on the iron way, and the bicycle and tricycle on the macadamised roads, has put his nose out of joint. Ere long, no doubt, other inventions will come forward, as, indeed, electricity is already doing, to push the horse away altogether. Meanwhile, the bicycle and tricycle are helping each other to do the work. Not only postmen but peers ride the metallic nag, and, defying ancient prejudices, are loud in its praise, and even royal personages have joined the ranks of bicyclists and tricyclists…” Colburn’s New Monthly, 1884, quoted in Wheel World, October, 1884.

Horse traffic could be dangerous: “The police returns show that in the year 1870 as many as 124 persons were run over and killed in the streets of London and 1,919 were maimed or injured. In the last five years, 1866-70, 533 persons have been thus killed and 7,508 maimed or injured. The 2,043 accidents in London streets in 1870 occurred in this wise: 440 by being run over by cabs, 102 by omnibuses, 245 by broughams and carriages, 636 by light carts, 158 by heavy carts, 110 by wagons and drays, 257 by vans, 10 by fire-engines, 79 by horses ridden and five by velocipedes. The Commissioner of Police reports, however, that special attention was paid during the year to measures tending to diminish the risk of pedestrians. Constables have been placed at the most crowded crossings and special pains taken to obtain the names and addresses of offenders. In the case of cabs the number plate now affixed behind the cab generally suffices for this purpose; but in the case of light carts and wagons no such clue at present exists and they often entirely escape. Of the 124 persons killed in the streets in 1870, 11 were run over by cabs, 17 by omnibuses, two by carriages, 27 by light carts, 24 by heavy carts, 20 by wagons or drays, 19 by vans, one by a fire engine, two by horses ridden and one by a velocipede.” The Times, 26th July, 1871.

“The ANWB was established in 1883 as a cycling club, before the advent of motoring.”: A little bit of cycling history – the W – is hidden-in-plain-sight within the acronym.⁠ De Kampioen, the ANWB’s house magazine since 1883, means The Champion and is published today without the Dutch definite article: Kampioen is a living link to the ANWB’s beginnings as a cycle racing organisation.

” … Austrian Jewish engineer …”: Siegfried Marcus.

“In the 1880s and 1890s Montagu père was an especially keen cyclist …”: Vanity Fair, October 8th, 1896. Who’s Who 1927, A & C Black, London, 1927.

“Montagu said: “I remember coming to this House in 1893 riding a bicycle …”: House of Commons debate, 4th August, 1903

“The US Census of 1900 praised the bicycle …”:

“As a social revolutionizer it has never had an equal …”: RAVAGES OF THE BICYCLE CRAZE

It has been discovered simultaneously by the leaders in various branches of industry, business and amusement that the real cause of the hard times is not the tariff, not the currency, not the uncertainty about McKinley’s financial position, but the bicycle. Theatrical managers say they have had the poorest season for many years, and that after patient and anxious search for the cause they have found it in the bicycle craze. They say that not only do young men and maidens but older men and women save up their money in order that with it they may buy wheels. This of itself is disastrous to the theatres, but worse remains to be told; for having bought the wheels they ride them in the evening instead of going to places of amusement. They ride also on Saturday afternoons, and in Chicago a ride so universally on Sundays that the theatres, which formerly gave successful performances on that day, have discontinued them. The Sabbatarian might find encouragement in this fact were is not true that the churches are suffering almost as severely as the theatres from the same cause.

Business men are as loud in their complaints as the theatre managers. The watchmakers and jewellers say they are nearly ruined; that all pin money which the young people saved formerly with which to buy watches and jewelry now goes for bicycles; that parents, instead of presenting a boy with a watch on his twenty-first birthday, now give him a bicycle, and that all the family economy is now conducted with the object of equipping every boy and girl, as well as father and mother, with a wheel. The confectioner cries “me too” to this complaint, declaring that about all the business he does is in chewing gum, ice cream, and soft drinks, while his candies find few customers. The tobacco manufacturer says he is the worst hit of all, since few riders care to smoke on the road – for which there is reason for profound gratitude – and the journals of the trade see it is a fact that the consumption of cigars is decreasing at the rate of a million a day, the total decrease since the craze became general averaging no less than 700,000,000 a year. Instead of sitting idle and smoking most of the day, hundreds of men now ride, and smoke only when they are resting.

The tailor, the hatter, the bookseller, the shoemaker, the horse-dealer, and the riding-master, all tell similar tales of woe. The taylor says that so many men go about half the time in cheap bicycle suits that they do not wear out their good clothes half as rapidly as formerly. The hatter says so many of them where they wear cheap caps, in which there is no profit to the maker, that their hats last them twice as long as heretofore. The shoemaker says he is even worse off, for while they buy cheap shoes for the bicycle, they do not even wear these out, and they refrain from walking much in any kind of shoes whatever, so that his loss is almost total. The bookseller says people who are rushing about on wheels, days, nights, and Sundays, no longer read anything, and his business has become practically worthless. As for the horse-dealer, stable-keeper, and riding-master, it is notorious what has happened to them. They are no longer “in it” and, like the horse, are a drug in the market. Even the saloon-keeper groans, for he says that while many riders drink beer, the number who take “soft drinks” is much the larger, while the number who take “hard drinks” is constantly diminishing, which must be the case in the pursuit of a pastime which cannot be followed with an unsteady head.

Who are the gainers? An indignant “American Hatter” writes to his trade journal that the only beneficiaries are the bicycle-manufacturers, “who invest in land and government bonds, and send their families to Europe, there to spend the money that should be distributed upon this side among our own people.” He thinks Congress should come to the rescue of the hat trade and “pass a law compelling every bicycle fiend to wear a felt hat and buy at least two a season.” McKinley will, in all probability, lend a willing ear to that proposition when he gets his millennium in operation. But there are other occupations than bicycle manufacturing which prosper. Butchers and grocers are said to be doing more business than ever because of the increased appetites and rejuvenated digestions which riding has caused, and the wayside tavern-keepers of the land have awaked from a sleep of half a century almost, to find prosperity once more rolling in at their doors.

But the greatest gainer of all is the American race. An eminent physician is quoted as saying that “not within 200 years has there been any one thing which has so benefitted mankind as the invention of the bicycle,” and that “thousands upon thousands of men and women, who till within a few years never got any outdoor exercise to speak of, are now devoting half their time to healthy recreation, are strengthening and developing their bodies, and are not only reaping benefit themselves, but are preparing the way for future generations which will be born of healthy parents.” There is no doubt about this. As a people the Americans have never taken sufficient outdoor exercise. We have been a nation of dyspeptics, simply because we did not take sufficient physical exercise to develop and strengthen our bodies. The bicycle is a wonderful; builder up and purger of the system. It not only abolishes indigestion and dyspepsia, but rids the system of that curse of middle and old age, rheumatism, and thus adds enormously to the national good nature as well as to the sum of national happiness.

As a social revolutionizer it has never had an equal. It has put the human race on wheels, and thus changed completely many of the most ordinary processes and methods of social life. It is the great leveller, for not till all Americans got on bicycles was the great American principle, that every man is just as good as any other man, and generally a little better, fully realized. All are on equal terms, all are happier than ever before, and the sufferers in pocket from this universal fraternity and good will may make up their minds to the new order of things, for there will be no return to the old. The true philosopher under the new conditions was the watchmaker of the rural New York village who, when he found the demand for watches falling off, gave up dealing in them and went into the bicycle business.

New York Evening Post, June 2nd, 1896.

“In 1900, motoring enthusiast Sir Arthur Pearson, a British newspaper owner, said: “It is the cyclists who are largely at the bottom of what has already been accomplished …”: C. Arthur Pearson, Pearson’s Magazine, July 1900, reprinted in The Automobile, August 1900. Sir Cyril Arthur Pearson, 1st Baronet, GBE , British newspaper magnate and publisher. In Motoring Illustrated’s Motoring Annual and Motorists Year Book of 1903, Pearson said he was an “accomplished motorist.” He founded the mass-market Daily Express in 1900.

“John Jacob Astor, “Diamond” Jim Brady, and John D. Rockefeller, three of the richest men in the world …”


1885: 4,739

1890: 12,500

1895: 26,140

1898: 103,293

1900: 50,572

1905: 2,874

1910: 1,240

1915: 1,023

1920: 912

“Rockefeller – the oil baron who became the world’s first billionaire – made a cycle path …”: Visitors to his grand estate were provided with bicycles and Rockefeller challenged them to keep up with him. “He left them behind,” said one biographer, “panting and lost, on mad spins through the woods.”⁠ According to the Forest Hill newsletter, Rockefeller “went so far as to study civil engineering in order to design a path that allowed him to cycle up the steep hill from Euclid Avenue to the front door of his Forest Hill home.”⁠ He was still bicycling in 1913, when he was 74, “losing people on the bicycle trail through the maze of woods.”⁠ John D. Rockefeller: Anointed with Oil, Grant Segall, Oxford University Press, 2001. Forest Hill, Newsletter of the Forest Hill Home Owners, Spring/Summer 2012 “John’s Home Sweet Home,” Senior Properties Forest Hill via Role Model for a Conservationist: John D. Rockefeller’s Relationship to Nature, Dyana Z. Furmansky, 2013.

“A road that is a morass in Spring, a Sahara in Summer …”: The New York Times, 12th November, 1892.

“Let anyone drive over most American roads in the spring, with open eyes and wits …”: CountryGentleman, April, 1884. Later the same year, American Farmer wondered when roads would be as well maintained – and as well funded – as rails, but provided no plan for carrying out this desire. American Farmer, October, 1884.

“The [Good Roads] movement … was very largely promoted … by the efforts of the wheelmen …”:  The New York Times, 12th November, 1892.

“… the part which the bicycle has taken in the promotion of highway improvement is acknowledged to be important …”: New York Tribune, November 4th, 1900. In 1895, writer Henry W. Fischer wrote an article about automobiles in Munsey’s Magazine. It was headlined “The Horseless Age” and enthused about the coming age of the motor car.

“The question, ‘When will the horse cease to be a necessity for traffic and pleasure in America?’ is perhaps nearer solution than the public imagines,” started Fischer.

He quoted England’s Thomas Commerford Martin, editor of Electrical Engineer, who predicted that “carriages without horses” would be fitted with bicycle technology, pneumatic tyres and ball bearings, and would be rechargeable en route via “power wires strung along our roads to which any one can hitch his electric carriage.”

Fischer also interviewed Chauncey Mitchell Depew, a lawyer for the railways: “I imagine that one fine morning we shall wake up with apparatus ready to take us to our offices by an automobile carriage … But … I cannot conceive our active Americans adapting themselves to the pursuit of pleasure in carriages moved … by any other motor but the horse,” said Depew, who later became a US Senator.

Even though this was a magazine article about the prospects for automobiles, Fischer felt he had to feature bicycles:

“It is scarcely needful to refer to the bicycle as another important factor in the displacement of the horse. The ubiquity of the wheel is more and more apparent … the mail carrier uses the bicycle to accelerate his rounds, and the country doctor finds it cheaper and more convenient than a horse and buggy. A vast capital is employed in the manufacture of these steeds of steel … Good roads follow in their wake … The bicycle is a machine whose possibilities are still far from exhausted.⁠”

“The Horseless Age,” Henry W. Fischer, Munsey’s Magazine, May, 1895.

“Pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and motorists, all shared the usually ill-defined roads …”: According to economic historian Francis Thompson, there were about 30 million horses in America in 1902, the peak year. Farm horses consumed all the oats and hay that could be grown on about a quarter of the total crop area in America.⁠ (A horse consumes about 1.4 tons of oats and 2.4 tons of hay per year.) Add to this the crop area required to feed urban horses and “any appreciably greater numbers of horses would have been … insupportable.”⁠ (Horses in European economic history, Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson (ed.), The British Agricultural Society, 1983.)

Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner in their 2009 best seller SuperFreakonomics claimed cars came to the rescue, their speedy adoption a given. “The automobile, cheaper to own and operate than a horse-drawn vehicle was proclaimed an environmental savior. Cities around the world were able to take a deep breath – without holding their noses at last – and resume their march of progress.”

In fact, the use of horses remained common in cities for far longer than is generally accepted. For sure, horse travel declined as use of motor cars accelerated (literally) but it wasn’t a quick or even an inevitable switch.⁠ In 1873, a London stable keeper told a House of Lords Select Committee that there was a “wonderful demand for horses.”⁠ He was asked: “Do you think that the establishment of railways has very largely diminished the number of horses that are used for the carrying trade, or that it has increased it?” He replied: “I should say that it has increased it. We thought that when railways first came in that we should have nothing to do, but it has not turned out so … The horses have to work in connection with the railways; for every new railway you want fresh horses; fresh cab horses to begin with: I know one cab proprietor, for instance who used to keep 60 horses and now has 120.” House of Lords Select Committee on Horses, vol. XIV, 1873. Between 1884 and 1890, the Great Western Railway expanded its horse fleet to 1,700 animals, an increase of 80 percent. The Bishopsgate goods station, off Shoreditch High Street in London, employed 1,100 horses and 850 horse-drawn vehicles.⁠ The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97, volume 3, Nicholson T.R., Palgrave Macmillan, 1982. In 1897, London had 80,000 horses, 21,000 of which were employed by railway companies. The police estimated that 26,000 London horses were killed each year, often on the streets: “So frequently is the cry raised “‘orse dahn!’” that even the street boys are connoisseurs in the art of street slaughtering …”

In 1830, before the onset of “railway mania,” there had been 1.4 million horses in Britain. By 1902 – the peak year for the horse in Britain – the number of horses had more than doubled, to 3.5 million.⁠4

After 1902 the use of horses started to decline but horse transport remained important. Armies on both sides during the First World War relied heavily on horses. When British transport ships were sunk in the English Channel, the sea for miles around would be covered in hay.

Twelve out of every 1,000 people in Great Britain owned some kind of private horse-drawn vehicle in 1902. This compared with four per 1,000 in 1840. It was not until 1926 that the number of car owners exceeded the number of persons who had owned horse-drawn carriages in 1870.⁠

Cities at the end of the 19th century must have had some wonderful roses. Horses in British cities deposited 10 million tons of manure each year.⁠6 New York City had 200,000 horses, depositing manure at a rate of roughly 35 pounds per horse, per day. It “lined city streets like banks of snow,” claimed economist Levitt and Dubner in their 2009 best seller SuperFreakonomics.⁠7

“The world had seemingly reached the point where its largest cities could not survive without the horse but couldn’t survive with it, either,” wrote Levitt and Dubner. SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner, HarperCollins Canada, 2009.

The real killer of the horse was neither the motor car, nor the bicycle, but public transport. Omnibuses and trams – what Americans know as the streetcar – were first pulled by horses but when both went horseless, via motors and electricity respectively, the game was up for quadrupeds. In both British and American cities, the first suburbs grew up, ribbon-like, beside the tram and bus routes. Later, cars accelerated urban sprawl, but they didn’t start it. Similarly, cars put the final bolt through the horse’s head but horses were already on the way out.

Police horse census, 1897. Of the 80,000 horses in London, 20,000 were employed on omnibuses; 10,000 on tramways; 15,000 by cabs; 3000 by brewers; and 21,000 by railway companies. The Automotor and Horseless Vehicle Journal, September 1897.

The evolution of horse businesses to automobile businesses, via bicycle businesses, is featured in a light-hearted book about motoring etiquette from 1935. Donald McCullough joked:


Shoeing Smith



Bicycle Repaired


Cycle & Motor Repairer


Motor Agent


Motor Engineers

Petrol & Oil⁠

You Have Been Warned, Fougasse & McCullough, Methuen & Co. Ltd. London, 1935.

Thompson said horse-flesh was essential to rail companies: “Without carriages and carts the railways would have been like stranded whales, giants unable to use their strength, for these were the only means of getting people and goods right to the doors of houses, where they wanted to be.”⁠2

The Automobile Magazine, May, 1900. Horses in European economic history, Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson (ed.), The British Agricultural Society, 1983.

Horses in European economic history, Francis Michael Longstreth Thompson (ed.), The British Agricultural Society, 1983.

In the 1850s, London had 20,000-24,000 horses each dropping 30 pounds of dung on the thoroughfares of London each day, close to 100 tons a day. London Labour and the London Poor. Henry Mayhew, Charles Griffin and Co., 1864. Victorian England: The Horsedrawn society, F.M.L. Thompson, Bedford College, University of London, 1970.

“A 35-minute 1906 film of San Francisco, shot from a moving trolley-car …”: A trip down Market Street before the fire The film was shot just four days before the great earthquake and resulting fire that devastated the city.

“One of the motor cars appears ten times …”: Library of Congress note: “An interesting feature of the film is the apparent abundance of automobiles. However, a careful tracking of automobile traffic shows that almost all of the autos seen circle around the camera/cable car many times (one ten times). This traffic was apparently staged by the producer to give Market Street the appearance of a prosperous modern boulevard with many automobiles. In fact, in 1905 the automobile was still something of a novelty in San Francisco.”

“… in 1903, many MPs spoke against the greater road rights being demanded by motoring interests …”: Hansard, June 11th, 1903.

“Parliament’s most pro-automobile MP, Scott Montagu …”: Scott Montagu, later Lord Montagu, learned his road craft on a bicycle. He also commissioned the original Spirit of Ecstasy mascot for the Rolls-Royce marque.

“Those who designed them and laid them out never thought of motor-cars …”: Those who design and lay out modern roads don’t think about motor cars, either. Civil engineers retrofit existing roads, and design new ones, to withstand use by trucks. Even less-travelled suburban streets have to be built tough enough to cope with fire engines and heavy goods vehicles. The usual equation rolled out to test whether a road will be able to accommodate trucks is that of the “fourth power”. Tests in 1962 by the American Association of State Highway Officials found that the damaging effect of axle weights on roads was approximately proportional to the fourth power of the axle load. In short, the bigger the truck, the greater the likelihood of road damage. Motor cars, mopeds, motor bikes and bicycles are all much, much lighter than trucks so civil engineers don’t have to take any of them into consideration when designing roads. If a road is tough enough for a truck, it’s tough enough for any vehicle.

“… wrote the engine designer Rudolf Diesel, in 1905 …” For Love of the Automobile. Looking Back into the History of Our Desires, Wolfgang Sachs, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1992. Original: Die Liebe zum Automobil, Wolfgang Sachs, Reinbek, Rowohlt, 1984.

The satirical magazine *Punch* poked fun at this sense of entitlement from the newest users of the road”: “The Motorcrat,” Mr. Punch Awheel, the Humours of Motoring and Cycling, Punch Library of Humour, Educational Book Company, 1905.

“What, then, was special about the state of affairs in Britain after 1896?” asked Nicholson”: The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97, volume 3, T.R. Nicholson, Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

“Hiram Percy Maxim, writing in 1936 …”: Horseless Carriage Days, Hiram Percy Maxim, Harper and Bros, New York, 1936.

“Economists Beatrice and Sidney Webb said in 1913: “What the bicyclist did for roads …”:  The Story of the King’s Highway, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, 1913.

“Writing about the 1890s, Nicholson claimed, somewhat scandalously …”: The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97, volume 3, T.R. Nicholson, Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

Gardner Dexter Hiscox damned the bicycle, John-the-Baptist fashion”: Horseless vehicle, automobiles, motor cycles, Gardner Dexter Hiscox, Henley, New York, 1900. It could be argued that, for all the supposed “superiority” of automobiles over bicycles, an apples and oranges argument, neither have changed radically. Motor cars still have four wheels, a chassis, a drive train and an outer shell – today’s motor cars may be faster, more powerful, and sleeker than those of the early 1900s but they have not evolved to the same amazing degree as, say, aeroplanes. The majority of bicycles, too, remain surprisingly similar to those developed in the 1880s. There have been many technological advances in bicycles in the last 20 years, some of them developed jointly with automotive companies, a transfer of technologies in reverse.⁠ Speclalized Bicycles has worked with McLaren, the F1 motorsport company. In the 1990s, aero bike designer Mike Burrows worked with Lotus Sport to create the monocoque composite-frame bicycle which Chris Boardman powered to gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. The “superman” position on this bicycle was later banned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the world governing body for cycling. The UCI has put the brakes on many potentially transformative bicycle technologies, including recumbent bicycles (which were banned from competitions in 1934).


2. Pioneers


” … beneath fluttering red flags emblazoned with swastikas, a stone monument was unveiled in Mannheim …”: Such was Carl Benz’s renown, members of England’s Veteran Car Club had travelled hundreds of miles to be there and, perhaps, were uncomfortable with the Nazi salutes that accompanied the monument’s unveiling.⁠ The Advertiser, Adelaide, April 29th, 1933; “Nazis Honor Benz, the Auto Pioneer; Hitler’s Promise to Promote the Industry is Emphasized at Mannheim Statue Unveiling”, The New York Times, April 17th, 1933.

” … bas-relief of a middle-aged Benz standing beside a pin-sharp representation of the “world’s first motor car.”: Benz used “Carl” on his patents, both in type and in his signature. Many German sources also use Carl and not Karl, including the Automuseum Dr. Carl Benz in Ladenburg, nine miles from Mannheim. The official spelling in Germany was Carl until a Prussian ordinance of 1903 changed it. So, for instance, the city of Carlsruhe became Karlsruhe. Benz named his companies without prename, Benz & Co., except his last one, C. Benz & Soehne, but then this was likely a snub towards Prussia. Many other sources use Karl. If you want to read more there’s a very lively discussion in the editor’s notes on the Wikipedia entry for Karl Benz:

” … exact facsimile of Benz’s first vehicle: it has tricycle wheels.”: The Nazi monument used Carl, not Karl. Photo: This machine is a reconstruction, created in 1903 for the Deutsches Museum. The original prototype had long since been broken up for spares.

“Hitler was said to have had a “special fondness and respect” for the Benz Patent-Motorwagen…”: Automobile Quarterly, Princeton Institute for Historic Research, Volume XXIV, First Quarter, 1986.

“Marcus was an Austrian engineer who some believe had a working gasoline automobile …”: And Daimler, of course. Some historians believe Marcus had produced a hand-cart with an engine on it in 1870. In 1888 he produced a more mature automobile and most historians believe the 1870 vehicle was the one actually produced in 1888. Much of the evidence for the 1870 vehicle is circumstantial. However, the downgrading of Marcus by the Nazis was very much real.

” …  it’s highly likely that the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda ordered German encyclopaedias to wipe out all reference to the cycle origins of the Motorwagen …”: The reference by Professor Hans-Erhard Lessing is from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 18th, 2012. The Nazis also removed statues of Marcus from Vienna and, it must be admitted, did a brilliant job of erasing him from history. Few now consider him the “Father of the motor car” although he was known as this until the 1920s, especially in Austria where there were statues of him (all were smashed by the Nazis). In July 1940 Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda sent a letter to the directors of Daimler-Benz-A.G. telling them that the publishers of Germany’s two most important encyclopedias, the Meyers Lexikon and the Grosse Brockhaus, had been told to excise the name of Siegfried Marcus from the entry on the invention of the motor car, and beef up the roles of Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz. There was no need to spell out the fact Marcus was Jewish, the phrase “German engineers” said enough.

Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda,

Berlin W8, 4 July 1940

Wilhelmsplatz 8-9

To the management of Daimler-Benz A.G. Stuttgart-Untertürkheim

Subject: true inventor of the automobile

In your letter dated 30 May 1940 Dr.Wo / Fa.

The Bibliographic Institute and the publisher F.A. Brockhaus have been advised that in future Meyers Lexikon, and the Grosse Brockhaus are not to refer to Siegfried Marcus, but the two German engineers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz as the creators of the modern automobile.

“Benz – A good friend of mine paid me a visit …”:  Wilhelm Walther, whom Benz knew from the local rowing club. Walther became agent of the first German velocipede manufacturer founded in Stuttgart in 1868.

” … had returned to Mannheim with the same enthusiasm for the vehicle as mine …”: The velocipede owned by Benz was acquired from Erste Deutsche Velocipeden-Fabrik Mueller&Binder (First German Bicycle Maker: Mueller & Binder).

“I soon found out that actually everybody would have liked to ride it.”:  Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Vienna, April 18th, 1909. The interview was conducted by Adolf Schmal, a motoring journalist who had been a cycle racing champion and would therefore have been interested in Benz’s bicycling beginnings.

 ” … it’s known Benz was a rider for longer than just a few months …”: The so-called autobiography Lebensfahrt eines deutschen Erfinders. Erinnerungen eines Achtzigjährigen, Carl Benz, Leipzig, 1925 was mostly written in the first person by Volk, a geography teacher. Generations of motoring historians have treated the book as though written by Benz himself. While Volk had family access to Benz, he lived two hours away by train and, as he relied on newspaper interviews, it’s possible he didn’t interview Benz himself. The book was a rush job for a publisher. Volk drew on two earlier interviews of Benz, changing the wording and suppressing Benz’s true opinions, e.g. Benz was against fast cars and racing. The publisher’s contract was with Volk, not with Benz. At the time of writing, Benz was probably not well enough to proof read or ratify Volk’s book.

Professor Lessing has described Benz as an “enthusiastic cyclist …”:  Das Fahrrad – Vater von Auto und Motorrad, H. E. Lessing, Bollschweiler-Mertins-Renda (eds), Rueckenwind – Fahrradgeschichte, Bielefeld, 2011.

” … highly likely that Benz owned at least one pedal-powered tricycle before he made his motorised one.”:  In a letter to Deutsches Museum accompanying the reconstructed 1893 Motorwagen, Benz & Co director Josef Brecht said that Benz had pulled a pedal tricycle with two seated people via a spring balance in order to determine the force and power required for the gas engine. Addendum to letter of September 9th, 1905: “His previous experiments and measurements of the resistance against movement of tricycles on good country roads showed a required force of 40 kgm/sec2 for a tricycle loaded with two persons.” Das Fahrrad – Vater von Auto und Motorrad, H.E.Lessing, Bollschweiler-Mertins-Renda (eds), Rueckenwind – Fahrradgeschichte, Bielefeld, 2011.

“Benz’s “acute interest in the then-booming bicycling movement …”: Automobile Quarterly, Princeton Institute for Historic Research, Volume XXIV, First Quarter, 1986.

“Esslinger was involved with a Mannheim business owned by Jewish engineer Max Kaspar Rose.”:  Maschinenhandlung Max Rose & Cie. Rose, too, would be written out of the motor car’s history by the Nazis. Max Rose was the witness on the famous US patent for the Benz Motorwagen.

” … House of Bicycles in Frankfurt, Germany’s largest cycle shop …”: Kleyer’s Safety bikes were branded Adler, German for Eagle. Kleyer would go on to produce the Adler brand of automobile, which became the third best selling car brand in Germany.

” … which manufactured stationary internal combustion engines of Benz’s design …”: Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik Benz & Cie

“A newspaper … called it a “Motoren-Velociped”: Neue Badische Landeszeitung, June 4th, 1886.

“Max Rauck … claimed that Benz fashioned his 1886 chassis with no external influences …”: “This is a good fib!” said Professor Lessing in Das Fahrrad – Vater von Auto und Motorrad, H. E. Lessing, Bollschweiler-Mertins-Renda (eds), Rueckenwind – Fahrradgeschichte, Bielefeld, 2011.

Max Rauck received order no. 1145 from the then Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft on December 9th, 1936. The company’s Board of Management stated in the order that Rauck had been commissioned “to collect and sort through our historical written and pictorial material in order to set up and manage a historical archive.”

“Wilfrid Bade … trumpeted Germany’s significant contributions to motoring history without once mentioning cycling.”: Das Auto erobert die Welt. Biographie des Kraftwagens (The car conquered the world. Biography of the motor vehicle), Willfide Bade, Zeitgeschichte-Verlag, Berlin 1938.

“St. John C. Nixon claimed that the “Benz car had a chassis-frame made up of boiler tubes …”: The Autocar, May 5th, 1933

“ … every part of [the first Benz vehicle] had to be designed out of his own head and made with his own hands …”: Three pointed star: The Story of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Their Racing Successes, David Scott-Moncrieff with St. John Nixon and Clarence Paget, Cassell & Company Ltd., London, 1955.

” … they deliberately downplayed cycling’s part in motoring’s birth narrative …”: The Benz Motorwagen was patented in January 1896. The patent number – 37,435 – is said to be imprinted on the mind of every German school child. The Motorwagen was also granted patents in England (5789), France (175.027) and the US (385,087). In German, the vehicle was described as “Vehicle with gas-engine drive.” The US patent described it as a “Self-propelling vehicle.” The specification is very clear that the Benz vehicle is based on cycle technology. “Figure 1 is a side elevation of a tricycle fitted with my said improvements,” said Benz in the US patent. What was new, he claimed, was attaching a motor. “The combination of a vehicle – such as a tricycle – with a motor…” Benz didn’t go into any great detail about the engine. It seemed almost any engine would do. Griffith Borgeson in Automobile Quarterly in 1986 said “Adapting an existing power plant to an existing vehicle is not “‘inventing the automobile.’”

” … he had seen the original Benz tricycle in the flesh.”:  While Bonneville saw a genuine Benz Motorwagen it was, in fact, labelled as a Roger vehicle and is the car either bought or commissioned by Emile Roger, the Parisian agent for Benz engines in France, and who also had interests in bicycle manufacturing.

” … new tricycle-with-motor-attached for French cycle magazine … “ Sport Vélocipédique, December 6th, 1889. Bonneville, like many other cycling journalists, became a motoring journalist and was highly qualified to document the merging worlds of cycling and motoring, which he covered in a book called The Motor King.⁠ Le moteur-roi. Origines de l’automobile, Louis Bonneville, Editions S.N.E.E.P, Paris, 1949. Bonneville’s book was published after the war and after his death. It was written as a critical response to the Berlin Auto Show of 1936 which lauded German inventions above those of France.

” … Queen Victoria ordered a pair, and asked for them to be delivered by Starley himself …”: Henceforth they were known as Royal Salvos.

“The Sociable tricycle … was well known in Germany in the 1880s …”: There were long articles on the tricycle market in the mass-market illustrated newspaper Illustrirte Zeitung, Leipzig, October 7th and 14th, 1882. Illustrations also include exploded diagrams of a differential axle, patented by James Starley, and essential to the Benz Motorwagen and other early automobiles.

“Griffith Borgeson, described by the Society of Automotive Engineers as one of the world’s pre-eminent automotive historians …”:  The Society of Automotive Engineers said Borgeson was one of the world’s preeminent automotive historians on the blurb for The Last Great Miller: The Four Wheel Drive Indy Car, Griffith Borgeson, Society of Automotive Engineers, Pennsylvania 2000. “Wilful smothering of the truth” was from Automobile Quarterly, Princeton Institute for Historic Research, Volume XXIV, First Quarter, 1986. The facts about motoring’s cycling beginnings can be found, tucked away, in a few places. The website of the Deutsches Museum in Munich is clear on the vehicle’s cycling credentials: “Benz obtained some parts for his first Motorwagen from a bicycle factory: the wheels, the solid rubber tyres, the spokes, the bearings, the front wheel fork and even the frame tubing.”⁠ Munich’s Deutsches Museum has had the reconstructed Benz Motorwagen of 1886 since 1905.

“A later iteration of Benz’s Motorwagen …”: London’s Science Museum owns one of these.

“In 1893, Benz introduced the Viktoria … Again, sales were poor.”: Benz delivered 69 cars in 1893, fifteen were sold in Germany and 42 in Paris via Emile Roger. Automobile Quarterly, Princeton Institute for Historic Research, Volume XXIV, First Quarter, 1986.

“driving gear for velocipedes”:  US Patent 386,798, July 31st, 1888.

“The city of Mannheim, which famously gave the world the first bicycle, can therefore be proud two of the most modern means of transport came from within its walls.”:  In fact, Karl Von Drais was from Karlsruhe.

” … quadricycle, was renamed the Stahlradwagen …”: The Daimler Velocipede’s steel frame was made by cycle manufacturer Neckarsulmer Fahrradfabriken at Neckarsulm which also supplied the cycle-style wheels.

“Hitler had been had been a lowly bicycle messenger …”:‘bike-messenger’-hitler’s-first-service-record/

“One record showed [Hitler] had been a Radfahrer, a cyclist …”: This record was written in Suetterlin script, a form of old German, taught in German schools from 1915 to 1941.

“Hitler may have preferred to have been motorised …”:  Hitler’s love of motor cars is well known. He pushed through the provision of the autobahn system against the advice of his own Ministry of Transport (which, while liking the idea of motorways, thought railways were more efficient). And he felt motor cars – once made cheaply enough, like Ford’s Model T – would extinguish class distinctions. The ordinary citizen, once motorised, would have no need of bicycles. Opening the 1934 Berlin Motor Show, Hitler said of automobiles: “It is distressing to known that millions of honest, diligent, and able people, whose lives offer them limited opportunity, are denied the use of a mode of transportation that would, especially on Sundays and holidays, grant them a joy hitherto withheld from them.”

” … we will have to de-Nazify automobile history.”: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 18th, 2012.

” … Starley’s Rover Safety, the bicycle that according to company adverts “set the fashion to the world.”: Historians have not yet traced the source for this famous quote. It appeared on Rover Safety adverts and is presumed to be a magazine quote. Cycling is the usual attribution.

” … Theodore Roosevelt was stopped for speeding by two policemen on bicycles …”: The New York Times, 22nd June, 1905.

” … flanked by policemen on bicycles. Columbia bicycles …”: The New York Times, 22nd August, 1902. The next biggest company in town was gun and precision tool maker Pratt and Whitney, which went on to become the famous aeronautics manufacturer. At the time Pratt and Witney made, among many other things, bicycle parts manufacturing machines. Columbia still makes bicycles but these are low-end models from the Far East and are sold into American supermarkets, in low numbers, by a furniture supply company.⁠

“Lance Armstrong was voted in as number one … mountain bike innovators Gary Fisher and Joe Breeze were 11th and 14th respectively …”: League Celebrates 125 Years With Top 25 Influencers In American Cycling History

1. Lance Armstrong (born 1971)

2. The Schwinn Family (company founded 1895)

3. Colonel Albert A. Pope (1843-1909)

4. Charles Pratt (1845-1898)

5. Greg LeMond (born 1961)

6. Tullio Campagnolo (1901-1983)

7. Shimano Family (company founded 1921)

8. Major Taylor (1878-1932)

9. Pierre Lallement (1843-1891)

10. Jim Oberstar (born 1934)

11. Gary Fisher (born 1950)

12. Phyllis Harmon (born 1917)

13. Mike Sinyard (born 1950)

14. Joe Breeze (born 1953)

15. Dan Burden (born 1943)

16. Paul Dudley White (1886-1973)

17. Burke Family (company founded in 1976)

18. Keith Kingbay (1918-1995)

19. Georgena Terry (born 1950)

20. John Forester (born 1929)

21. Gary Klein (company founded 1975)

22. Earl Blumenauer (born 1948)

23. Juli Furtado (born 1967)

24. Horace Huffman (1885-1945)

25. Robert Rodale (1930-1990) Many assume Pope’s factories turned out the majority of bicycles in pre-1900 America when, in fact, during the 1890s boom years, his factories were producing only about one out of every eight bicycles.⁠1 Why do many make these assumptions about Pope? Because he was a great promoter, a larger-than-life character and never hid any lights under any bushels. The “big four” bicycle suppliers in America in the 19th century were H. A. Lozier and Company; Overman; Gormully & Jeffery; and the Pope Manufacturing Company. Peddling Bicycles to America: The Rise of an Industry, Bruce D. Epperson, McFarland, 2010.

“It was a deliberately crafted and stage-managed creation, and the Colonel was its impresario …”: Peddling Bicycles to America: The Rise of an Industry, Bruce D. Epperson, McFarland, 2010.

“Pope was a portly fellow …”: The reference to Pope as “Colonel Bounce” was made by Charles Pratt in his famous “A Wheel Around the Hub” article in Scribner’s Monthly, February, 1880. Photographs of Pope taken at this time show him to be stout but not what we would consider “fat”. In this magazine there’s also perhaps the first reference to a variant of the “your-wheels-are-going-around” joke shouted at cyclists from that day to this: “ …the irrepressible small boy shied his cap at the gleaming spokes and cried, ‘Mister, your little wheel’s loose!’”

“Pope responded: “Advertising! Big advertising! Bigger advertising!”: My Autobiography, S. S. McClure, Frederick A. Stokes, 1914. Bicycling World, May 16th, 1903.

” … Pope gave them all kinds, and billions of words were printed about the bicycle …”: Bicycling World, December 18th, 1902.

“A display of five English high-wheeler bicycles caught Pope’s eye”:  One Hundred Years of American Commerce, ed. Chauncey M. Depew, Haynes, 1895.

“When, in May [1878] Col. A. A. Pope rode circuitously from the station to the office of [Weed Sewing Machine Company] on a bicycle of English make…”: Hartford, Conn., as a manufacturing, business and commercial center; with brief sketches of its history, attractions, leading industries, and institutions, Hartford Board of Trade, 1889.

“Columbia was chosen because there was talk in America …”: This was duly staged in Chicago but in 1893. To save face a dedication ceremony was held in October 1892.

“Sales weren’t meteoric at first but momentum built up …”: In 1884, Hartford’s most famous resident, Mark Twain, bought a Columbia high-wheeler: “I went down and bought a … bicycle. The Expert came home with me to instruct me. We chose the back yard, for the sake of privacy, and went to work. The Expert explained the thing’s points briefly, then he got on its back and rode around a little, to show me how easy it was to do … During the eight days I took a daily lesson an hour and a half … Of course I had trouble mounting the machine, entirely on my own responsibility, with no encouraging moral support from the outside … In place of this I had some other support. This was a boy, who was perched on a gate-post munching a hunk of maple sugar. He was full of interest and comment. The first time I failed and went down he said that if he was me he would dress up in pillows, that’s what he would do … My slow and lumbering gait filled the boy to the chin with scorn, and he sung out, “My, but don’t he rip along!” …Labor as I might, the machine came almost to a standstill every little while. At such times the boy would say: “That’s it! take a rest – there ain’t no hurry. They can’t hold the funeral without YOU.” Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.⁠” “Taming the bicycle” was written in 1884 but not published until after Twain’s death. It appeared in the anthology What is Man of 1917. Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens.

“He became one of the leading lights in what became the Good Roads movement.”: This was modelled on the Roads Improvement Association of England, founded in 1886 by CTC and NCU. Pope had joined the CTC in 1880 as an overseas member.

“Urban historian Clay McShane describes the shift as an …”: Down the Asphalt Path, Clay McShane, Columbia University Press, 1994.

“In 1892, Pope wrote a five-page article in the influential magazine …:” The Forum was one of the most respected journals in America. Pulitzer prize winning historian Frank Luther Mott wrote, in 1957: “It would be difficult to find a better exposition of the more serious interests of the American mind in the decade of 1886 to 1896 than is afforded by the first twenty volumes of the Forum…The Progress of science and industry, education in its many phases, religious controversy, and movements in literature and the fine arts gave variety to Forum content.”

“So far as I could use and extend my influence …”: “An Industrial Revolution by Good Roads,” Albert A. Pope, The Forum, March 1892.

“This came to nothing, but four years later it was probably Pope …”: Scribner’s Magazine, June 18th, 1895.

“Pope’s electric cars were the best-selling automobiles of the 1890s …”:  Between 1897 and 1899, Pope Manufacturing Company produced 500 electric and 40 petrol-powered motor vehicles – it was the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles by some margin.

“Maxim, I believe this horseless-carriage business …”Horseless Carriage Days, Hiram Maxim.

“However, motoring historians have jumped on the fact that Pope …”: “Hartford, the Birthplace of the Automobile,” Herman Cuntz, Hartford Times, September 17th, 1947.

“The Pope Manufacturing Company began its work in the motor carriage field in January, 1895 …”: The Horseless Age, April, 1897. Pope’s automobile interests were extensive: his plants in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Indiana and Ohio – some of them former, and existing, bicycle factories – made motor cars branded with the names Pope-Hartford, Pope-Toledo, Pope-Tribune, Pope-Robinson, Pope-Waverly and, of course, Columbia.

“That his name was part of Sturmey–Archer gears is a product of company politics …”: Sturmey’s name is now recognised as the first half of Sturmey–Archer but the three-speed epicyclic gear he’s supposed to have had a share in inventing wasn’t his. In 1900, Sturmey designed his own small car, the Voiturette. This used an epicyclic gearbox and a bicycle version of the hub gear was patented by Sturmey in August 1901 (“Improvements in or relating to Variable Speed Gears for Bicycles and other Machinery,” United Kingdom Patent No. 16,221. Sturmey, J. J. H. 13th August 1901). This was 11 days after James Archer filed a patent for a similar epicyclic gear on behalf of William Reilly, a Manchester engineer who had earlier signed a restrictive contract with a former employer, the manufacturer of a basic hub gear he had designed in 1896. In 1901, Raleigh bought a number of hub gear patents, including Archer’s (which was really Reilly’s) and Sturmey’s. Raleigh was originally going to make Sturmey’s hub gear but it was found that the Reilly one was the better of the two. To save Sturmey’s blushes, and to create a more marketable product (Sturmey was one of the most famous cycle engineers of his day), Raleigh relegated Reilly to the sidelines and instead promoted Sturmey and Archer, neither of whom had anything to do with the hub gear their names became attached to. Reilly was paid a royalty of 1 percent of all sales and became a director of Raleigh’s Three Speed Gear Syndicate, but is only rarely acknowledged as the actual inventor of the famous Sturmey–Archer hub gear. Sturmey, for his part, never let on that the hub he said he designed wasn’t his.

Ironically, Sturmey continued to develop his bicycle gears (at the same time as working on automotive inventions) and, in 1922, patented a much-improved five-speed hub gear (Patent 118, 178). It was never turned into a commercial product.

The Cyclist became the leading cycling magazine …”: Sturmey was strong on technical issues but he was also good at PR. One of his initiatives to paint cyclists in a positive light was a magazine-organised campaign to raise funds for a lifeboat. This lifeboat was duly launched in December 1887 and was named “The Cyclist.” It was based in the port of Hartlepool and in 1896 it was reported it had “done good service, and the cyclists of the United Kingdom have paid the [annual] expenses … Over 6,000 individual subscribers supported [Henry Sturmey’s] fund. The movement was discussed in the press, and the public spirit of the rapidly increasing army of wheelmen was commended in many quarters.”⁠ Cycling, edited by the Right Hon. the Earl of Albemarle and G. Lacy Hillier, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, fifth ed. 1896.

“Sturmey … drove from John o’Groats to Land’s End …”:  He was accompanied by a mechanic, Richard Ashley. The journey was published in a lavishly illustrated book. On an autocar through the length & breadth of the land. Being notes on a tour of 1,600 miles, from John-o’-Groat’s to Land’s End, London, and Coventry, Henry Sturmey, Iliffe, Sons & Sturmey, 1898.

“Sturmey’s clear and obvious bias estranged him from Iliffe and Son …”: He had been one of the directors of Iliffe, Sons, Sturmey Ltd.

The Petrol Age, a four-part celebration of motorsport on British satellite broadcaster Sky TV in 2012, said Edge …”:

“His parents bought a large house in Penge, south-east London …”: 1881 Census.

“I saw that the pneumatic tyre would soon oust the solid tyre for bicycles …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“It was at the beginning of 1895 that I first heard that Charron …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“Salomons’ event wasn’t an all-day affair …”:  Foreword by Lord Howe, My Motoring Reminiscences, Edge, Selwyn Francis, GT Foulis & Company, London 1934.

“Naturally, he “rode down there on my bicycle …”:  My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“Edge later became friends with racing driver Charles Jarrott …”: “Charles Jarrott, the English motorist and cyclist [is] the winner of several of the prominent European long-distance races, besides innumerable cycling contests, has written a book of experiences with motor racing and cars since the inception of the motor car as a racing engine, just ten years ago.” The New York Times, February 7th, 1907.

“The well-dressed motorist of the late 1890s and early 20th century kept warm with fur …”:  The New York Times, January 5th, 1908.

“The Motor Vehicle Company was owned and run …”: The Motor Vehicle Company also sold Gladiators and Clément-Panhards, both manufactured in Paris by bicycle man-turned-automobile-manufacturer Adolphe Clément.

“And Swindley – who went on to become a motoring journalist with …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“He added he was “formerly a racing cyclist …”:  In 1900, Edge had formed the British Motor Traction Company, a reconstruction of Lawson’s British Motor Syndicate of 1895 (this had sought to monopolise the nascent motor-car industry by accumulating motor vehicle patents). Edge’s attempt at a monopoly failed after a legal challenge in 1901 by Charles Friswell of the Automobile Mutual Protection Association and several motoring companies (Friswell’s first business was a bicycle shop).

“I had taken part in more than one of them myself …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

” … Hotel Cecil, London’s largest, swankiest hotel …”: The Hotel Cecil, built 1890–96, was one of London’s biggest and grandest hotels. It was situated between the Thames Embankment and the Strand in London. The hotel was partially demolished in 1930. The Strand facade remains, part of 80 The Strand.

“Representatives of motoring and cycling organisations were present to witness the ceremony …”: The chair for the evening was Prince Francis of Teck and the vice-chairs included former cycle racer, exec for Raleigh and then motor car executive Frank Shorland; Frank Bowden of Raleigh; Walter Phillips, a cycle racer turned bicycle manufacturer (he worked for Humber bicycles which was Britain’s second biggest motor car manufacturer by 1913); and Albert Eadie of Eadie Manufacturing (the “Emperor of Redditch”), a bicycle manufacturer since 1892. Eadie Manufacturing later made motorbikes, too. Organisations present included the Royal Automobile Club, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the Cycle and Motor Trades Association and the Automobile Club de France.

“The banquet, the royal guests, the Légion d’honneur …”:  The Légion d’Honneur was presented to Du Cros by Adolphe Clément, the bicycles-to-automobiles entrepreneur. A few days after the banquet it was revealed Du Cros had also been presented with the Order of Isabella la Catolica, an honour from the King of Spain. Souvenir of the Pneumatic Tyre Majority Celebration, 1888-1909, The Cycle Trades Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1909.

“John Boyd Dunlop … is still famous, his name living on as a sports brand, which is ironic, given Dunlop’s hypochondria.”: Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur du Cros, 1938

“Air-filled tyres for road-going vehicles had been introduced in 1845 …”: 23-year old Robert William Thomson patented his “Aerial Wheels” on December 10th, 1845, G.B. Patent No 10990. These air filled tyres were meant for horse-drawn carriages and, he predicted, for track locomotives, too. Carriages shod with Thomson’s invention were demonstrated in Regents Park, London in 1847.

“Dunlop gave his name to the tyre brand and his face to the company’s first logo but it was Du Cros …”: At the banquet, Du Cros was presented with a carved casket, containing signatures and messages from nearly 1000 individuals from around the world connected with the cycle and motor car industries. The casket’s address read, in part: “We desire … to express to you our firm belief that in fostering…the infancy of the pneumatic tyre, you largely contributed to the rapid growth of the cycle and motor industry…and thus added largely to the sources of our national wealth and the wealth of other nations.”⁠

One of those to give a toast at the evening was Chevalier René De Knyff, a former bicycle racing manager, and friend to many of the top racing cyclists of the 1890s. He was at the banquet because of his friendship with Du Cros, and due to his ambassadorial role with the Automobile Club de France, the world’s oldest motoring organisation, which he had helped found.

He told the guests: “All of you who have been associated with the movement from its earliest stages, as has been my privilege, as cyclists and as motorists, can appreciate the invention placed at our disposal as the result of the genius of Dunlop…but we all know from experience that the merit of an invention is not sufficient to place it in the position that it deserves … Mr Harvey Du Cros was the one who placed himself in the forefront of the Pneumatic Tyre Industry.”

Knyff also reminisced about cycle racing: “I can still recall, as if it were yesterday, on the Courbevoie Track, his sons Arthur and Harvey, taking part in the bicycle races, and surprising all competitors by beating them easily.” Souvenir of the Pneumatic Tyre Majority Celebration, 1888-1909, The Cycle Trades Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1909.

Du Cros Snr was a fine sportsman who came to cycling relatively late in life. He pushed his six sons into cycle racing, becoming their manager and promotor. He later claimed to have finished a race a yard in front of the top rider of the day, but with a twinkle in his eye, would also reveal that he’d been sitting on the front of the top rider’s tandem tricycle at the time.⁠ The top rider was A.J. Mecredy, the cycle journalist who became a motoring journalist – he owned and edited a bicycle magazine and later a motoring magazine – and who was also a Dunlop shareholder and promoter. Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur du Cros, 1938

“As well as noting that “the pneumatic tyre will be almost indispensable for ladies, and persons with delicate nerves,” Du Cros added…”: Prospectus of Pneumatic Tyre and Booth’s Cycle Agency Ltd., November 18th, 1889.

“Pneumatic tyres were critical to the rapid uptake of motoring, but they were not developed for motor cars …”: Cycle and motor pioneer H.O. Duncan said there were “over 500 different patents for new tyres…deposited with the patent office … at this time [1890].” The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“Dunlop’s 1888 patent said pneumatics were for use on bicycles …”: GB patent no. 10607, petitioned by John Boyd Dunlop on July 23rd, 1888 and granted October 31st, 1888: “An improvement in Tyres of wheels for bicycles, tricycles, or other road cars. To afford increased facilities for the passage of wheeled vehicles – chiefly of the lighter class such for instance as velocipedes…over roadways and paths especially when these latter are of rough or uneven character as also to avoid the sinking of the wheels into the ground when travelling over boggy soil or land [and for when] immunity from vibration is desired to be secured, and at the same time ensuring increased speed in travelling…In carrying out my invention I employ a hollow tyre or tube made of India-rubber with cloth canvas, or other suitable material adapted to withstand the pressure of air introduced and contained within the tube tyre as hereunder mentioned said tube or type to contain air under pressure or otherwise and to be attached to the wheel or wheels in such a method as may be found most suitable.”

“Du Cros came to realise the worth of riding on air because two of his sons …”:  This was Willie Hume riding in races at the North of Ireland Cricket Club in Belfast May 18th 1889. Arthur Du Cros beat Hume in a follow-up race; Du Cros on solid tyres, Hume on pneumatics. Du Cros said there was no definitive opinion, for some months, on whether pneumatics were faster than skinny “bootlace” solid tyres. Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur Du Cros, 1938.

“Dunlop’s first pneumatic tyre had been made and tested in Belfast … large and successful practice …”: Dunlop employed 12 horse shoers.

“By 1887, Boyd Dunlop had done so.”: Boyd Dunlop used wooden disc wheels of his own making to test his first linen canvas and sheet rubber tyres. Johnnie Dunlop tested the third set of tyres on his specially-constructed bicycle on February 28th, 1888, between 10 and 11pm. There was an eclipse of the moon at 11pm.

“As fitting pneumatics required new frame and fork shapes … the English bicycle industry remained sniffy about pneumatics …”: Cycling writer W. Fitzwater Wray, later said: “In ’88 solid tyres were relegated to the ‘pram,’ and an Irishman put a buffer of compressed air between the cyclist and the rocky road to Dublin.”⁠ Kuklos Papers, W. Fitzwater Wray, J.M. Dent & Sons, London, 1927. 1888 may have been when pneumatics were introduced but it took some years before solids were relegated to prams alone.

“ANTI-VIBRATION. Look out for the new …”: The first commercially-available air tyres were made by bicycle maker W. Edlin & Co of Belfast. Will Edlin was the son of Robert Edlin, owner of the Emperor Bicycle Works of Leicester: Edlin Snr supplied Edlin Jnr with the raw materials to make the commercially available pneumatic tyres. W & A Bates & Co was the Leicester rubber company which had been one of the first to make solid rubber tyres for bicycles.⁠ Bates had been founded in 1863 as a maker of rubber thread, diversifying into bicycle tyres in 1882, making solid tyres for high-wheelers and later Safeties. The company exported all over the world and was later absorbed by Dunlop.

“These fifty bicycles, promoted for their comfort rather than speed, sold with “spontaneous success” …”: “Early days.” Trade brochure by Edlin-Sinclair Ltd., Birmingham, November 19th, 1909.

“Bowden and Gillies asked the well-connected Du Cros to form a company with them …”: The name was changed to Pneumatic Tyre Co. Ltd in 1893 and to Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. Ltd. in 1896.

“He later sold the majority of his shares … and, in a great many letters to the press, spread misinformation …”:  John Boyd Dunlop’s daughter, Jean McClintock, popularised some of her father’s misinformation in The History of the Pneumatic Tyre of 1923. Sir Arthur Du Cros, author of a biography of the Dunlop company, was also prone to inexactitude and also somewhat naive, allowing himself to be drawn into the orbit of a succession of less than honest company promoters. The riches he and his father had built were up were largely gone by the time of his death in 1955.

Dunlop, on the other hand, invested some of his pneumatic tyre money – and money from his successful veterinary practice – in a merino sheep farm in Australia. This proved to be a wise investment. Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur Du Cros, 1938.

“It made sense to be where most of the customers were based … so the Dunlop factory was reopened in Coventry …”: The factory was later moved to Birmingham, and named Fort Dunlop.

“Du Cros Snr. brought his sons into the fledgling business.”: Arthur Du Cros enthused: “When I first rode [a pneumatic] over the streets of Dublin it took me just one turn round Nelson’s pillar to be convinced that granite setts and rough surfaces had lost their terrors for good and all … I was on velvet …”⁠ Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur du Cros, 1938.

“This was “one of the most disagreeable days of my existence,” admitted Du Cros.”: Souvenir of the Pneumatic Tyre Majority Celebration, 1888-1909, The Cycle Trades Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1909.

“By graft and guile, he acquired the patents for detachable tyres …:”  “All those who use a cycle, an automobile or an aeroplane should know of Charles Kingston Welch, for it is a thousand to one that the detachability of their tyres is the product of this man’s brain.” Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur Du Cros, 1938. Du Cros Snr said he discovered Welch and his work on the clincher by watching “the Patent Office as well to see what might come out … One day we saw the patent of Mr. Welch … We did not know Mr. Welch, and we visited his house, but it was locked, bolted and barred. We put a man on to wait his return. Our patience was rewarded …” Souvenir of the Pneumatic Tyre Majority Celebration, 1888-1909, The Cycle Trades Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1909.

“Thinking he had a valid patent [Du Cros] set out to found the pneumatic tyre industry.”:  E. J. O’Reilly was the editor of trade magazine Wheeling of London (a magazine published from 1884 to 1901). He was also the president of the Irish Cyclists’ Association and was on the Council of the British Olympic Association (as was motor-mad Lord Montagu of Beaulieu) in 1908. O’Reilly was with Harvey Du Cros (an earlier president of the Irish Cyclists’ Association) when he was writing the prospectus for the first Dunlop company. Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur du Cros, 1938.

“At the banquet given in his honour, Du Cros said that …”: Patent agents Hasaltine, Lake & Co of London made “exhaustive searches” on Dunlop’s original patents to “ascertain if the said patents and Inventions have been anticipated, and they have reported satisfactorily as to same.” Prospectus of Pneumatic Tyre and Booth’s Cycle Agency Ltd., 1889.

“Pneumatics were “smackable,” said Duncan.”:  The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“By 1895, thanks to Du Cros, pneumatics had cornered the market.”:



Solid tyres: 1,543

Cushion tyres: 1

Pneumatics: 20



Solid tyres: 307

Cushion tyres: 511

Pneumatics: 148



Solid tyres: 42

Cushion tyres: 221

Pneumatics: 1066



Solid tyres: 20

Cushion tyres: 7

Pneumatics: 1,588

Souvenir of the Pneumatic Tyre Majority Celebration, 1888-1909, The Cycle Trades Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1909.

“In 1893, Du Cros Snr. created the John Griffiths Cycle Corporation …”: The John Griffiths Cycle Corporation, created by the Pneumatic Tyre Company Ltd. and named for the company’s first secretary, had outlets in 32 British and Irish cities, as well as on the Continent and in the Colonies. (Dublin had four branches; Newcastle had two, Brussels had one, and there two in London, one in Knightsbridge, as well as the head office on 111 Queen Victoria Street). The John Griffiths Cycle Corporation was a major advertiser in the burgeoning cycle press of the 1890s, describing itself as the “World’s Largest Cycle Dealers”. Following the market collapse in 1897 the corporation folded in February 1898.

John Griffiths had been the manager of Booth Brothers and later became the secretary and general manager of the Pneumatic Tyre and Booth’s Cycle Agency.

“Du Cros later diversified, taking on cycle and car agencies …”: Advice for his diversification into car distribution came from cyclists Harry Lawson and Selwyn Edge who “guided him to a number of motor deals, agencies and patent rights.”

“Sniffing the wind, in 1895 the brothers produced a set of pneumatic tyres for motor-car  use.”: The 19th century rubber industry was responsible for a great many wrongs, as recounted in Joe Jackson’s The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire Penguin, 2008:

“[During the 1860s] rubber had become essential for war. In addition to its many uses in railroads and steam engines, military catalogues of the era show new designs using rubber for shoes and boots, blankets, hats, coats, pontoon boats, bayonet guards, tents, ground sheets, canteens, powder flasks, haversacks, and buttons. Rubberized silk was used for military balloons. War also created a boom in reconstructive surgery using hard rubber teeth, nose pieces, and custom-molded prosthetics…

“The 1890s would be the decade of the bicycle. The seven million bicycles found worldwide in 1895 used most of the world’s rubber, a boom that would not have occurred if not for the invention of the “pneumatic rubber tyre.”…The market was flooded with steel tubes, ball bearings, variable speed gears, and high-quality chains. Above all else, it was flooded with replaceable rubber tires and inner tubes, mass-produced in the factories of Dunlop in Birmingham, England; Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand, France; and Pirelli in Milan, Italy. The bicycle was cheap and popular. People suddenly had a means of freedom that had been unknown.”

This rubber came from several species of latex-bearing trees, the finest of which was Hevea, found scattered throughout the Amazonia and the Congo. Rubber barons inflicted great sufferings on people in these regions in order to produce the precious rubber.

“During the fifteen years of Belgian King Leopold’s stewardship, the population of the Congo Free State dropped from 25 million to 10 million—15 million dead for approximately 75,000 tons of rubber. That equaled one life per every 5 kilograms. In 1907, similar evils came to light on the Upper Amazon. The Putamayo is a vast area around a river of the same name, which runs through territory that was disputed between Peru and Colombia; the river joins the Amazon near the western border of Brazil… Slavers rounded up entire tribes and forced them to work on rubber plantations… Rubber baron Julio Cesar Araña’s company “systematically employed terror and torture against it native work force for higher profits. The Indians were beaten, mutilated, tortured, and killed as punishment for “laziness” or the amusement of bored overseers. Women and girls were raped, the elderly were killed when they could no longer work, and children’s brains were bashed out against trees…The Huitoto, Boras, Andokes, and Ocainas were flogged till their bones showed. They were denied medical treatment, left to die, then eaten by the company’s dogs. They were castrated. They were tortured by fire by water, by being tied head-down, and by crucifixion. Their ears, fingers, arms, and legs were lopped off with machetes. Managers used them for target practice and set them afire with kerosene on the Saturday before Easter as human fireworks for the Saturday of Glory. Whole tribal groups were exterminated if they failed to produce sufficient rubber. Julio Araña’s peak production of 1.42 million pounds of smoked Putamayo rubber cost thirty thousand lives.”

“The “Michelin man” came to life in 1897 as an upper-crust soak made out of white bicycle tyres …”:  Bicycle and automobile tyres were not universally black until after 1912. Hancock and Goodyear prescribed mixing lampblack into rubber in their patents dating from 1830, but it was S.C. Mote, chief chemist of the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works in Silverton, England, who discovered, in 1904, that the carbon black used as a pigment by ink makers had some reinforcement capabilities in rubber. In 1912, the Diamond Rubber Co. of Akron, Ohio, acquired the rights to the use of the material from Mote’s company. Carbon black replaced zinc oxide as the reinforcing agent in rubber. The colour of natural rubber was off-white and many 1890s bicycle and automobile tyres were white, that is, uncoloured. In the 1870s and 1880s solid cycle tyres were available in a mix of colours: “red, black, and gray being in use … the red has the advantage in looks, and the gray is the purer, and shows muddiness and dust less,” said C.E. Pratt in The American Bicycler: A Manual for the Observer, the Learner, and the Expert, of 1879.

“Bibendum was drawn by Marius Rossillon …”: The slogan Nunc est bibendum (Now is the time to drink) is taken from Horace’s Odes (book I, ode xxxvii, line 1). The original Bibendum was a regal figure drawn for a German brewery hence the phrase “Now is the time to drink.” Bibendum spoke for the first time at a Paris cycle show in December 1898. A cabaret comedian crouched behind a cardboard cut-out of Bibendum and entertained the crowds with banter.

“The rivals – presumably deflated by the broken glass and nails held aloft in a champagne goblet by Bibendum  – were …”: “C’est à dire: À Votre Santé. Le pneu Michelin Boit L’Obstacle,” or “That is to say, to your health. The Michelin tyre drinks up obstacles.”

“Motoring historian Timothy Nicholson wrote in 1982 that “Lawson … did more than anyone else to create public opinion on the motor car …”: The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97 volume 3, T.R. Nicholson, Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

“In his 1926 book on motoring history, upper-class motor pioneer and cycle racing champion Herbert Duncan called Lawson …”: The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

Wheeling in 1885 called Lawson the “wheeling inventor … favourably known in the trade.”:  Wheeling, January 28th, 1885.

“The patent was sketchy and light on detail …”: Patent No 3913, 27th September 1880. “Improvements in Velocipedes and the application of Motive Power thereto, such improvements being also applicable to Tram Cars, Traction Engines and other Road Locomotives,” Henry J. Lawson.

“Energetic, extroverted and brimming with self-confidence …”: Lawson acted as a “straw man” for a number of Hooley’s speculations.

“Edge … painted a rare, post-1900 positive picture of the man …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“In a full-page advertorial in *The Times* of May 1896 …”:  Presumably the advert was paid for by Lawson’s Motor Car Club or one of its many satellite companies. The Times, May 21st, 1896. “In conjunction with Mr. Hughes, the locomotive manufacturer of Loughborough,⁠ he also invented the first motive-power tricycle …” Hughes’s Locomotive & Tramway Engine Works was later taken over by the company that made the Brushmobile electric car in Hughes’s Loughborough works. A 1904 Brushmobile was one of the main vehicles used in the spoof horror comedy Carry on Screaming of 1966.

“The Weekly Times and Echo said: “We have already seen what the introduction of the cycle has done to restore the popularity of the country roads and lanes …”: Another extract, from the Financial News, included in the advertorial in The Times, contained no material about motor cars whatsoever but was all about bicycles:

“Everywhere in the Midlands the shops are well employed, and most of them are literally stuffed with orders. The same story is told in all the cycle towns – at Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, and Redditch … Some really extraordinary stories are told at Coventry about the trade – that orders are absolutely refused … At all the factories overtime continues to be worked, and the artisans are sharing in the general prosperity of the industry … This morning the Birmingham Stock Exchange was rampant. The business of shares of cycle and cycle tube making companies opened with vigour, and during the morning the number of transactions was almost unprecedented … The excitement reached a point that is seldom witnessed, and where, in ordinary circumstances, there would be one buyer, to-day there were twenty.”

“The Board was created by the Liberal government of the day to administer the money raised from the Road Fund …”:  “Road tax” is in, fact, an excise duty on the ownership of a motor vehicle. The clue is in the name: Vehicle Excise Duty. Many people might think it so but it is not a “tax” on use of roads and never has been. Today, VED is based on vehicle emissions and, technically, is called Graduated Vehicle Excise Duty. GVED too much of a mouthful? Use car tax.

“This tax (in fact, it’s a duty, a slightly different thing) was no longer operational by 1927 …”: Roughly speaking, a duty is a charge levied on goods; a tax is charge levied on individuals. “The hypothecation of vehicle excise duty was abolished in the 1930s, although the excise licence is still sometimes mistakenly referred to as a ‘road fund licence’.” A brief history of registration, DVLA, 2006. HC Deb 28 April 1936 vol 311 cc761-813

“The Road Fund was created to pay for the damage done to the roads by the growing number of motorists.”: The Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, said in 1909 that motorists were “willing, and even anxious,” to pay for “the improvement of the roads.”⁠ Budget speech of then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lloyd George, April, 1909: “The brunt of the expense at the beginning must be borne by motorists, and to do them justice they are willing, and even anxious, to subscribe handsomely towards such a purpose, so long as a guarantee is given in the method and control of the expenditure that the fund so raised will not merely be devoted exclusively to the improvement of the roads, but that they will be well and wisely spent for that end.”

“Chaired by a dictatorial railway man, the Road Board was …”: The first and only Chair of the Road Board was Sir George Gibb, previously General Manager of the North Eastern Railway. Jeffreys despised him (the feeling was mutual) and later mocked the body. “The Road Board failed to find a permanent place in the British machinery of government. It attracted the hostility of Parliament. The general public and the road users were never interested in its activities. The Board was considered as an interloper by old established central government departments. The Treasury were opposed in principles to its financial foundations. The Board made but few friends among the highway authorities it was created to help.” The King’s Highway, William Rees Jeffreys, Batchworth Press, 1949.

“Why did the Board neglect to build any of the new roads …?”: The King’s Highway, William Rees Jeffreys, Batchworth Press, 1949.

“Payment of the Ministry of Transport’s Motor Licence Duty …”: The round discs that denoted payment of Motor Licence Duty were known as Road Fund Licences in the 1920s and 1930s and, even today, many motoring professionals refer to “road tax” and Road Fund Licences, and RFLs. There has never been any printed mention of “road tax” on British excise duty discs. However, between 1923 and 1938 the discs – for security – contained faint, repeated mentions of the phrase “Road Fund Licence.” Great Britain Road Tax Discs 1921-2000, R.H. Champion, E.J. Hitchings and M. Brice, Revenue Society, 2001.

“Cyclists … are believed by many to be “tax dodgers,” and to have no rights to be on roads, which are said to be “paid for by motorists”:

“The conception of the construction of wide, new roads in this country is due to Mr. W. Rees Jeffreys …”: H. Percy Boulnois, City Engineer of Liverpool, letter in The Surveyor, 1925.

“Lloyd George described Jeffreys in the same speech as “the greatest authority on roads …”: The King’s Highway, Rees Jeffreys, Batchworth Press, 1949.

“According to him, the “road problem [would] be solved only by the construction of roads suitable for rapid traffic …”: Motoring Illustrated’s Motoring Annual and Motorists Year Book, 1903.

“When Parliament researched roads …”: This was the departmental committee on highways administration of 1903. He was also a witness on the Royal commission on motor cars of 1905, the Royal commission on London traffic, also of 1905, and a great many others in following years.

“The trade magazine added that “Mr. Rees Jeffreys is associated with cycling as well as with automobilism …”: Commercial Motor, June 8th, 1905.

“In a motoring yearbook for 1903 Jeffreys said he had toured “awheel in eleven countries …”: Motoring Illustrated’s Motoring Annual and Motorists Year Book, 1903.

“Few reforms brought so much direct benefit to the people as a whole as that which in so few years made the British roads dustless …”: The King’s Highway, Rees Jeffreys, Batchworth Press, 1949.

“The institution’s motto … was suggested by Professor Edwin Cannan …”:

“Cannan never walked if he could cycle …”: The professor used bicycle analogies in his economics works: “If you happen to meet the hotel ostler riding the bicycle which you deposited with him, you recognize it and complain …”).⁠ “Edwin Cannan,” Economic Journal 45, A. L. Bowley, 1935. The Meaning of Bank Deposits, Edwin Cannan, 1921.

“It should be left to an ‘authoritative and impartial body’ …”: Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, 4th edition, ed., Harmsworth, Sir Alfred C., Longmans Green & Co, London, 1906.

“The CTC man got the first chance to put his view before Parliament during a Highways Committee research meeting …”: The Departmental Committee on Highways started hearing evidence on April 2nd, 1903.

“Rees Jeffreys told the committee: “… a certain sum should be allocated …”: “Maintenance and construction of main roads in England.” Cyclists’ Touring Club Gazette, October 1900.

“After two years unremitting labour the Roads Improvement Association have induced His Majesty’s Government to …”: “The movement for wider and better roads,” CTC Gazette, February, 1903.

“Jeffreys used his cycle touring experience to flesh out his evidence …”: Minutes of evidence, Departmental Committee on Highways, first day, Thursday 2nd April, 1903.

“I am in touch with the feelings of automobilists and cyclists …”: Royal Commission on London Traffic, evidence February 26th, 1904.

“While he was sympathetic to cyclists, he was less mindful of the needs of pedestrians …”: “The Motor Problem: A Road Problem,” A paper read at the Automobile Club, Piccadilly, Thursday March 12th, 1903.

“He had called it the Royal Road to Windsor.”: Surveyor and Municipal and County Engineer, November, 1901.

“In a delicious irony that would have tickled Jeffreys, Marples was a touring cyclist …”: Marples’ civil engineering firm was Marples, Ridgway and Partners. He was transport minister from 1959 to 1964. In 1975, Marples, who had by then been made a baron, fled the country in rather a hurry, not because of his hushed-up proclivity for prostitutes, his introduction of double yellow lines and traffic wardens, or the conflict of interest in building motorways at the same time as cutting Britain’s rail network (the infamous Beeching cuts were his work) but because of tax evasion. Marples and his wife both cycle toured, mostly in France.

“The Michigan Department of Transportation recognises Horatio Earle …”: A plaque honouring Earle can be found in Lansing, Michigan: HORATIO EARLE – In 1905, the year the State Highway Department was created, Michigan roads were quaqmires of sand, mud, and clay that trapped horse-drawn vehicles and early automobiles alike. Bicycle clubs, such as the League of American Wheeelmen, led the effort to “reform” roads nationwide. In Michigan, the first state highway commissioner, Horatio “Good Roads” Earle (1855-1935), a bicyclist himself, vowed to conquer “the Mighty Monarch Mud.” A former state senator, Earle served as state highway commissioner until 1909. Known as “the Father of Good Roads,” Earle helped open the state to commerce and tourism. Monuments were erected in Cass City and Mackinaw City in his honor. Although appreciative, Earle stated “the monument I prize most is not measured by its height, but its length in miles.”

Paternity is often disputed. Westchester County, New York politician Joseph B. See was “a father of Good Roads,” reported The New York Times in 1895.⁠ The New York Times, December 8th, 1895. Twenty-one years later, Senator John Hollis Bankhead – grandfather of 1930s Hollywood actress Tallulah Bankhead – was called the “Father of Good Roads in the United States Senate.”⁠ Bankhead Highway, Grand Prairie Significant Landmark, Site Medallion No. 80 High-wheel rider Paul Niquette told NBC’s The Today Show in 1977 that the “father of Good Roads” was bicycle manufacturer Colonel Albert Pope.⁠ “Horses don’t need paved roads. Bicycles do. It was Albert Augustus Pope, founder of the Pope Manufacturing Company (now Columbia), who brought bicycling to the U.S. That was exactly a hundred years ago, in 1877. His company built my Ordinary. Pope lobbied successfully for the earliest macadam paving and became known as the Father of Good Roads. Thus, the motorists of today owe a debt of gratitude to Pope and to the bicycle. Automobile drivers might also think of showing more respect for …” The Today Show, May 2nd, 1977. That’s a lot of fathers (and no mothers).⁠ I’ve only been able to find one “Mother of Good Roads.” Harriet “Hattie” Morehead Berry was one the leaders of North Carolina’s Good Roads movement in the 1920s. Berry was the secretary of the North Carolina Good Roads Association. Such organisations were motoring-focussed after 1905 although many of the officials of state roads associations had also been active in the L.A.W.’s Good Roads movement of the 1890s. A newspaper profile of Berry said the “fight for good roads … started in 1902.” In fact, Berry’s work was a direct continuation of the “fight” started by cyclists in the 1880s. The Dispatch, September 28th, 1979. In his autobiography of 1929 Earle didn’t mention the father The Autobiography of “By Gum” Earle, Horatio Sawyer Earle, The State Review Publishing Company, Lansing, Michigan, 1929.

“He was a key figure in motoring history …”: Earle lived at 705 4th (an old addresses) which was at the northeast corner of 4th and Alexandrine, close to Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Google Streetview:

“There is no more sense in the L.A.W. running bicycle races …”: The Autobiography of “By Gum” Earle, Horatio Sawyer Earle, The State Review Publishing Company, Lansing, Michigan, 1929.

“He had good reason to be interested in both cycling and roads …”: The Good-Roads Movement and the Michigan State Highway Department, 1905-1917, Ph.D. Thesis, Kenneth Earl Peters, University of Michigan, 1972.

“Of all honors bestowed on me by my fellow beings …”: Bassett’s Scrap Book, League of American Wheelmen, L.A.W. Publishing Company, Boston, December, 1913.

“The success of this experiment speeded the development of modern automobile highways.”:  “The first mile of concrete highway.” Michigan Registered Historic Site, Michigan Historical Commission, listed January 19th, 1957.

“Cyclists, said Earle, were “the pioneers of road building …”: The Autobiography of “By Gum” Earle, Horatio Sawyer Earle, The State Review Publishing Company, Lansing, Michigan, 1929.



3. From Mastodons to Motorways


TOP QUOTES: “Roads have in all times been among the most influential agencies of society; and the makers of them, by enabling men readily to communicate with each other, have properly been regarded as among the most effective pioneers of civilization.” The Life of Thomas Telford civil engineer with an introductory history of roads and travelling in Great Britain, Samuel Smiles, 1867.  “The Road … is the greatest and most original of the spells which we inherit from the earliest of our race. It was the most imperative and the first of our necessities. It is older than building and than wells …The Alps with a mule-track across them are less of a barrier than fifteen miles of forest or rough land separating one from that track.” The Road, Hilaire Belloc, British Reinforced Concrete Engineering Company Limited, 1923.

“Broadway in New York was originally the Wickquasgeck Trail …”: Mannahatta is the Native American Lenni Lenape name for “land of many hills”. Dutch explorer David de Vries mentioned the Wickquasgeck Trail in a journal entry in 1642 “the Wickquasgeck Road over which the Indians passed daily.”

‘The Streets Where History Lives’, The New York Times, February 9th, 2004 “The Manhattan Indians used the Wickquasgeck name for the path they took through the center of the island to [the] northern reaches. Coming south along it, Indians of various tribes reached the Dutch settlement at the southern end of the island. The Europeans could likewise follow it north—through stands of pin oak, chestnut, poplar, and pine, past open fields strewn with wild strawberries … crossing the fast running brook that flowed southeast from the highlands in the area of Fifty-ninth Street and Fifth Avenue, more or less where the Plaza Hotel stands, to empty into a small bay on the East River—to hunt in the thick forest at the island’s center and to fish the inlets that penetrated the eastern coast. As it was clearly destined to be the most prominent lane on the island, when the Dutch widened the path they referred to it as the Gentlemen’s Street, or the High Street, or simply the Highway. The English, of course, called it Broadway.” The Island at the Center of the World, Shorto, Russell, Vintage Books, New York, 2005.

“US Highway 12 began as the …”: In 1808, a mammoth American infrastructure report described all roads not based on Indian trails as “artificial roads.” Report on Roads, Canals, Harbors, and Rivers, Albert Gallatin, 1808.

US Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, born in Switzerland in 1761, served in Thomas Jefferson’s cabinet. In his 1808 report Gallatin proposed the building of a series of canals parallel to the Atlantic coast from New York City to South Carolina; a turnpike road from Maine to Georgia; and major river navigation projects. He was years ahead of his time and many politicians believed his grandiose schemes to be works of folly. However, one of his projects did get built: the federally-funded National Pike, started in 1811. Work began in the town of Cumberland in Maryland, with navvies moving both eastward, toward Washington, D.C., and westward, toward Indiana. The National Pike was also known as the Cumberland Road, and is now the route of US40. The road was surfaced with macadam, the broken stone road building system of Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam. English author – and great traveller – William Cobbett visited road builders constructing a parts of the National Road in 1817, described the construction method: “It is covered with a very thick layer of nicely broken stones, or stone, rather, laid on with great exactness both as to depth and width, and then rolled down with an iron roller, which reduces all to one solid mass. This is a road made for ever.”

The road reached Vandalia, Illinois in 1839. The plan was keep going all the way to St. Louis, Missouri, but as it was thought railroads would soon make roads redundant – Scottish-born millionaire steel and rail tycoon Carnegie observed: “The old nations of the earth creep at a snail’s pace; the Republic thunders past with the rush of the express,”⁠ – federal funding for the National Pike was removed. Triumphant Democracy, Andrew Carnegie, 1886.

“Motorists driving today between Washington, D.C. and Detroit …”: A mastodon trackway was discovered near Saline, Michigan, in 1992 by paleontologist Daniel Fisher of the University of Michigan. It is believed to be the largest and most complete mastodon trackway ever found.

“If access by road is the key to economic prosperity then Birmingham should be the wealthiest city in Britain:” “Driven by dogma,” Geographical, October, 1993.

“Built in 1976, the eight-mile South Korean multilane flyover was demolished in 2005, replaced with a …”:

“Benefits have included the reduction of carcinogenic airborne particulate matter by 21 percent …”:  The Guardian, November 1st, 2006.

“Remodelling is often the cheapest option …”: Remodelling also works on former railway lines. Sustrans in the UK and the Rails to Trails movement in the US have been repurposing derelict railway lines since the 1980s. And, in Manhattan, a one-mile stretch of elevated former New York Central Railroad has been turned into The High Line, a linear park.

“In Liverpool, England, the “Friends of the Flyover” received crowd-funding in 2014 …”:

“This was eventually scrapped, and the end result was a traffic-calmed, multi-use …”:

“Boston’s famous “Big Dig,” which started in 2008, buried major freeways underground …:”

“Seventy-five percent of the motor traffic re-routes …”: The Life and Death of Urban Highways, Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and EMBARQ, March 2012

” … world cities planning to dismantle more freeways include Auckland …”: In Auckland, there are proposals to create a cycleway on the city’s Nelson Street ramp.

“The routes roads follow may endure but the motor-centric accoutrements …”: Some motor roads have even become bike paths – Automobile magazine, in October 1908, lauded the Long Island Motor Parkway as “the world’s first road designed and built for daily use of the automobile.” By 1938, a section of the two lane highway for exclusive use of “pleasure automobiles” had been turned over to bicycles, which is perhaps appropriate because part of the land used for the Parkway belonged to John E. Roosevelt, cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, and one of the consuls of the League of American Wheelmen in 1897 (he later went on to become an arch-motorist). San Francisco Call, 20 November 20th, 1908.

The Long Island Motor Parkway, the first ten miles of which opened in 1908, was decommissioned just thirty years later, and a section of it became a pleasure path for bicycles. Originally conceived as an automobile race course, the privately-owned toll road on Long Island, near New York City, became an uninterrupted motors-only roadway for rich socialites. The road was put out of business by a wider free-to-use road built by Robert Moses, the New York urban planner who blacktopped the city with money from the 1930s New Deal. The world’s first “controlled-access highway” was closed to motorists in April, 1938 and, three months later, Moses gifted part of the “Great White Way” to Long Island’s residents as the Queens Bicycle Path. It’s now part of the Brooklyn–Queens Greenway.

The 48-mile road was the idea of William Kissman Vanderbilt Jr., great grandson of the Victoria railway developer, Cornelius Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt Jr was an automobile race promoter who wanted to create a motor-only road for his Vanderbilt Cup races. He financed the road with other backing from financiers and automobile companies. The Long Island Motor Parkway was costly to administer so the race course road was soon turned into a toll road for the wealthy, motoring to their estates on Long Island.

At the opening of the road, Arthur R. Pardington, vice president of the Long Island Motor Parkway Corporation and general manager of the Vanderbilt Cup races, said:

“There have been in the past highways for all kinds of vehicular traffic, canals for the movement of freight, railroads for the transportation of passengers, and trolleys for the convenience of those living in the suburbs of our large cities, but in no case has the motorist been considered. And now the day of the automobile has come. A highway is about to be constructed for its use, free from all grade crossings, dust and police surveillance, and a country opened up whose variegated charms are hard to equal in any part of the world.

“Think of the time it will save the busy man of. Speed limits are left behind, the Great White Way is before him, and with the throttle open he can go, go, go and keep going, 50, 60 or 90 miles an hour until Riverhead or Southampton is reached, in time for a scotch at the Meadow Club, a round of golf and a refreshing dip in the surf, and all before dinner is served, or the electric lights begin to twinkle.”

A speed limit of 40 mph was later introduced, and widely ignored. The road was closed to racing following the death of two mechanics at a Vanderbilt Cup race in 1910. Before the First World War the Long Island Motor Parkway Corporation introduced a toll of $2 to use the road. This was reduced to a dollar when, in 1929, Moses built the nearby toll-free Northern State Parkway. The toll was dropped again to 40 cents but the road remained a loss maker and ownership transferred to local government after the road’s tax debts were absorbed in 1937.

“Sir William Molesworth could not have predicted that his industrial “sand line” would turn first into a line that carried excursionists to executions …”: In 1840, the Bodmin and Wadebridge railway co. ran three special coaches – carrying half the population of Wadebridge, over 1100 people – to see two brothers hanged at Bodmin. The Lightfoot brothers had robbed and killed Nevell Norway, the great-grandfather of the famous novelist Nevill Shute.

“Another former railway line became the hugely popular Bristol and Bath Railway Path …”:

“The route might be popular but that hasn’t prevented the local authority from …”: In 2008, the West of England Partnership announced plans to convert part of the Bristol and Bath Railway Path into a guided busway. Fierce opposition halted the plans but Bristol City Council has not ruled out the plans.

“People of to-day … were born in a railway world, and they expect to die in one …”: Anticipations of the reaction of mechanical and scientific progress upon human life and thought, H. G. Wells, 1901.

“Holidaymakers of the future may go on “motorway heritage” day trips …”: BBC News Online’s April fool spoof in 2006 was: “M45 to be listed as heritage road.” “The transport secretary said “The M45 is a valuable part of our heritage, and it is right that it is preserved in its original state for future generations.” As part of the process of designating the motorway as a heritage road, it will, in future, enjoy the same level of protection as a grade 2 listed building.

It is planned that all signs will be replaced with 1950s style motorway signage, and the modern motorway phones will be rehoused in the 1950s style blue cabinets. The motorway will be patrolled by 1950s style police cars. The designation will also mean that vehicles built after 1970 will not be permitted to use the road.”

Many people fell for the spoof. In The Railway Magazine, April, 2014, Will Adams imagined “motorway heritage” trips would take place in 2065: “One by one, the nation’s lesser-used motorways, dual-carriageways and bypasses began to be abandoned.

“In 2063, Dr Dickon Sandling was appointed by the Government to look into the state of Britain’s motorways, and what followed was the infamous ’Sandling Report.’

“Sandling’s report recommended closure of hundreds of miles of unnecessary motorways, thus saving millions in maintenance and policing alone. Unprofitable service facilities were to be withdrawn and thousands of acres of land made available for more productive uses.

“Roadside closure signs were duly posted and the last traffic used the M45 at the end of March 2065.

“Happily, a group of local people were intent on saving the route, which, although heavily overgrown, was complete with original bridges, designed by Owen Williams. A meeting was held in a pub in Thurlaston as soon as the closure was announced and the Thurlaston and Rugby Motorway Acquisition Committee (TARMAC) was established with the aim of keeping the road open and restoring the London-bound carriageway, thus becoming Britain’s first privately operated ‘heritage’ motorway.

“A fortnight after the handover, a motorists’ gala weekend was held and several dozen car-owners turned up to savour the delights of an almost empty motorway once more.

“Today, the M45 is a thriving heritage concern, with special events to attract tourists and enthusiasts. A popular event is the annual Tailback Weekend, featuring the cones and flashing yellow lights we remember so fondly from our childhood. Lane closures are re-created and drivers crawl along in period cars and buses, with volunteers dressed as roadworkers…” Via

“Helsinki has plans to phase out use of the private motor car by 2025 …”: Helsinki is planning for a car-free future, informed by a thesis by transportation engineer Sonja Heikkilä. “A car is no longer a status symbol for young people,” Heikkilä told the Helsinki Times. “The future resident of Helsinki will not own a car,” Helsinki Times, July 4th, 2014. The Finnish capital plans to transform its public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point “mobility on demand” system. Paul Watters, head of roads and transport policy at the Automobile Association, was speaking in an online debate about car-free cities.

” … roads … even ones made from solar panels …”: Solar Roadway panels were introduced in 2006 and went viral in 2014.

“He was a mountaineer, not a cyclist.”: Charles Edward Montague worked for the Manchester Guardian for thirty-five years, becoming second in command to editor and eventual owner, Charles Prestwich Scott. Montague was married to C.P. Scott’s only daughter, Madeline. When Scott was an MP, from 1895 to 1906, Montague was editor in all but name. Montague didn’t give a date for his Manchester to London bike ride but it’s presumed to be in 1900 or thereabouts. Montague was the father of Evelyn Aubrey Montague, the Olympic athlete and journalist depicted in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. C.P. Scott was more of a cyclist than Montague. Journalist Kingsley Martin wrote: “At the age of eighty [C.P. Scott] still rode his bicycle through the muddy and dangerous streets of Manchester, swaying between the tramlines, with white hair and whiskers floating in the breeze, equally oblivious of rain and traffic.”

“You must feel a road with your muscles …”: The Right Place: A Book of Pleasures, C. E. Montague, Chatto & Windus, London, 1924.

“Roads were modernised overnight not with asphalt but with a number and the letter A.”: From 1921 onwards, UK roads were classified as either A or B roads. For funding purposes they were also classified as either class 1 or class 2 roads: class 1 roads got a larger grant from central government and it was therefore entirely predictable that some roads that shouldn’t have been classified as major were so labelled.

“On April Fool’s Day, 1923, the Ministry of Transport …:” Many of Britain’s A roads – and motorways – use the same or similar alignments as Roman roads. The Romans knew each main road as “iter”, with a number attached: such as Iter II or Iter VI.

“G. K. Chesterton’s famous 1914 poem:”

The Rolling English Road

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,

The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.”

A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,

And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;

A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread

The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.


I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,

And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;

But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed

To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,

Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,

The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.


His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run

Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?

The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,

But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.

God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear

The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.


My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,

Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,

But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,

And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;

For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,

Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.


“It was the Romans who put British roads on the map.”:  Or, more accurately, an itinerary of road names. The Iter Britanniarum is the British section of the Antonini Itinerarium, a register of the stations and distances along the roads of the Roman empire.

“When Richard III allegedly offered his kingdom for a horse, it was beside a Roman road.”: Roman road Margary 57b.

“Dr. Bishop believes the Roman legacy is …:” Roman Roads in Britain and their impact on Military History, M. C. Bishop, Pen & Sword Military, 2014.

“Linear accumulations of invasive species …”:  The motorway achievement: The British motorway system; visualisation, policy and administration, Telford, 2004. Forget all notions of Ben Hur-style chariots, Rome’s roads were for swiftly marching feet not wheels. In towns and cities Roman vehicles (they didn’t pivot at the axle, making for lengthy turns) were banned from the roads during the day time. Or that’s been the belief since 1733, when a Roman legal document was found in a southern Italian town that appeared to show that all commercial traffic was excluded from Rome during daylight hours. The Lex Julia Municipalis said:

“… no one shall drive a wagon along the streets of Rome or along those streets in the suburbs where there is continuous housing after sunrise or before the tenth hour of the day, except whatever will be proper for the transportation and the importation of material for building temples of the immortal gods, or for public works, or for removing from the city rubbish from those buildings for whose demolition public contracts have been let. For these purposes permission shall be granted by this law to specified persons to drive wagons for the reasons stated.⁠”

However, according to the latest research, it’s now believed that Rome – and probably other cities in the empire, too – was far from being a pedestrian city during the day. The Latin word used for “wheeled transport”, plostrum, has long been translated as “wagon” but Alan Kaiser, a specialist in Roman carts, believes the word refers specifically to a large “utilitarian ox-cart, intended for transporting heavy loads.” Lex Julia Municipalis didn’t ban all wheeled transport, just the heaviest and most lumbering.⁠ Ancient Roman Statutes, Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Austin, 1961. “Cart Traffic Flow in Pompeii and Rome,” Alan Kaiser, Rome, Ostia, Pompeii: Movement and Space, edited by Ray Laurence and David J. Newsome, November, 2011.

“Some of our modern roads were laid out in the 17th and 18th centuries …”: There were 4804 Inclosure Acts.

“These “carriageways” were generally far wider than the “cartways” they replaced …”: This may seem arcane but what the inclosure commissioners meant by “carriageways” can sometimes still be relevant today. It’s important to stress that a “carriage” did not necessarily mean, say, a horse-drawn carriage, or any form of wheeled vehicle. Towards the end of the 19th century and certainly into the 20th the meaning of “carriage” had definitely switched to the modern one – i.e. a wheeled vehicle – but access law specialists often have to define what the original usage for certain roads might have been and the earlier definition of “carriageway” can come into play.

“In a classic highway history book of 1913, economists Beatrice and Sidney Webb …”: English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913.

“Skinny wheels cut into soft roads so, in a series of Acts in the 1600s and 1700s …”: Such as the Broad Wheels Act of 1753.

“The famous road engineers of the late 18th century and very early 19th, turned this concept on its head …”: In 1810, John Loudon McAdam said: “The reports of the Committees of the House of Commons seem to have had principally in view the construction of wheeled carriages, the weights they were to draw, and the breadth and form of their wheels; the nature of the roads on which these carriages were to travel has not been so minutely attended to … Is it not time to enquire whether the system of road-making now in use is good? … to consider the making, the form and surface of roads scientifically? If it is found that a smooth hard surface is the most convenient for a carriage to pass over, and that it is drawn with the smallest effort of animal strength, then it will be profitable to enquire by what means this smooth hard surface is obtained.”

” … there’s a concoction of wooden posts to commemorate the original …”:  Opposite – and also ignored by most motorists – is an obelisk memorial to Thomas Clarkson, a leading campaigner against the slave trade. A pamphlet he wrote led to the foundation of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade which aided passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended Britain’s trade in slaves. Clarkson was inspired to write his original 1785 polemic after sitting down to rest before the descent into Wadesmill. Apparently, he was looking at one of the town’s inns, The Feathers. It’s still there.

“Defoe hoped to see “the roads all over England restored …”: A tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain, Daniel Defoe, 1726.

“Very few new roads were constructed by turnpike trusts …”: Wholly new turnpike roads were few and far between. McAdam built some in the Cheviots, near Alston, to service the lead and other mineral extraction industries. And, also in Northumberland, Telford built an alternative Great North Road, at times parallel to the Roman Dere Street. This is the modern A697.

“In 1585, Italian engineer Guido Toglietta wrote a treatise on a road surfacing system …:” Twenty-two years later, English engineer Thomas Procter published the first English-language “how to” book on road building.

“École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées … exists to this day …”: It’s now known as École des Ponts ParisTech.

“Telford’s bridges and aqueducts were the wonders of the age.”: The Menai suspension bridge is his most famous bridge.

” … including the strategically important turnpike road between Marble Arch in London and the Admiralty Arch in Holyhead …”: Admiralty Arch was built in 1821 (not by Telford) to form a ceremonial start/end to Telford’s road. Marble Arch hasn’t always been at the start of the Edgeware road, stuck between the bus-clogged Oxford Street and the car-clogged Bayswater Road. It was once a grand entrance to Buckingham Palace. It was dismantled in 1850 and rebuilt in its present location in 1851.

Telford’s road was largely complete by 1826 and was the busy mail (and military) route between London and Dublin. Like all roads in the 19th century, it faded in importance after the arrival of the first long-distance rail lines but its initial importance can be gleaned from the fact that the London suburb which once had the highest concentration of Irish immigrants was part of the London–Holyhead road. Kilburn High Road is famous for its Irish pubs, and they were here long before modern “Irish pubs”. Kilburn still has the highest Irish population of any London area. “It is a strong symbol of the Irish presence in London. For decades it has shaped and been shaped by Irishness. The famous Catholic Church on Quex Road, the many Irish-run boarding houses, the patterns of employment, even the local shops and pubs have all informed and were informed by the Irish experience in north-west London. For decades “County Kilburn” has been hailed as the 33rd county of Ireland, an Irish enclave, a safe space, where one could buy Irish newspapers, meet Irish friends and hear Irish accents on the streets.” “In the Green Fields of Kilburn: Reflections on a Quantitative Study of Irish Migrants in North London”, Louise Ryan, Anthropology Matters Journal, February 2002.

Today, the London stretches of the A5 are “noisy, dirty, dangerous, shabby, and unappealing,” says cycle advocate David Arditti. “For cycling in north-west London, the A5 is a critical artery, as it is the straightest route from all the suburbs along it to the West End, and also, due to severance by railways, bigger roads, and water features, basically the only possible route between those suburbs. As a trunk road, the A5 is completely bypassed by the A41. The A41 is the Transport for London main route out of north-west London, and is far more suitable for lorries and coaches than the frequently narrow A5, which goes down to a total width of less than 9m (including pavements) at the pinch-point just south of the junction with Willesden Lane in Kilburn. But, of course, as nothing prevents long-distance through traffic from continuing to use the A5, despite its official “bypassing” by the A41, it is generally clogged with lorries, buses, private cars and delivery vehicles.”

“When the A5 was “improved” in the 1920s, little needed to be done to Telford’s …”: Many of Telford’s embankments, walls and revetments are still in place on the A5, especially in Wales. An archeological assessment of 2003 found that, in Wales, around 40 percent of the highway has survived intact. The modern road surface is built on top of Telford’s foundations and original surfacing. The London to Holyhead road took 11 years to build and was started in 1815. Thomas Telford’s Holyhead Road: The A5 in North Wales, Jamie Quartermaine, Council for British Archaeology, 2003.

Telford was a great believer in road-going steam carriages, fearing that railroads would lead to monopoly by railway companies. He gave evidence to a parliamentary select committee in 1831, which reported that steam carriages were of great practical benefit and therefore should be protected from high tolls (parliament decided against this view). By 1833 Telford was involved with a steam carriage company intended to operate on his London to Holyhead road. A trial of the technology – from London to Birmingham – wasn’t a success: the carriage only reached Stoney Stratford, 57 miles from London, at an average speed of 7 mph, before breaking down. See Roland Paxton, ‘Telford, Thomas (1757–1834)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004

“McAdam … was the third of the great British road builders, and no friend of Telford’s.”: Many books, at least one thesis, and plenty of websites, say Telford was billed as the “colossus of roads” and that this was the epithet given to him by Southey. This is incorrect. It was J. L. McAdam’s son, James, who was called the “colossus of roads,” and this came from a 1827 caricature of him astride two road signs, a clear allusion to the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the Greek Titan Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. [See the hi-res illustration on iPad version of the book.] The magician tag was given to Macadam as an insult, by a friend of Telford’s. “The public looks on him as a sort of magician, and his invention, as it is thought, as something preternatural.” Westminister Review, vol iv, 1825. The “Pontifex Maximus” epithet for Telford was repeated by Samuel Smiles. The Life of Thomas Telford civil engineer with an introductory history of roads and travelling in Great Britain, Samuel Smiles, 1867. Samuel Smiles was the author of Self-help of 1859, a hugely-inspirational Victorian journal of how it was possible to rise up through society by merit not just birth.

“McAdam, even though he owned a tar factory, never spread tar on his roads.”: McAdam was owner of the British Tar Company, established in Muirkirk, Scotland in 1782 by his relative Archibald Cochrane, ninth earl of Dundonald. The coal tar produced at the works was for the bottoming of ships. John Loudon McAdam, colossus of roads, PhD diss., University of Edinburgh, 1950.

“To entertain the society types who flocked to what would be today called a spa, Sadler …”:

“These stones were at first compacted by passing traffic …”: Remarks on the present system of road making, J. L. McAdam, 1816 and later editions.

“A road roller built in 1882 was used in the construction of the first stretch of the M1 …:” This was an Aveling and Porter roller.

“He lobbied hard for national administration of the British road system …”: Macadam. The McAdam Family and the Turnpike Road, 1798-1861, W. J. Reader, Heinemann, 1980.

” … rural folk knew not to linger on turnpike roads.”: If they used the turnpikes at all – as they were toll roads, there would have been every reason to stick to the old, meandering ways.

“Our shops, our horse’s legs, our boots …”: English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913.

“The last tollgate, on the Anglesey stretch of the London-to-Holyhead road …”:  The 1883 General Report of the 1881 Census said: “Among the occupations that are included in the above reckoning is one that is dying out, namely, Turnpike-keeper. The number fell from 3,928 in 1871 to 1,104 in 1881, On the other hand, there are two that barely appeared in the returns for 1871, but had gained very largely in 1881, and, though as yet not of much importance, doubtlessly will make a much more considerable figure in 1891. These are Tramway service, the persons employed in which rose from 63 in 1871 to 2,650 in 1881; and the making of Bicycles and other Velocipedes, which occupied only 12 persons in 1871, but under which 1,072 were classed in 1881, chiefly at Coventry.”

“Rail historian Michael Robbins wrote that travel by stagecoach …”: The Railway Age in Britain and its impact on the world, Michael Robbins, Harmondsworth, 1965.

“In 1843 it was reported that “within the last week the only coach that was left on the road from Bristol to London ceased running.”: Hereford Journal, October 18th, 1843.

“What is now the busy A421, near Buckingham, was described as “a main road [with] scarcely any traffic …”: Lark Rise to Candleford, Flora Thompson, 1939.

“Their relationship was quiet so [Hardy] also frequently rode alone …:” The Hardy’s bought their bicycles from a shop that’s still trading. Tilley’s of Weymouth is now mostly a motorbike retailer but it still sells bicycles and accessories, and rents out bicycles, too. Emma Hardy had a velvet green bicycling suit to match the colour of her bicycle, which she called “The Grasshopper.” When she bought a blue bicycle, her suit changed to blue, too.

“When he did ride with others, it was with fellow novelists such as Rudyard Kipling.”: Thomas Hardy: The Time-torn Man, Claire Tomalin, Penguin, 2007. Kipling later became an enthusiastic motorist. In 1904 he wrote that the car was a mobile platform to visit the history of “this amazing England.” It was “a time-machine on which one can slide from one century to another at no more trouble than the pushing forward of a lever … in England the dead, twelve coffin deep, clutch hold of my wheels at every turn, till I sometimes wonder that the very road does not bleed.” Of course, there often was blood on the roads, and not metaphorical historic blood. Kipling made light of this, preferring to think the speedy motor car was drumming discipline into sleepy country dwellers, man and beast:

“I have seen men walking on the road suddenly and accurately distinguish between their left hand and their right, and this not for political reasons, as a tenet of religion or as a form of sport, but automatically and almost as though it were the ingrained instinct of a highly organised civilisation … It is the Car … that we have to thank for the quickened intellect, the alerter eye, the more agile limbs, and the less unquenchable thirst of our fellow-citizens, as well as for the higher standard of decency now attained by our officially dumb companions … There is a dog who was once bold…Last year my car caught him on the shoulder and hoisted him nearly as high as Sirius. He came down again quite well, thank you, but so changed – and so vastly for the better! He, too, will propagate polite puppies. Thus do we all benefit by the Note of the Age, which is the motor-horn.⁠”

The complete motorist, A.B. Filson Young, McClure, Phillips & co., Methuen & co. in New York/London, 1904.

“The 13th-century English philosopher and Franciscan friar Roger Bacon …”:  Bacon also predicted ocean liners and aircraft, albeit with flapping wings: “There may be made instruments of navigation without men to row in them; as huge ships to brooke the sea with only one man to steer them, which shall sail far more swiftly than if they were full of men, and chariots that will move with an unspeakable force, without any living creature to stir them … yea instruments to fly withal, so that one sitting in the middle of the instrument and turning about an Engine by which the wings being artificially composed may beat the air after the manner of a flying bird.” Roger Bacon (c. 1214–1294), De mirabili potestate artis et naturæ et de nullitate magiæ, (“The Righteous Marvels of Art & Nature, & the Nullity of Magic”), Paris, 1542.

“Nothing is more wanted in modern life than a means of getting swiftly about on common roads …”: The Spectator, May 22nd, 1869.

“The vigorous man who has been used to take exercise on horseback …”: Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Sir Alfred C. Harmsworth, Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904.

“Farmers were among the first and loudest critics of what some called “devil wagons.”: In early 1900s rural America motor cars were known as devil wagons, stink wagons and many other disparaging phrases. Chicago Tribune, August 17th, 1902; Rural New Yorker, June 10th, 1905.

” … we … think that the people who are able to own and run an automobile are able to build their own roads to run them on …”: Rural New Yorker, July 23rd, 1904.

” … an American farm magazine called automobile drivers “a reckless, bloodthirsty, villainous lot of … crazy trespasser.”:  Breeder’s Gazette, August 24th, 1904.

“In the late 1890s, when the civic leaders of Mitchell, South Dakota …”: Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age, Brian Ladd, University of Chicago Press, 2008.

“In Kings County, Nova Scotia, no automobiles were allowed on public highways …”: “Resolved that the following regulations be made under and by virtue of chapter 53 of the Acts of the Legislature of Nova Scotia for the year 1908, namely, that the use and operation of Motor Vehicles upon any of the public highways of the Municipality of the County of Kings, on Saturday and Sunday of each week is hereby prohibited, and that any person violating the Regulations shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding $50 for the first Offence, and not exceeding $100 for a second Offence, and not exceeding $200 for a third Offence.” Official Minute Book of the Municipality of Kings County, April 1910.

“The editor of New Glasgow’s newspaper said that motor cars were “gasoline devils” …”:  Dear Sir: Kindly advise through the columns of your esteemed paper – If a person driving a team should happen to meet one of those Benzine Cars [automobiles] and his horse taking fright, his rig is demolished or perhaps the occupants are seriously injured, can the driver of the team recover damages from the motorist? I am one who doesn’t own an auto – but one who is likely to get run over.

Editor’s comment: Damages depend on several things. Were the occupants of the gasoline devil exceeding a reasonable speed limit, say six miles an hour? When they saw the driver of the horse in difficulties did they stop? Did they unreasonably crowd the horse vehicle? And half a dozen other things would come up in a court. The auto people have the right to use the public roads, but they must do so in a reasonable manner. If they go rushing about the country regardless of whom they may annoy or injure they can be hauled up with a round turn …


Talking off our own bat we would not be afraid to meet a speed devil with any horse properly broken and properly rigged, providing the auto driver did not blow his confounded conch… New Glasgow Eastern Chronicle, April 30th, 1907.


Dear Sir: Can you tell the owner of a fractious horse if he has any right at all to the King’s highway when he meets an automobile? For the past few days I along with other natives of this section of the vineyard have been kept in mortal terror of one of these devil wagons meeting us when we are driving along the road, our horse taking the nearest fence and leaving us stranded on the roadside, possibly maimed for life, and our good looks considerably out of joint. There surely should be some legislation for the people who maintain the roads and who in their daily avocation are constantly called on to use these roads. Their rights should be protected against these life endangering pleasure jaunters. Yours etc., Mac.

Editor’s Note: We believe an Act was passed by the House of Assembly last session, dealing with the running of automobiles in the Province. We shall look it up and publish the gist of it for the benefit of our correspondent and others in the same fix, who possibly may be more afraid of the machines than are the horses they drive. We may say now that we are told the speed of the stink wagons is limited to a mile in 8 minutes [12 km/h]. On passing a team if the driver of the team holds up his hands, the Chauffeur of the stink wagon must bring it to a standstill and remain in that condition until the driver of the horse gives permission to start. We are not sure that the Chauffeur must not get down and lead the horse past. New Glasgow Eastern Chronicle, June 25th, 1907.


Any person who desires to run an automobile must file his name with the Provincial Secretary and pay a registration fee of two dollars. (We wish it were two hundred dollars.) The chauffeur will then be given a badge not longer than 3 inches 7.6 cm diameter which he must fasten to his clothing. (We wish it were as big as a board on a cow’s face.) New Glasgow Eastern Chronicle, June 25th, 1907.

“New Glasgow during the past week has got another of the “devil wagons.”: New Glasgow Eastern Chronicle, June 25th, 1907.

“They should all be permanently housed or shipped out of the country.”: New Glasgow Eastern Chronicle, July 2nd, 1907.

“In 1903, residents of Evanston, Illinois formed the Farmers’ Anti-Automobile League …”:  Motor World, August 13th, 1903.

“At a convention held in Montana in 1909 the Farmers’ Anti-Automobile League urged …”: Sidney Herald, April 30th, 1909.

“Any self-propelled vehicle must come to a complete halt upon approaching a cross road.”: British cyclists will recognise the advice to dismount from the car because this is the irksome advice given to cyclists at a great many junctions. Merrily We Roll Along: The Early Days of the Automobile, TV documentary, National Broadcasting Company, 1961.

“Alas! all the grace and beauty [of the countryside] must be spoiled as the craze for auto-cars increases.”:  “Place aux Dames,” Lady Violet Greville, The Graphic, May 20th, 1899.

“Will someone who owns a really nice auto car persuade Lady Violet Greville to take a good, long drive in it?” The Autocar, May 27th, 1899.

” … missile-throwing was endemic in the Netherlands …”: “Eine Automoblism aus Buxtehude”, Bernd Utermohlen, Margarete Winter, Technik und Gesellschaft 10, 1999.

“Between 1903 and 1907, farmers shot at motor cars in Minnesota …”: Motor World, December 24th, 1903; June 22nd, 1905; September 28th, 1905, October 24th, 1907. Motor Age, July 7th, 1904.

“We have become accustomed to the outburst from time to time of occasionally discontented minds not familiar with the subject of automobiling …”: The New York Times, March 6th, 1906.

“He mocked that the brochure claimed …”: “Schwach in der Organisation: Der Protest gegen den fruhen Automobilismus”, Frank Uekoetter, Stark im Ton, Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht 54, 2003.

“Has the invention of motors brought with it a balance of profit or pleasure?”: The Economist, October 11th, 1911.

” … motor cars were “being driven 60 or 70 miles an hour” on the unimproved roads of England …”: Leamington Spa Courier, March 17th, 1905.

“… remove the terrorism of the flying motor.”: Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, October 2nd, 1902.

“a genial and sporting young peer, whose face bore a pleasing resemblance to the horse …”: The Strange Death of Liberal England, George Dangerfield, Stanford University Press, 1997.

“Major J. W. Dent of the Yorkshire Agricultural Union chaired a meeting in 1905 …”: Hull Daily Mail, July 7th, 1905.

“Likewise, the Warwickshire Chamber of Agriculture also supported the League’s aims …”: Leamington Spa Courier, March 17th, 1905.

“England was a manufacturing country, he told the meeting, urging delegates “not to do anything to cripple what [was] going …”: Leamington Spa Courier, March 17th, 1905.

“The old legal maxim that if a man fired a gun into a street and killed a person without meaning to do so he was guilty of murder, should be applied to motor drivers …”: Gloucester Journal, July 22nd, 1905.

“Lord North, Sir Walter Gilbey, and the Master of Emanuel College …”:  Gloucester Journal, July 22nd, 1905.

“… leaders of automobile interests should “keep the rank and file of their own army in decent and respectable order”: Leamington Spa Courier, March 17th, 1905.

“All persons who are alive to the danger and discomfort now caused by those who travel at an excessive speed on the Public roads …”: Daily Mail, February 25th, 1905.

“Cyclists were “more liable to danger from motorists than pedestrians are, because cyclists have …”: Portsmouth Evening News, September 1st, 1904.

” …. even the most vocal anti-motoring high-society types were being won over to the new form of locomotion …”:  “Common sense”, Manchester Courier, May 9th, 1907. The next campaign to reign back motorists, who were still committing Murder Most Foul,⁠ was the Pedestrians’ Protection League of 1925 which promoted “schemes for the reconstruction of streets and highways to make them safe for pedestrians.”⁠ Out of this grew the Pedestrians’ Association, founded in 1929, with Lord Robert Cecil as its president.⁠ Gloucester Citizen, July 14th, 1925. Lord Robert Cecil was one of the architects of of the League of Nations.

“[A] large proportion of those who have employed motor cars in habitual violation of the speed limit, and in destruction of the amenities of the rural life …”:  The Condition of England, Masterman, Charles Frederick Gurney, Methuen & Co., London, 1909.

“Viscount Cecil of Chelwood blamed speed for the “great slaughter” on the roads”:

“ … very high speed cars … should be altogether forbidden on public thoroughfares …”:  The Spectator, October 31st, 1925.

“Motorists very often brought on anti-motoring antipathy by their own actions, scaring slower road users by “skimming” them …”: Motoring’s propensity to turn normally caring human beings into individualistic, sociopaths has a long history yet each generation thinks it’s somehow a new phenomenon. For instance, in 2005 George Monbiot penned a powerful piece on “anti-social bastards” but linked it to right-wing libertarianism, as though aggressive driving was politically motivated and right-leaning. It’s not – aggressive driving crosses the political divide. Monbiot’s critique of motoring need not have made the political points: “When you drive, society becomes an obstacle. Pedestrians, bicycles, traffic calming, speed limits, the law: all become a nuisance to be wished away. The more you drive, the more bloody-minded and individualistic you become …” “The Anti-Social Bastards in Our Midst”, George Monbiot, The Guardian, December 20th, 2005

“Lieutenant-Colonel J. T. C. Moore-Brabazon, vice-chair of the Automobile Club and an MP, told the House of Commons …”: Was Moore-Brabazon being serious? Most commentators assume he was but jokers got there before him anyway. Scurrilous poet Harry Graham penned this in 1899:


Once as old Lord Gorbals motored

through his lands near John O’Groats

he collided with a goatherd,

and his herd of 40 goats.

When at last the car got through,

they were all defunct but two.


Roughly he addressed the goatherd

“Dash my whiskers and my corns,

can’t you teach your goats you dotard

that they ought to sound their horns.

Look, my AA badge is bent.

I’ve half a mind to raise your rent.”

Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes, “Col. D. Streamer”, Harry Graham, Edward Arnold, 1899.

“… Sir Horace Plunkett, president of the Irish Automobile Club … believed “dogs, ducks and policemen” would soon learn the new order of things …”: The complete motorist, A. B. Filson Young, McClure, Phillips & co., Methuen & co. in New York/London, 1904.

“I intend to bring them these benefits in spite of themselves, even if they don’t live to enjoy them!”:  Sketches of a Journey, Octave Mirbeau, 1908.

“They will have to be educated up to the new order of things …”: Leicester Chronicle, August 10th, 1895.

” … if the very loud Cyclists’ Road Clearer whistle of the 1890s was anything to go by.”: “Cyclists’ Road Clearer” whistle, H.A.K & Co. of London, made by J Stevens of London and Glasgow.

“There is a long descent through Auchterarder, becoming rather steep latterly, and requiring care …” The British Road Book, Cyclists’ Touring Club, 1897.

” … large proportion of accidents happen because the other users of the street refuse to acknowledge and adapt to the changed circumstances brought about by the appearance of the motor car.” Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, no 11, 1909. This magazine was the official newspaper of the Österreichischen Automobil-Club, the Austrian Automobile Club, and co-founded by Adolf Schmal, Austria’s first gold medal winner at the Olympic Games in Athens 1896. See Chapter 14.

“And which driver is not tempted, merely by the power of the engine, to wipe out the vermin of the street, pedestrians, children and cyclists?”: Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life, Theodor W. Adorno, 1942.

“With an automobile properly driven there is no menace to life …”: “Get Ready for 5,000,000 Automobiles,” Frederick Upham Adams, American Magazine, April 19th, 1916.

“In the 1930s, the Cyclists’ Touring Club lobbied alongside Britain’s motoring …”: “It is often said that there is not room on our present roads for everybody and so the cyclist should be removed. The only traffic that cannot safely use our roads is high-speed motor traffic for which special highways should be provided.” Road Safety: a fair and sound policy, CTC, 1935.

“If Parliament sees fit to grant the necessary powers, it would be my intention to start on a further number of motor roads …”:  Rt Hon. Alfred Barnes, Minister of Transport, in a statement to the House of Commons, May 6th, 1946.

“William Plowden, author of a book about the political influence of motorists …”: The Motor Car and Politics, William Plowden, 1971.

” … vast majority of Britons choose to travel by private motor car, and the government dismisses the idea of “peak car”: “Peak car” is the theory that car use has peaked. It was a persuasive argument during the recent recession when mileage by car did, indeed, seem to dip and for quite some years (perhaps suggesting millenials may be rejecting motoring in favour of their mobile phones and iPads) but mileage by car has since recovered a little. Nevertheless, peak car is certainly feasible, especially given that all other forms of transport have had similar peaks. Rail travel peaked in the 1920s. Bus travel peaked in the 1950s (as did cycle travel). Vehicle Licensing Statistics, 2013 and Road Transport Forecasts 2013, Department for Transport, 2013.

“You are not stuck in traffic. You are traffic.”:

“The £692 million M74 motorway would only “temporarily ease traffic congestion” …”:  2011 saw the opening of the final stretch of the M74 in Glasgow, linking up with the M8 and M73 to create an “inner ring”, an urban motorway network that cuts communities in half and, over time, won’t deliver any of the claimed-for benefits. The 8km motorway extension – 6-lanes on stilts – cost £692 million. Ironically, the first public road users allowed on the motorway – for one day only – were cyclists. The motorway ride, staged on Sunday 22nd May was billed as the M74 Bike ‘n’ Hike, a “one off opportunity to raise funds for charity”.

A Public Local Inquiry reported in 2005 that the M74 “should not be authorised”. The conclusions were stark (and ignored): “[The] evidence has shown that the proposal would be likely to seriously hinder the achievement of important Scottish Executive commitments and objectives for traffic reduction, public transport improvements, and CO2 emissions; have very serious adverse impacts on the environment of communities along the route, both during construction and in operation; be at variance with policies to promote social inclusion and environmental justice; temporarily ease traffic congestion, to the benefit of car commuters and road freight transport, but that these benefits would be progressively lost due to continuing traffic increases … [The] benefits of the new road would be progressively eroded by the continuing traffic growth which would be facilitated and induced by the new road … Accordingly … the conclusion is that this proposal should not be authorised …”


“Social thinker and historian Lewis Mumford said in 1955 … motor transportation is the sacred cow of the … religion of technology …”: “The Sky Line: The Roaring Traffic’s Boom–II”, New Yorker, April 2nd, 1955. And “The Sky Line: The Roaring Traffic’s Boom–III”, New Yorker, April 16th, 1955. If he were writing today, the bicycle would be at the top of his list for how to unsnarl the city. As transport progressives of the 1890s were well aware, but was quickly forgotten in the early 1900s when the motor car stole its thunder, the bicycle allows for individualised, speedy travel at any time of the day or night, and, for many people, is ideally suited to the sort of short journeys common in urban areas.⁠ Got greater distances to go? Travel by train with a folding bike. Need to transport four people now and again? Join a car club and rent a car by the hour. Hate hills? Use an electric bike. That the bicycle could play a greater role in cities is not utopian – in the 1970s politicians, planners and engineers carved out space for cyclists on Dutch roads that were beginning to clog with cars.⁠ Given the political will, and the desire for positive change, any city could be retrofitted to encourage “active travel” – after all, cities were incrementally retrofitted for cars. The Netherlands already had a dense network of cycleways in the 1970s but the network was improved and massively extended from 1973 onwards. It has been improving ever since.

“Germany, too, built segregated roads for both motorists and cyclists; Britain (and America) did not.” In 1948, Barnes introduced the Special Roads Bill. This would – eventually – lead to the creation of Britain’s motorway network, and also promised the provision of many miles of cycle path. But, apart from the New Towns – including Stevenage, with its extensive and dense network of cycleways – these “special roads for cyclists” were never built. Why? The Minister for Transport said provision for cyclists was a local matter. This is exactly the same reason wheeled out today. Infrastructure for cars is “national”; infrastructure for bicycles is “local.”

The Special Roads Bill came before Parliament on September 30th, 1948. Its purpose was “to provide for the construction of roads reserved for special classes of traffic; to amend the law relating to trunk roads; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.” The Special Roads Bill became the Special Roads Act in 1949. Special roads for cars could now be constructed. The first wasn’t started until 1958 but they came thick and fast in the 1960s. It was a mature network by the end of the 1970s.

Back in 1948 the newspapers reported that the Special Roads Bill would see the building of cycleways, too. And just as cyclists would be fined for riding on motorways, pedestrians would be fined for straying on cycleways. Introducing his Bill, Barnes said:

“It will be a mistake for anyone to assume that the Bill is promoted to satisfy the selfish interests of the private motorist. It is nothing of the kind. It is often overlooked that nowadays we are all motorists, whether or not we drive a private car. Everybody travels on buses or coaches and the greater proportion of our domestic and personal needs are delivered by motor van.”

But, and here’s the kicker, he believed national highway authorities should be in charge of major motoring roads, but “special roads for pedestrians and cyclists” should be provided by local highway authorities. And such “special roads” for users other motorists were clearly deemed to be recreational, rather than everyday practical:

“I should emphasise … under the powers given to them to construct a special road, highway authorities could determine that the only classes of traffic using that road should be motor vehicles. These same powers can —and, I sincerely hope, will — be used by county highway authorities for the construction of special roads for pedestrians and for cyclists — across for instance, a national park, along a river bank, across mountain, moor, or the coast line. [This] responsibility will rest upon local highway authorities, who ought to meet the cost of special roads of this type. The cost of constructing and maintaining the special types of roads for hikers or cycle paths for cyclists will not represent any very considerable capital outlay or annual cost for maintenance. At a time when the State, by this Measure, visualises the construction of these motorways at the capital cost I have mentioned, for the purpose of relieving the local authority of a good deal of the cost of other highways, it is not unreasonable to suggest that highway authorities should use these powers for the purpose I have indicated, especially as the advantages to be derived will be enjoyed largely by the residents in their own localities.”

Mr. Walkden, the MP for Doncaster, stressed that if cyclists did get cycleways, they ought to be fined if they choose not to use them, despite the fact a previous parliamentary report had found that the cycle paths constructed in the 1930s were universally poor:

“I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will explain later on whether, in passing this Measure, we are giving assent to the principle that if a cyclist fails to use a roadway provided by the nation, or by a local authority with the blessing of the nation, we shall impose a punishment of up to £20 … At least in one country I have visited, which has a considerable mileage of cycle tracks, it is a punishable offence for cyclists to fail to use these particular cycle tracks. Cyclists there can be dealt with severely … It is laid down specifically that we are to provide cycle tracks, but I find that in the case of a road along which I pass almost every day — the Sutton by-pass — the cyclists disregard the cycle tracks provided on either side, with the result that the ‘bus drivers use the sort of language only London ‘bus drivers can use … If we are to lay down these roads for a particular class of user, then everyone concerned should understand the law.” Derby Evening Telegraph, November 2nd, 1948.


4. Who Owns the Roads?


TOP QUOTES: “Highways have been forced to change from enabling short distance movement at walking pace, to carrying high-speed, short, medium and long distance motor traffic. Most were never originally intended for high-speed motor vehicles.” Highway Risk and Liability Claims: A practical guide to Appendix C of The UK Roads Board Report “Well Maintained Highways: Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management.” UK Highways Liability Joint Task Group, July, 2009.

“If I [ask] what’s a street for somebody is going to say car right away. It’s like free-association in psychology. It’s just automatic. [But] if you’d asked that same question to a random person a hundred years ago … none of them would have said that a street is for cars, even though there were a lot of cars then.” Peter Norton, author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City talking on the Freakonomics podcast. “The Perfect Crime: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast,”, May 1st, 2014.

“Territoriality is hard-wired into our ancestors,” believes Paul Bell …”: “Territorial Markings as a Predictor of Driver Aggression and Road Rage,“ William J. Szlemko, Jacob A. Benfield, Paul A. Bell, Jerry L. Deffenbacher, and Lucy Troup, Colorado State University, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, May 21st, 2008. “We report 3 studies testing a territorial explanation of aggressive driving. Altman (1975) described attachment to, personalization of, and defense of primary territories (e.g., home) as being greater than for public territories (e.g., sunbathing spot on a beach). Aggressive driving may occur when social norms for defending a primary territory (i.e., one’s automobile) become confused with less aggressive norms for defending a public territory (i.e., the road). Both number of territory markers (e.g., bumper stickers, decals) and attachment to the vehicle were significant predictors of aggressive driving. Mere presence of a territory marker predicts increased use of the vehicle to express anger and decreased use of adaptive/constructive expressions.”

“Cyclists think they own the roads,” is a typical retort …”: The highway “rights“ discussed in this chapter mainly refer to English rights. Scottish rights have developed differently, and so have those of other English-speaking countries. In America, there was a steady erosion of cyclists’ rights on the highway in the 20th century, covered in-depth here: Pedestrian rights on the highways of America were also eroded, discussed here: Equestrian rights on modern American roads – think Amish horse-drawn carriages – can be found here:

“In July 2014, Courtland Milloy, a columnist for the Washington Post wrote …”: WaPo columnist Courtland Milloy wrote that “white millennials” were fighting to “have bike lanes routed throughout the city, some in front of churches where elderly parishioners used to park their cars.” The misdemeanours of cyclists were so bad, he wrote, that violence would seem to be excusable: “It’s a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine.” – “Bicyclist bullies try to rule the road in D.C.”, July 8th, 2014.

“Many countries required motorists to pass national driving tests.”: See Driving Europe: Building Europe on Roads in the Twentieth Century, Frank Schipper, Aksant, Amsterdam, 2008. Touring cyclists used to experience similar restrictions until the national cycling organisations started offering reciprocal arrangements, a technique later copied by motoring organisations.

“At the London conference held in 1913, cycling was removed …”:  “Building an infrastructure for the automobile system: PIARC and road safety (1908-1938)”, Gijs Mom, Proceedings, 23rd World Road Congress, Paris, 2007

PIARC is now the World Roads Association but retains its original name.

“Notwithstanding the legal right of the pedestrian to the full and free use of any part of the King’s highway …”: The Rambler and the Law, A. R. Moon and G. H. B. Ward, Peak & Northern Footpaths Society, 1913.

“British and American traffic planners clearly believe roads are for cars and pesky pedestrians and cranky cyclists can wait.”: Planners and engineers in the Netherlands think differently, either removing “traffic” lights completely and making streets safe for all, or giving equal crossing time to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

“Professor Hass-Klau said German cities often restricted passage of wheeled vehicles …:” It’s illuminating that the first modern British proponent for ordered, segregated streets built to aid motor cars – and protect pedestrians – was a policeman. (He was also an accomplished poster artist and many of his paintings were shown in the Royal Academy.) Sir Herbert Alker Tripp CBE served as an Assistant Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police from 1932 to 1947. In 1938 he published Road Traffic and Its Control, which advocated separation of traffic modes and the creation of “pedestrian precincts.“ In 1942, he published Town Planning and Road Traffic, which advocated for the provision of motor-only roads. He supported the registration of bicycles. Tripp’s work on mode separation and specifically the separation of pedestrians from motor vehicles strongly influenced Traffic in Towns of 1963, an important report and popular book on urban and transport planning policy written by a team headed by the architect, civil engineer and planner Professor Sir Colin Buchanan. This is the report that inspired many of Britain’s “flyover“ motorways of the 1970s. The Buchanan report stressed: “It is impossible to spend any time on the study of the future of traffic in towns without at once being appalled by the magnitude of the emergency that is coming upon us. We are nourishing at immense cost a monster of great potential destructiveness, and yet we love him dearly. To refuse to accept the challenge it presents would be an act of defeatism.”

“There appears to have been (and still is) a greater acceptance of wheeled, and later motor, traffic as a way of life from very early on …”: The pedestrian and city traffic, Carmen Hass-Klau, Belhaven Press, 1990. Professor Dr. Hass-Klau popularised the term “traffic calming.”

“In Germany (and the Netherlands) it’s far easier for planners to separate different road users because …”: English cyclists often stated their desire for American-style cycle paths such as the one between Brooklyn and Coney Island. A writer in The Hub wrote: “We ought to aim at providing special tracks for cyclists … England is far behind in such matters. More than this – in many of the great cities – in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Washington, for instance – are “cycle strips” along the main thoroughfares . These run on either side of the roadway, are 4ft. to 6ft. wide, and are reserved for cyclists alone. We have only to watch the traffic in any great London thoroughfare to realize what an enormous boon they would be to our city, where the cycle forms one of the easiest, cheapest and most rapid forms of locomotion. As things are, the rider in Cheapside or Oxford Street during the rush hours of the day must run innumerable risks. With the “cycle strip” he could move fast and freely. The Hub, May 27th, 1899.

” … a Fast Lane/Slow Lane campaign for Oxford Street in London was laughed into oblivion …”:  “One lane for brisk walkers and the other for dawdlers. Lanes would run on both pavements, one going east to west and the other west to east. They would be marked by a different coloured paving stone and monitored by marshals whose job would be to see no one fell below the 3mph speed limit.”, December, 4th 2000.

“Taylor grumbled that the “world runs on wheels”: Taylor was complaining about the reduction in revenue in his water taxi business:

Caroches, coaches, jades, and Flanders mares

Do rob us of our shares, our wares and fares;

Against the ground we stand and knock our heels

While all our profit runs away on wheels

English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913.

“Most gentlemen, before they travelled in coaches, used to ride with swords, belts, pistols, holsters …” Reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany, vol. viii., supposed to have been written by John Gressot of Charterhouse. The Life of Thomas Telford civil engineer with an introductory history of roads and travelling in Great Britain, Samuel Smiles, 1867.

“Naturally, Mace, as an important traveller – the BMW driver of his day …”:  Obviously not all BMW owners are aggressive, entitlement-enthused drivers but some are and it’s more than amount suggested by the law of averages. US psychologist Paul Piff researched the attitudes of drivers of “high status” motor vehicles. Researchers attempted to access crosswalks in California. Those motorists in high-status cars were less likely to yield to pedestrians, as they should do by law. Drivers of high-status cars were also more likely to break other road laws, said Piff. BMW drivers “were four times more likely to cut off drivers with lower status vehicles.” Piff PK, Stancato DM, Côté S, Mendoza-Denton R, Keltner D. Higher Social Class Predicts IncreasedUnethical Behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2012; 109(11): 4086-91. “Paul Piff: Does money make you mean?”, December 20th 2013. TED transcript: “We’ve even studied cars, not just any cars, but whether drivers of different kinds of cars are more or less inclined to break the law. In one of these studies, we looked at whether drivers would stop for a pedestrian that we had posed waiting to cross at a crosswalk. Now in California, as you all know, because I’m sure we all do this, it’s the law to stop for a pedestrian who’s waiting to cross. So here’s an example of how we did it. That’s our confederate off to the left posing as a pedestrian. He approaches as the red truck successfully stops. In typical California fashion, it’s overtaken by the bus who almost runs our pedestrian over. (Laughter) Now here’s an example of a more expensive car, a Prius, driving through, and a BMW doing the same. So we did this for hundreds of vehicles on several days, just tracking who stops and who doesn’t. What we found was that as the expensiveness of a car increased, the driver’s tendencies to break the law increased as well.” Paul K. Piff is a researcher at the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley.

“No man should be pestered by giving the way … to hundreds of pack-horses, panniers, whiffers …”: A whiffler was a person that clears the way for a procession but is clearly used here in a derogatory fashion. Smiles said it meant “a paltry fellow.” The Life of Thomas Telford civil engineer with an introductory history of roads and travelling in Great Britain, Samuel Smiles, 1867.

“I have often known many travellers, and myself very often, to have been necessitated to stand stock still behind a standing cart or wagon …”: The Profit, Conveniency, and Pleasure for the whole nation: being a short rational Discourse lately presented to his Majesty concerning the Highways of England: their badness, the causes thereof, the reasons of these causes, the impossibility of ever having them well mended according to the old way of mending: but may most certainly be done, and for ever so maintained (according to this NEW WAY) substantially and with very much ease, &c., &c., Thomas Mace, “Printed for the public good in the year 1675.”

“The “New Users” of the roads in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whose aggressions on the pedestrians and on the road surface were made the subject of persistent complaint in their day …”: The Webbs – and their team of researchers – found and read through a great many previously obscure highway rights documents. English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913.

“New street traffic would lead to a series of changes in urban street design, in traffic regulation, and even in the definition of a street itself …”: Down the Asphalt Path: The Automobile and the American City, Clay McShane, Columbia University Press, 1994.

“British cyclists and motorists have the same “easement-like” rights as pedestrians and equestrians – the right to “pass and repass” …”: Lord Chancellor, DPP v Jones 2000: “the public highway is a public place which the public may enjoy for any reasonable purpose, provided the activity in question does not amount to a public or private nuisance and does not obstruct the highway by unreasonably impeding the primary right of the public to pass and repass.“

As well as passing and re-passing, it has long been recognised that users of the highway may also lawfully pause. In Harrison v Rutland of 1893, Lord Esher said:

“I do not think that the law is that the public must always be passing and doing nothing else on a highway. There are many things often done and usually done on a highway by the public, and if a person does not transgress any such usual and reasonable mode of using a highway, I do not think he is a trespasser.“

Without this definition, cars would not be able to park on the public highway, and sandwich eaters would not be able to sit by the side of a road to eat their lunch.

However, the common law rule is that those using the highway are entitled to remain at rest for a reasonable time, but anyone who obstructs the highway for longer than is reasonable causes a nuisance.

What is and isn’t an obstruction of the public highway used to be relatively clear cut but is less so today thanks to a case which saw judges allow public highway use by a van selling kebabs and burgers. Scott v Mid-South Essex Justices and Keskin, 2004.

“Up until late in the 19th century the word “carriage” meant the act of carrying …”: The Imperial Dictionary of 1854 defined “carriage” as “the act of carrying”, adding “the word is applied to a coach; and carts and waggons are rarely or never called carriages.”

“Unless prohibited by law, operators of vehicles …”: Note I said vehicles, not motor vehicles. Cycles, in law, are classified as vehicles, or to be more precise, “carriages“. It’s pedantic, I know, but whenever I talk about vehicles I always stress whether I mean motor vehicles.

“Rights of way” … are ancient, with the first English law text on the public use of the king’s roads produced in the 12th century …:” Tractatus by Ranulf de Glanville.

“In other words, landowners own the soil below the “right of way” …” Right of way in the British English sense is to do with “passage“ over ground or property, and highways, footpaths, bridleways, it’s not who should go first on the road (that’s known as “priority”, and is a give-and-take thing, no road user has right of way over another).

Today, the Highway Authority owns the top parts of the roads (unless it also owns the land adjoining the road, too). The top parts are defined as the “first two spits“ i.e. the first two spade depths. The landowner owns the rest, beneath and above these two spits.

The Latin maxim Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (“For whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell”) means a landowner has exclusive rights upwards to the sun and downward to the centre of the earth. In England, this maxim can be traced back to at least 1285, and the Statute of Winchester, the first English statute to deal with roads, although its origins may lie in Jewish law from a thousand years earlier. It was popularized in common law in Commentaries on the Laws of England, William Blackstone, 1766.

Technically, the maxim means that an aircraft travelling overhead would be committing trespass when entering airspace above land owned by somebody else. In reality, judges take the common sense approach (and parliament backed the aviation industry with Damage by Aircraft Act 1952 and the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999) but the maxim can certainly be used should a building, say, overhang over somebody else’s property.

There are some interesting legal cases – from around the world – concerning guns and landowners’ rights to airspace. A bullet, fired low, could be considered a trespass of a landowner’s airspace, for instance. English courts decided the height above which trespass would not be considered ought to be 75 feet . Clifton v Bury, 1887. The Tasmanian supreme court has held that a landowner had enough rights to the airspace above his land to prevent his neighbour from shooting his cat while it was sitting on the roof of his shed. Davies v Bennison, 1927.

“The free passage rights afforded to travellers was reconfirmed in an 1868 …”:  In Britain, highway rights are vehicular rights but vehicles are not allowed on every type of highway. The footway, for instance, is the path by the side of the road dedicated to use by pedestrians only. While carriages of every sort – motor vehicles and cycles – are not allowed to “ride“ on the footway, pedestrians have the right to be on any part of the highway, including the carriageway.

“Arcane, perhaps, but such dusty decisions have ramifications in the real world …”:  Dusty decisions can force some users off the road, their “rights“ extinguished. For instance, see Boub v. Township of Wayne, Illinois, of 1998. Justice Miller said because a certain highway didn’t have features that made it plain that bicycles should be considered ordinary users of that highway – no bike path markings, for instance – bicycle riders clearly had no rights to be on that highway, as they were not “intended users.“

“The question before us, then, concerns whether the plaintiff may also be characterized as an intended user. The plaintiff asserts that the rights of bicycle riders and vehicle drivers are generally coextensive. He observes that bicyclists have traditionally used roads and highways without restriction, and he cites a state statute provision that grants bicyclists the rights and duties of drivers of vehicles.

“There is nothing in the roadway or bridge that would suggest that it was intended for use by bicycles. No special pavement markings or signs indicated that bicyclists, like motorists, were intended to ride on the road or bridge, or that bicycles, rather than vehicles, were the intended users of the route.

“We do not believe that section 11-1502 of the Vehicle Code supports the conclusion that bicycle riders are, like drivers of vehicles, intended and permitted users of Illinois streets and highways.

“Moreover, other statutory provisions suggest that bicyclists are generally not intended users of Illinois roads, streets, and highways.

“As the defendants contend, the preceding definitions suggest that highways, streets, roads and bridges in Illinois are primarily designed and intended for use by vehicles, and not by bicycles.“

Justice Heiple, dissenting, said:

“The majority holds that bicyclists are not intended users of roadways. I respectfully dissent from this absurd and dangerous proposition.

“The majority’s conclusion that bicyclists are not intended users of roads defies common sense, contravenes statutory authority, and frustrates public policy.

“Roads are intended to be used primarily by automobiles, but also by bicycles.”

“An old man was knocked down by a cyclist who had been “riding furiously” …”: “A person, riding a bicycle on a highway at such a pace as to be dangerous to the passers by, may be convicted of furiously driving a carriage.“ Taylor v Goodwin, 1879. 4 QBD 228.

“His defence team argued that as a cycle wasn’t defined as a carriage …”: Clause 72 of the 1835 Highway Act is clear: carriages must not “ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road.“ The 1835 act didn’t mention bicycles (pedal propelled bikes weren’t developed until the late 1860s) and so, at first, bicycles had no legal status, no legal right to be on either roads or footpaths.

“Thanks to Taylor v Goodwin, cyclists had gained some birthrights …”: The word “carriageway” was first defined by statute in the Highways Act of 1959 as a “way constituting or comprised in a highway, being a way (other than a cycle track) over which the public have a right of way for the passage of vehicles.” Taylor v Goodwin helped change the common usage of the word “carriageway” to that meaning a “public road for vehicular traffic,” rather than a way along which goods could be carried – a carriage became a wheeled vehicle not merely any means of transport that carried something (and that something could be a packhorse or similar). Taylor v Goodwin, 1879, was an important case but the cyclist’s “right” to the road wasn’t formally achieved until the passing of the Local Government Act 1888. Section 85 declared that “bicycles, velocipedes, and other similar machines are hereby declared to be carriages within the meaning of the Highway Acts.”

“Sir John Mellor, one of the two justices involved in the Taylor case …:” “Mellor, Sir John (1809–1887)’, J. A. Hamilton, rev. Sinéad Agnew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“Jew and Gentile, Tory and Radical, patrician and plebeian …”: The Times, June 11th, 1869.

“The trusting wayfarer, who steps from the pavement into a perfectly silent and apparently empty road …”: The Spectator, November 24th, 1894.

“Apple’s Steve Jobs gushed …”: “Reinventing the wheel,“ Time, December 2nd, 2001.

 “1835 Highway Act”:

“This was founded in 1878 to “secure a fair and equitable administration of Justice …”: The council of the CTC wanted cyclists to be seen as responsible citizens and it invoked the “golden rule,” the do-unto-others prescription: “[We] specially urge on every individual rider the desirability of extending to all that courtesy which he would have shown to himself. The present prejudice against bicycling has been partly caused (and cannot but be fostered and increased) by a disregard to the feelings of other passengers on the road; and although the right of the bicyclist to the free use of the public highway should be at all times maintained, any needless altercation should be studiously avoided.”

“It wasn’t until 1888, with the passing of the Local Government Act, that the “right” for cyclists …”: The outcome of the Taylor v Goodwin case was a “judicial definition.” The 1888 Act codified that area of law, because without doing so it had no reference point for stopping the random bylaws.

“The legal definition of bicycles as carriages allowed cycling to prosper.”: The status of a bicycle as a “carriage” is an important legal one but the terminology did not follow through to popular use, as shown by the words of the music hall song Daisy Bell which emphasises that carriages and bicycles are two different things:

It won’t be a stylish marriage,

I can’t afford a carriage,

But you’ll look sweet upon the seat

Of a bicycle made for two.

“In a report published in 2002, Britain’s Institution of Civil Engineers complained that the “right of way” …:” Designing Streets for People, Institution of Civil Engineers, 2002

“The citizen who does not motor has become a kind of outlaw on his own highways.” ‘The Motor Tyranny,“ The Independent Review, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, T. Fisher Unwin, London, October 1906.

“The streets of all the mediæval towns, were not intended for any sort of wheeled traffic at all …”: Anticipations of the reaction of mechanical and scientific progress upon human life and thought, H. G. Wells, Chapman, London, 1904.

“Once allow us to be put on separate roads and there will be an increasing outcry to keep us to those roads …”:  Motor Union Journal, October 1909. William Joynson-Hicks, first Viscount Brentford, was chairman of the Motor Union, as well as a Conservative MP. He was Minister for Health in 1923–4 and Home Secretary in 1924–29.

“If I am right in my opinion that the right to use the road, that wonderful emblem of liberty, is deeply ingrained in our history and character …”:  Motor, March 29th, 1927. Montagu may be wheeled out nowadays as the archetypal aristocratic motorist but he had once been a keen cyclist. He pedalled to parliament in the 1890s.

“A free man is he that in those things which by his strength and wit he is able to do is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do.”: Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes, 1651.

“The right of the motorist to speed conflicts with the pedestrian’s right to free passage along the road …”: The concept of negative liberty is universal. In the 1890s, W.M. Foster, chairman of the Rights and Privileges committee of the Wisconsin Division of the League of American Wheelmen, expressed the concept thus: “There is a maxim in the law saying that we must use our own rights in a way not to injure others. We can do what we please until we invade the rights of some other person. To prevent such invasion is the purpose of all law. The law of the road that two meeting, each must yield somewhat of the road, contains the philosophy of action where rights conflict. Such philosophy compels each to yield something.” The Pneumatic, April 5th, 1892.

“In theory, the public highway is a shared resource. This was made clear in a court case in 1933 …”: Harper v GM Haden & Sons Ltd., 1933.

“Clearly not all motorists were aware of this, for Burns added that motor car owners ought to “[show] greater regard for some people than motorists are inclined to show.”: Burns was speaking at the banquet ending the third Permanent International Association Road Congress, June 23rd, 1913, London.

“Pioneer motorists thought themselves “gentlemen,” believing aggressive drivers were a small minority of “cads” …”: Or “gentlewomen,“ of course. Pioneer women drivers could be just as aggressive and only a little less reckless than male motorists. “The dark side of automobilism, 1900–30, Violence, war and the motor car, Kurt Möser, Journal of Transport History, September, 2003. Incidentally, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology was the institution where Carl Benz studied engineering.

” … the steady encroachment of the motor car in the early 1900s, becoming faster and more powerful month by month, led to a fundamental reappraisal of hundreds of years of highway rights.”: G. Lacy Hillier, a prominent racing cyclist , writer, and by 1896 also a promotor of motor-car companies, wrote: “It is a mere truism to say that the road is free to all, and that pedestrians can walk where they please, but is it not too much to ask that they will at least keep on the even tenour of their way, and not dance about all over the road in a manner which would be certain to cause a mishap were the vehicle a fast drive carriage, instead of a light and expertly managed bicycle.” The Cycling World Illustrated, 1st April, 1896.

“Who really owned the roads?”: The concerns of the early 1900s are very much still with us, and the concerns are greater than they have ever been. “Basic fairness suggests that everybody should be able to use public roads without unnecessary restriction or excessive risk, since roads are a valuable public resource and basic mobility is an essential activity. Prohibiting a particular mode from using public roads can be considered as inequitable as excluding a particular racial or ethnic group from using public parks or public restrooms. Similarly, it is unfair to ignore the pedestrian and cyclists’ needs in facility design and management, resulting in greater travel barriers or risk than other travelers face.” Whose Roads? Defining Bicyclists’ and Pedestrians’ Right to Use Public Roadways, Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Canada, November 2004.

“The road wasn’t a fixed space, hemmed in by kerbs.”: “To the citizen of to-day, the “King’s Highway” appears as an endless strip of land, with definite boundaries, permanently and exclusively appropriated to the purpose of passage, with a surface specially prepared for its peculiar function. To the citizen of the twelfth, the fifteenth, or even the eighteenth century, the King’s Highway was a more abstract conception. It was not a strip of land, or any corporeal thing, but a legal and customary right … What existed, in fact, was not a road, but what we might almost term an easement — a right of way, enjoyed by the public at large from village to village, along a certain customary course, which, if much frequented, became a beaten track. But the judges held that it was “ the good passage“ that constituted the highway, and not only “ the beaten track,” so that if the beaten track became (as it invariably did in wet weather) “foundrous” the King’s subjects might diverge from it, in their right of passage, even to the extent of “ going upon the corn.”” English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913.

“In 1829, barrister Robert Wellbeloved codified for Parliament a Treatise … “:

“Pedestrians, complained “Nemo” … were “possessed of several sorts of devils”: The Cycling World Illustrated, June 17th, 1896.

“The fact must be brought home to [the] imbecile at once that he has got to keep to his part of the highway …”:  “Motors and Cycles: the transition stage,” Joseph Pennell, Contemporary Review, Volume 81, February, 1902.

“Pedestrians make up the greater part of mankind. Not only that, the finer part.”:  The Little Golden Calf, Il’f and Petrov, 1931. I’ve combined two sources, the 1962 translation by John H.C. Richardson (Frederick Muller Limited, London); and a 2005 translation by Maciej Ceglowski and Peter V. Gadjokov. The Little Golden Calf was the follow-up to the classic Russian farce The Twelve Chairs. Il’f and Petrov later wrote American Road Trip: The 1935 Travelogue of Two Soviet Writers, an acerbic account of an automobile journey across America.

“The pedestrian must not be designed out of the equation for “the carriageway exists primarily for him …”:  Manchester Courier, September 27th, 1902.

“Shattuck was applauded for this …”: The New York Times, March 8th, 1902.

“If you don’t get out of the way I shall smash you up.”: The cab driver was fined £1 6s 0d. The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97, volume 3, T.R. Nicholson, Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

“A teamster was a person who drove a team of draft animals …”:  Today, in the US a teamster is a truck driver, able to go somewhat faster than his predecessors.

“His Majesty’s mail … would upset an apple-cart, a cart loaded with eggs …”: The English Mail-Coach: or the Glory of Motion, Thomas de Quincey, 1850.

“The progress of the Bicycle seems steady and sure … [but] it is perfectly certain that they must be kept off footpaths …”: “We therefore earnestly recommend our readers at once to buy, or to build a machine … We heartily embrace the velocipede therefore, not merely as something new, but as something from which a considerable amount of practical good is likely to ensue,“ wrote Firth Bottomley. *The Velocipede. Its Past, Its Present & Its Future, J.F.B. [Joseph Firth Bottomley], Marshall, 1869.

” … Toad the terror, the traffic-queller, the Lord of the lone trail, before whom all must give way or be smitten into nothingness …”: Kenneth Graeme had his road-hog amphibian up before the beak: Mr. Toad got 20 years in the clink. Not for his reckless driving, but for stealing a car.

” … barrister and early motorist Walter Bradford Woodgate argued in 1903 that British highways very much belonged to pedestrians …”:  W.B. Woodgate was a noted writer on rowing. In 1890 he “drove what was perhaps the first light motor carriage that ever ran in the metropolis. It was technically an illegal act. The vehicle was a three-wheeled bath-chair, with electric driving power generated from a primary battery carried in the chair.“ “The Motor, and the Birthright of the Highway,” W. B. Woodgate, The Nineteenth Century, July, 1903.

“The pleasure [of motorists] appears to consist mainly in the exhilaration derived from velocity …”: “The Motor, and the Birthright of the Highway,“, W. B. Woodgate, The Nineteenth Century, July 1903.

” … it’s illuminating to find so many MPs fretting that motorists, given free rein on British roads, would soon monopolise them …” Motor Cars Bill, August 4th, 1903.

“Motorists, said Burdett-Coutts, had been given a right to use the roads “which in practice they have illegally seized upon …”: Clearly, in the early 1900s, not all MPs owned motor cars.

“Perhaps the public streets should be kept free of people?”: For Love of the Automobile. Looking Back into the History of Our Desires, Wolfgang Sachs, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1992. Original: Die Liebe zum Automobil, Wolfgang Sachs, Reinbek, Rowohlt, 1984.

“Every person has an equal right to travel on the highways, either on foot or with his own conveyance, team, or vehicle.”: The American Bicycler: A Manual for the Observer, the Learner, and the Expert, C. E. Pratt, Boston, 1879.

“The two most active parts of the national organisation were the Good Roads committee, and the Rights and Privileges committee …”: Rights cannot be withdrawn, privileges can be. Cyclists are allowed on American and British roads by right; motorists are there under licence, with the driving licence being a privilege that can be rescinded.

“Liberty Bill,” legislation passed in 1887 that … gave cyclists explicit rights to be in the parks of New York City, and on the roads, too.”:  “Bicycles and tricycles … are hereby declared to be carriages … and all persons by whom bicycles and tricycles … are used, ridden or propelled, upon the public highways … shall be entitled to the same rights and subject to the same restrictions in the use thereof as … persons using carriages drawn by horses … The commissioners, trustees or other authorities having charge or control of any public street, public highway, public parkway, driveway or public place … shall have no power or authority to pass, enforce or maintain any ordinance, rule or regulation, by which any person using a bicycle or tricycle, shall be excluded or prohibited from the free use of any public highway, street, avenue, roadway, driveway, parkway or public place …” “Liberty Bill”, 1887.

“The L.A.W. leapt to the cyclists’ defence but lost the case …”: “William M. Wright, of the Mercury Bicycle Club, and S. Conant Foster and H. M. Walker, of the Manhattan Bicycle Club, were arrested by a Park policemen at One Hundred and Tenth-street and Sixth-avenue yesterday. Walker, mounted on a bicycle, and the others on tricycles, were about to enter Central Park, when warned by a policeman that their action was in violation of a City ordinance. They persisted in riding into the Park and willingly submitted to arrest, wishing to test the legality of the ordinance. They were afterward arraigned at the Yorkville Police Court, and fined $5 each by Justice Murray. This they refused to pay and were committed to prison. Their counsel, who was on hand, it is supposed by preconcerted arrangement, at once started for the Supreme Court, where a writ of habeas corpus was obtained from Judge Lawrence.” The New York Times, June 26th, 1881.

” … never before was a piece of legislation proposed which drew to the capital a larger gathering …”:  The New York Times, January 5th, 1896.

‘The Liberty Bill has been signed … It is therefore law.”: Potter, while a lawyer, used more than just legal tactics to make sure of victory. He and other prominent members of the League lobbied the Governor in person: “In order to insure its passage, the chief consul of the New York Division [of the L.A.W.] made a deal with Governor Hill whereby the wheelmen promised to support the Governor in his campaign for re-election in return for his approval of the bill.”⁠ Governor Hill won re-election. The League of American Wheelmen and the Good Roads Movement, 1880-1905, Ph.d Thesis, Philip P. Mason, 1957.

“From this splendid beginning the courts have established beyond question the right of the bicycle to use any road …”: Good Roads, League of American Wheelmen, February, 1895.

“When the League was formed the bicycle had no legal recognition; now it is universally recognised …”: Court Decisions, Legal Opinions etc. regarding the Rights of Cyclists in Streets, Parks, etc., League of American Wheelmen, Boston, 1897. The League of American Wheelmen and the Good Roads Movement, 1880-1905, Ph.d Thesis, Philip P. Mason, 1957.

“In every contest for the establishment of wheelmen’s rights, the League of American Wheelmen had been the militant and aggressive force …”: The New York Times, January 5th, 1896.

“[Bicycles] are not an obstruction to, or an unreasonable use of, the public streets of a city, but rather a new and improved method of using the same …”:  Swift v. City of Topeka, 43 Kan 671, 23 P 1075, 8 LRA 772 (1890). An adult cyclist called Swift was caught riding on a bridge going over the Kansas river and was arrested for violation of a city ordinance prohibiting bicycle riding on sidewalks and on the bridge. He was convicted. The Supreme Court of Kansas reversed the decision:

“Section 17 of the ordinance in question reads as follows: ‘It shall be unlawful for any person to ride on any bicycle or velocipede upon any sidewalk in the city of Topeka, or across the Kansas river bridge …’ It was admitted at the trial that the defendant … was riding upon a bicycle across the Kansas river bridge, situated on Kansas avenue, within the corporate limits of the city of Topeka; that he was engaged in riding his bicycle across the said bridge when he was arrested, which bridge is 900 feet long, and spans the Kansas river between North and South Topeka; that the main part of said bridge is constructed wide enough for teams to pass each other, going in opposite directions, being about 17 feet in the clear; that on each side of the wagon road there is a passage-way for foot-passengers, and that the defendant was riding his bicycle, at the time named in the complaint, on that part of the bridge used for wagons, carriages, and other vehicles; that the bridge just described is the only bridge on the Kansas river between North and South Topeka, and is the only means of communication between those points; that it is used an occupied with a double track by the Topeka City Railway Company, that continually runs its street-cars between the two points named; that there is a large travel across said bridge, between the two parts of the city of Topeka, by vehicles drawn by horses and otherwise, and that teams and other vehicles are constantly passing over said bridge each way. It is further shown by the evidence that a bicycle can be driven at the rate from 2 to 20 miles per hour; that the ordinary and usual rate of speed is 8 miles per hour; that they can be stopped within from 10 to 20 feet, when being driven at the rate of 10 miles per hour, the limit within which they can be stopped depending somewhat on the kind of bicycle and the experience of the rider; that bicycles have been in use in this city for several years, and at the time of this arrest that there were more than 100 in constant use in the city …

“It will be seen, by an ordinary inspection of the record, that the ordinance only prohibits the use of a bicycle or velocipede upon any sidewalk in the city of Topeka, or across the Kansas river bridge. It does not, either in express terms or by fair implication, forbid riding upon a bicycle on the road-way, or that part of any of the public streets that are devoted to the use of carriages, wagons, and other vehicles, and, while the ordinance is subject to the construction that it was only along or across the foot passage-way or sidewalk of the Kansas river bridge that persons were forbidden to ride on bicycles, yet for the present we shall adopt the construction necessarily adhered to by the trial court, that the ordinance intended to forbid all riding upon bicycles across any part of the Kansas river bridge. It is an admitted fact in this case that at the time of the arrest Swift was riding his bicycle on that part of the bridge used for wagons, carriages, and other vehicles.

“A ‘bicycle’ is defined by lexicographers, and by the courts of England and of this country, to be a carriage. … A bridge in the city of Topeka is a part of the public street. … The exact question, then, is, have the authorities of the city of Topeka, by an ordinance, the power to forbid Swift riding upon his carriage on that part of a public street of the city devoted to the use of vehicles? This statement of the question necessarily assumes that the power of the city could be exercised to prevent the use of bicycles along the sidewalks of the public streets (and these sidewalks will include the footways across the bridge) to the same extent as the use of all other kind of vehicles, no matter how propelled, could be prevented. Public streets are highways, and every citizen has a right to use them. Both the sidewalks and roadways must remain unobstructed, so that people can walk along one without interruption or danger, or drive along the other without delay or apprehension. One of the most imperative duties of city governments in this country is to keep their public streets in such a condition that citizens can travel along them with safety, and without any unnecessary delay. Each citizen has the absolute right to choose for himself the mode of conveyance he desires, whether it be by wagon or carriage, by horse, motor or electric car, or by bicycle, or astride of a horse, subject to the sole condition that he will observe all those requirements that are known as the ‘law of the road.’ This right of the people to the use of the public streets of a city is so well established and so universally recognized in this country that it has become a part of the alphabet of fundamental rights of the citizen. While the tyranny of the American system of government very largely consists in the action of the municipal authorities, this right has not yet been questioned or attempted to be abridged. There can be no question, then, but what a citizen riding on a bicycle in that part of the street devoted to the passage of vehicles is but exercising his legal right to its use, and a city ordinance that attempted to forbid such use of that part of a public street would be held void, as against common right.

“It may be said of bicycles with greater force, as was said of the first use by railroads of public streets, that they are not an obstruction to, or an unreasonable use of, the public streets of a city, but rather a new an improved method of using the same, and germane to their principal object as a passageway. …

“Hence we say that the true intent and meaning of section 17 of the city ordinance in question is that all persons are forbidden to ride on bicycles upon any sidewalk in the city, or the sidewalks or footways of the Kansas river bridge. Sidewalks are intended, constructed, and used solely by pedestrians, and not for the use of vehicles. … A bicycle, being a carriage, can properly be excluded from the use of sidewalks, and persons riding on them should be forbidden to occupy the sidewalks and footways of the public streets, at least longitudinally along such sidewalks or footways. They should be permitted to go across them at such public places as other vehicles are permitted. With this construction of the ordinance, it is plain that Swift has not violated its provisions, and his conviction was wrongful …”

“The bicycle has opened, closed and settled the question of who owns the roads – they belong to the people …”: L.A.W. Bulletin, March 10th, 1899.

“The sign stated, chillingly: “All trespassers on the high road will be prosecuted …”: HARDLY LIKELY.

(An Incident in a Motor Race.)

First Motist (stranded). “HI, STOP! LEND ME A PINT OF OIL, PLEASE. I’M QUITE OUT!“


And the cartoon didn’t say “Motor Association“ it said “Motor Ass” – was this also a joke? Probably. Punch, December 12th, 1896.

“Cycling is such an established institution now-a-days … that it is quite time something was done towards providing special bicycle paths on our roads.”: The Rambler, December 18th, 1897.

“Wolfe-Barry, the person in charge of building London’s now famous Tower Bridge …”:

“All these new routes should have a raised or sunken road throughout for bicycles and [trams] …” Wolfe Barry said “electric cars” not trams but this would confuse modern readers so I changed it. In the late 1890s and early 1900s electric cars were trams; the use of cars as a shortened form of motorcar didn’t become the norm until much later.

“On the route from the Hague to Scheveningen there lie parallel to each other a carriage road, a canal, a bicycle track, a light railway …”: The Spectator, December 31st, 1898.

“ … there is a little town in Holland in the streets of which no horse is ever allowed to come.”:  Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, December, 1880.

“Napoleon constructed some roads which were divided in three …”: A History of Technology, R.J. Forbes, ed. A.R. Hall, T.I. Williams, Oxford University Press, 1958.

” … in 1809 Herman Daendels built a wide road in Java …”:  Travels in the East Indian Archipelago, A.S. Bickmore, Murray, London, 1865.

“In 1910, a 50 metre wide road was built between Lille and Tourcoing …”: “A Noteworthy Boulevard,” Engineering Record, February 26th, 1910.

“Gompertz, ahead of his time …”: “Addition to the Velocipede,” Lewis Gompertz, Register of Arts, Manufacture and Agriculture, 2nd series, no. CCXXIX, June, 1821.

“Royal Dutch Touring Club, now the main motoring organisation in the Netherlands …”:

“The ANWB’s roads commission … called for the construction of a separate parallel network of cycle roads.”: The ANWB supported local rijwielpadverenigingen, bicycle path societies.

“In 2011, sociologist Peter Cox said the cycling infrastructure provided for cyclists in the Netherlands in the early 1900s …”: “The Co-Construction of Cycle Use: Reconsidering mass use of the bicycle,“, Re/Cycling Histories: Users and the Paths to Sustainability in Everyday Life, Peter Cox, Rachel Carson Center, Munich, May 27-29th, 2011.

“It will be a matter of the utmost importance to reserve for the motor-vehicle the road upon which it is to run …”:  The Automobile, August, 1900.

“As Peter Norton has shown in his book about the erosion of pedestrians’ rights in the early 20th century …”: Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, Peter D. Norton, MIT Press, 2008.

“The old common law rule that every person, whether on foot or driving, has equal rights in all parts of the roadway must give way before the requirements of modern transportation …”: Los Angeles Times, September 27th, 1925.

“Mr. Average Citizen, his wife and children, cross the city streets or walk the country roads with much the same assurance that a luckless rabbit feels when chased by a pack of hounds.”:  The New York Times, November 23rd, 1924.

“The private driver is … most strongly influenced by the sense of ownership of his car, and, as he often believes, of the road as well.”: Murder Most Foul: A Study of the Road Deaths Problem, J. S. Dean, Public Affairs News Service, 1947. The title is based on a scene from Hamlet (I.v.27-28), where the Ghost comments about his own death: “Murder most foul as in the best it is/But this most foul, strange and unnatural.”

“The slaughter was so bad, motoring enthusiast Rudyard Kipling was moved to write …”: Fox-hunting, Rudyard Kipling, 1933.



5. Speed


“The world goes on at a smarter pace now than it did when I was a young fellow,” said Mr. Deane to Tom Tulliver …”: The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot, 1860.

“Mechanical Power Subduing Animal Speed.”:

“Travelling, for long distances … “annihilates time and space,” exclaimed a well-travelled doctor …”: The well-connected Dr. Augustus Bozzi Granville travelled widely, and clearly loved rail travel in particular, then still a relative novelty when he was writing an 1841 guidebook to the spas of England. His guidebook was facilitated with the use of at least some trains and he said “… the great, the enormous sum of benefit that must accrue to mankind from the establishment of a means of conveyance which seems to level all topographical distinctions, and not only brings distant cities, but remote countries nearer to each other, and annihilates time and distance, is not to be questioned, and becomes every day more manifest.” The spas of England, and principal sea-bathing places (vol 1. Northern spas), Dr Augustus Bozzi Granville, H. Colburn, London, 1841. This year also saw the start of Thomas Cook’s temperance excursions, by train, from Leicester to Loughborough, kicking off a travel firm that still exists today.

“This phrase appeared in hundreds of transport-related books and articles in the 19th century, including in the first paragraph of one of the world’s earliest books on the new pastime of cycling.”: “When the rumor first came across the water, a few years ago, of that wonderful and fascinating little two-wheeled machine, upon which one could so gracefully annihilate time and space, the author of this little book was seized with the first attack of Velocipede Fever.” The Velocipede: Its History, Varieties, and Practice, J. T. Goddard, New York, 1869. The first book was Velox’s Velocipedes, Bicycles, and Tricycles: How to Make and How to Use Them, published earlier in 1869. This year also saw the publication of Joseph Firth Bottomley’s The Velocipede, its past, its present & its future. This was sub-tilted: “How to Ride a Velocipede. Straddle a Saddle, then Paddle and Skedaddle.”

“The engine … set off at its utmost speed, thirty-five miles an hour, swifter than a bird flies …”: Stephenson invited Kemble to his locomotive launch in much the same way VIPs are invited to movie premieres today – for the publicity. Record of a Girlhood, Frances Ann Kemble, Richard Bentley and Son, 1878.

“It is really flying, and it is impossible to divest yourself of the notion of instant death …”: The Railway Journey: the Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century, Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, University of California Press, 1986.

“This was considered “an altogether exceptional speed,” said a 1903 chronicler …”: Stage-coach and mail in days of yore, Charles G. Harper, Chapman and Hall, London, 1903.

“In 1888, to win a £1,000 bet, the coachman Jim Selby raced his famous coach “Old Times” from London to Brighton and back in under eight hours …”: The Brighton road: speed, sport, and history on the classic highway, Charles G. Harper, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906.

“Mail coaches – waved through turnpikes without stopping, and with change of horses taking less than a minute – were faster …”: Old Coaching Days, Harris, Stanley, R. Bentley, London, 1882.

“America’s famous Pony Express mail delivery service of 1860–1 was not as express as might be imagined …”: The Pony Express required a new horse every 10 to 15 miles and a new rider every 75-100 miles.

“In Elizabeth Turner’s Cautionary Rhymes of the 1840s, children were warned to avoid turnpike roads…”: While Miss Helen survived crossing the carriage road she nevertheless came to a sticky end – she fell down a well.

“The violent manner in which this business was conducted caused considerable loss of life.”: Development of Transportation in Modern England, W. T. Jackman, Cambridge University Press, 1916.

” … what, by any possibility, could take place analogous to a race betwixt two stage-coaches, in which the lives of thirty or forty distressed and helpless individuals are at the mercy of two intoxicated brutes?”: Intoxicated with booze or speed? Probably both. Loides and Elmete, T. D. Whitaker, 1816. The Life of Thomas Telford civil engineer with an introductory history of roads and travelling in Great Britain, Samuel Smiles, 1867.

“Your papa would not trust your life in the stage. It is very unsafe …”: Stage-coach and Tavern Days, Earle, Alice Morse, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1900.

“The increased speed encouraged more journeys, with the number of stagecoach services between British cities increasing eightfold between 1790 and 1836.”:  The Transport Revolution, Philip S. Bagwell, Routledge, 1988.

“Highwaymen … were put out of business by the faster coaches.”: Crime and Industrial Society in the Nineteenth Century,  J. J. Tobias, Batsford, 1967.

“Trains … may have been “black monsters” with “trailing clouds of smoke, disfiguring the landscape, destroying the privacy and seclusion of [landed] estates”:  Quoted in Development of Transportation in Modern England, W.T. Jackman, Cambridge University Press, 1916.

“Most of the great European rail stations were built on the outskirts of the city center – not in the best parts of town … In London the new railway lines were built exclusively through working class neighborhoods because property values were considerably lower there. Government and the railways evicted almost 120,000 people from their homes to make way for the new construction.” The Railway Journey: the Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th. Century, Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, University of California Press, 1986.

“Ebenezer, a Quaker, wrote a letter to a northern English newspaper in 1825 …”: Leeds Intelligencer, January 13th, 1825.

“… swift rail travel – was the wonder of the age …”: The speed of trains would increase all the way through the 19th and 20th centuries. This speed is done on new rights of way, the Permanent Way. Speed on these restricted-access ways is somehow less of a issue that speed on the public highway because railway routes were built anew, they didn’t usually form part of existing rights of way. Speed on motorways (US: freeways) can be seen in a similar way. These are set-aside roads, built for a specific use. They may, at times, extinguish a long-established right of way, a historic highway, but another is sometimes substituted for the “motors-only road”. The conflict comes when motor vehicles share the road – perhaps an ancient highway – with other users. It’s then that speed becomes a divisive issue.

“It does a bullet no good to go fast; and a man, if he be truly a man, no harm to go slow…”: Modern Painters, vol 3, John Ruskin, 1856.

“The Sage of Brantwood …”: Brantwood was Ruskin’s house in the English Lake District. Ruskin was an art critic, too, and he would have noticed the change in artistic perspective that came with increased speed, a sideways view of the world from the fast-moving train. Subliminally or otherwise, 19th-century artists started to pay less attention to foregrounds, which had been a striking feature of paintings from before the railway age.⁠ Sir Francis Jeune, a one-time enthusiastic cyclist who became an enthusiastic motorist, said in 1904: “A railway has no foreground … To a road and the traveller on it the foregound is everything.” Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Harmsworth, Sir Alfred C., Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904. Similarly, French author Victor Hugo noticed in 1837 how, thanks to speed, the view from a train window was blurred: “The flowers by the side of the road are no longer flowers but flecks, or rather streaks, of red or white; there are no longer any points, everything becomes a streak; the grain fields are great shocks of yellow hair; fields of alfalfa, long green tresses; the towns, the steeples, and the trees perform a crazy, mingling dance.”

“I not only object but am quite prepared to spend all my best bad language in reprobation of the bi-, tri-, and 4-, 5-, 6- or 7-cycles, and every other contrivance and invention for superseding human feet on God’s ground.”: Attributed to John Ruskin but no source given, Tit-Bits, March 21st, 1888. Ruskin’s friends Henry Swan and George Allen were both cyclists.

“Jim Selby’s London–Brighton–London record set in 1888 by the 64 foaming-at-the-mouth horses was beaten by cyclists within months.”: In August, 1889, four cyclists E. J. Willis, G. L. Morris, C. W. Schafer, and S. Walker, members of the Polytechnic Cycling Club, broke Selby’s record, covering the distance in 7 hours, 36 minutes. The record was broken again by Frank Shorland, in June, 1890, upon a pneumatic-tyred “Geared Facile” safety, reducing the time to 7 hours, 19 minutes. (Shorland later worked for Raleigh and was one of many cycle figures at the evening meal celebrating the Emancipation Run in 1896, English motoring’s seminal event.) The following month the record was broken again, by Selwyn Edge, doing the ride in 7 hours, 2 minutes. (Edge went on to become Britain’s first hero motor racing driver). The Brighton road: speed, sport, and history on the classic highway, Charles G. Harper, Chapman & Hall, London, 1906.

“The man who owns a bicycle … throws his dust in the face of the man in the carriage …” The New York Times, June 3rd, 1899.

“The bicycle was only beaten for speed by steam railway engines at full pelt.”: “Almost as remarkable as our railroads and steamships is the new method of locomotion by means of the bicycle and tricycle … It is a very interesting fact that three out of the four methods of rapid locomotion we now possess should have attained about the same maximum speed. The racehorse, the steamship, and the bicycle, have each of them reached thirty miles an hour. The horse is, however, close upon, if it has not actually attained, its utmost limits; the bicycle can already beat the horse for long distances, and will certainly go at higher speeds for short ones; while the steamship will also go much quicker, though how much no one can yet say.” From The wonderful century: its successes and its failures, Alfred Russel Wallace, Dodd Mead, 1898.

“…there is as much exhilaration in speeding a bicycle as in speeding a horse: perhaps more. The wheelman who have never exceeded the dawdling legal limit of eight or ten miles per hour has never experienced it … The desire to “let out a link” is human. Not to “let out” occasionally is to lose the quickened heart beats, the expanded lungs, the glowing cheek, the brightened eye, and the tingling coursing of the fresh, warm blood in every vein. Eight miles per hour scarce moves the sluggish blood.” From The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review, November 6th, 1896

“A hare lies by the roadside, clearly exhausted at its attempts to out-run a bicyclist.”: The modern bicycle : containing instructions for beginners, choice of a machine, hints on training, road book for England, Wales, &c., &c.; Charles Spencer, Frederick Warne and Co., c.1877.

“The bicycle, said Dutch professor Wiebe Bijker in a well-known analysis of technological change, was transformational …”: Of bicycles, bakelites and bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, Wiebe E. Bijker, Cambridge, MA; London MIT Press, 1995.

“While most of the injuries caused by speeding cyclists on the public highway were minor, there were fatalities, too.”: Clearly, cyclists then and now, did and can cause injuries to pedestrians – and even fatalities. But it was motoring which took the “slaughter” to new and (should be but isn’t) frightening levels. Forum user oozaveared gave a physics lessons to readers of British cycling website,

“The calculation is this (Mass X Velocity Squared) over 2. Let’s take a 13 odd stone cyclist on commuter bike. That’s roughly 100kg of mass. Let’s say he/she is going at a decent clip I’ll use 22mph because that equates to a nice round 10 metres per second.

“100 x 10 squared /2 = 5000 joules of energy impact.

“Remember 5000.

“Ok let’s take a little car. A smart car say weighing 750kg and a passenger (small one) let’s call that 800kg. Now let’s do that equation again.

“800 x 10 squared / 2 = 40,000 joules of energy impact.

“8 times more impact energy. If the car is doing 44mph you can make that 160,000 joules or 32 times the impact.

“And that’s a small car at the same speed as a cyclist. Make it a Range Rover with 4 passengers in and you have 500,000 joules or 100 times the impact energy.

“We don’t even consider the fact that a cyclist hitting a pedestrian is soft tissue and bone hitting soft tissue and bone thereby mitigating the force of impact (cos the cyclist gets half).”

“An old woman killed by a cyclist going at “full speed” made the newspaper in May 1878.”: The Illustrated Police News, May 4th, 1878.

“The coroner commended him for “having done all in his power to alleviate the sufferings of the injured man.”: The Illustrated Police News, August 24th, 1878.

“The judge estimated this would be “under four miles an hour, rather slower than a person would walk,”: The Illustrated Police News, November 19th, 1881.

“An up-market society journal warned that if a “cycle tax” were brought in by parliament in 1896 …”: The Cycling World Illustrated, March 25th, 1896.

“The scorcher and the road-hog are the least representative followers of the sports which their conduct brings into question …” Mr. Punch Awheel: The Humours of Motoring and Cycling, J.A. Hammerton, ed., The Educational Book Co. Ltd., no date but likely to be pre-1906.

” … many of the prototype Mr. Toads … expected those in front of their bicycles to get the hell out of the way.”:


Thin as a specter, with sallow complexion,

Senseless and swift as a bolt from the


Hotly disdaining to choose his direction.

See him in motion’s delirium go.

He recks not of victims all bruised and


He sees but the dust that is raised by

his toy.

His course all depends upon how he is


To pedal alone is his life and his Joy.


The stream with its singing no soft mood


In vain wave the fields where the clover is sweet;

He sees not the forest and sky with

their splendors;

He only exists in his ankles and feet.⁠

Washington Star, via Lyra Cyclus; Or, The Bards and the Bicycle: Being a Collection of Merry and Melodious Metrical Conceits anent The Wheel, Edmond Redmond, ed., New York: M.F. Mansfield, 1897.




Beside her wheel my ladye sits, and

spins the livelong day.

The drifted wool her fairy touch like

magic melts away.

Certes, she is passing fair, fairer than

verse may tell.

She winds the skein about my hands,

and round my heart a spell.

The sunbeams dancing in her eyes dare

me a kiss to steal

From gentle Mistress Dorothy beside her

spinning wheel.



Scorching down the Boulevard,

Chewing gum and pedaling hard.

Ting ling! Almost knock me flat.

Dizzy tie, Fedora hat.

Scarlet bloomers: ’Tis a picture

Makes my very senses reel.

What was that? I ask. Oh, merely

Dot astride her spinning wheel.⁠

The Spinning Wheel, Ernest Neal Lyon, New York Sun, via Lyra Cyclus; Or, The Bards and the Bicycle: Being a Collection of Merry and Melodious Metrical Conceits anent The Wheel, Edmond Redmond, ed., New York: M.F. Mansfield, 1897.



I am the scorcher!

Please observe

The curve

That appertains unto my spine!

With head ducked low

I go

O’er man and beast, and woe

Unto the thing

That fails to scamper when I ting-a-ling!

Let people jaw

And go to law

To try to check my gate.

If that’s their game!

I hate

To kill folks, but I’ll do it just the same,

I guess,


They clear the track for me;

Because, you see,

I am the scorcher, full of zeal,

And just the thing I look like on the wheel![1]

The Introspective Scorcher, Cleveland Leader, via Lyra Cyclus; Or, The Bards and the Bicycle: Being a Collection of Merry and Melodious Metrical Conceits anent The Wheel, Edmond Redmond, ed., New York: M.F. Mansfield, 1897.



(After reading the Protests and Plans of the Cyclophobists)

I know I’m a “scorcher,” I know I am torcher

To buffers and mivvies who’re not up to date;

But grumpy old geesers, and wobbly old wheezers,

Ain’t goin’ to wipe me and my wheel orf the slate.

I mean to go spinning and ‘owling and grinning

At twelve mile an hour through the thick of the throng.

And shout, without stopping, whilst, frightened and flopping,

My elderly victims like ninepins are dropping,–

“So long!”


The elderly bobby, who’s stuffy and cobby,

Ain’t got arf a chance with a scorcher on wheels;

Old buffers may bellow, and young gals turn yellow,

But what do I care for their grunts or their squeals?

No, when they go squiffy I’m off in a jiffy,

The much-abused “scorcher” is still going strong.

And when mugs would meddle, I shout as I pedal–

“So long!”

Mr. Punch Awheel: The Humours of Motoring and Cycling, J.A. Hammerton, ed., The Educational Book Co. Ltd., no date but likely to be pre-1906.

And scorching by bicycle is still with us! The Strava smartphone app keeps a tally of an individual’s speed on a bicycle and can post results to an online leader’s board. Riders compete against others to gain KOMs – “King of the Mountain” results.

” … thrill-based transportation occurs when the passenger “can envisage himself as the author of his velocity” …”: “Crash: Speed as Engine of Individuation,” Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Modernism/Modernity 6.1, 1999.

” … petroleum carriages can go as fast as an ordinary cyclist cares to travel.” Engineer, March, 1894.

“By 1899, cyclists were no longer in charge of the fastest vehicles on the road.”: 30mph was achievable with some Victorian motor cars.

 “The motor has come to stay, and we should be the last to deprecate the fact …”: The Hub, August 26th, 1899.

“A couple on a tandem, dressed to the nines, are shown besting a motor car …”:   Leslie’s Weekly, January 26th, 1901.

“While motorists … were not allowed to travel above 10 miles per hour, cyclists were clocked doing 15.85 miles per hour …”: The Automobilist Abroad, Francis Miltoun, L.C. Page & Company, Boston, 1907.

“This new danger no doubt forced many cyclists from their bicycles, and many retreated into the trolley buses, or became car owners.”: It’s also possible that many pioneer motorists gave cyclists plenty of room when passing because, as many had recently been cyclists themselves, they would have been “cyclist-aware.”

“THE SCORCHER … Hurry, Scurry, Off with a flurry …”: The Automobile Magazine, September, 1902.

“The early motorists … fought tooth and nail to prevent the “unEnglish” imposition of speed limits.”: “The unEnglish method adopted by the police of laying traps in the open country to enforce this inadequate speed limit has much to do with spoiling the pleasure of motoring …” Pioneer racing driver. Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing, Charles Jarrott, E. P. Dutton & Company, 1906.

” … motorists seemed to kill with abandon …”: As well as being run over by horse-drawn carriages and falling under the feet of horses, people – especially children – also died from being kicked, bitten or trampled by horses. Horses scared easily and could bolt, adding a frisson of unpredictability to 19th century streets.

According to an 1871 article in The Times, there were “124 persons … run over and killed in the streets of London.” 11 pedestrians were run over and killed by cabs, 17 by omnibuses, two by private carriages, 27 by lights carts, 24 by heavy carts, 20 by the HGVs of the day, 19 by vans, one by a fire-engine, two by folks on horse-back and one by the rider of a velocipede. “Perils of the Streets”, The Times, July 26th, 1871.

In New York in 1900, 200 people were killed by horses and horse-drawn vehicles in 1900. Today, there are about 350 automobile-related deaths each year. In Chicago in 1916 there were 16.9 horse-related fatalities for each 10,000 horse-drawn vehicles. This is more than six times the city’s modern day fatality rate per automobile.

The number of deaths in England and Wales due to road incidents is approximately 5,000 a year, or between 80 and 100 deaths per million of population. In 1905, the Registrar General’s Report for England and Wales recorded 2,424 deaths from horses and horse-drawn vehicles. This equates to an annual rate of about 70 deaths per million of population. There are more cars and trucks on the road today than horses or horse-drawn vehicles in the Victorian era.

If, therefore, road mortality was expressed in terms of deaths per 1,000 motor vehicles, it could be argued that horses and carriages posed a greater mortal danger to the public in 1900 than motor vehicles in the modern era. However, the greater speed and power of modern motor vehicles means pedestrians steer clear of the busiest roads and this is because of the obvious danger from being hit by fast moving motor vehicles. Pedestrians happily mixed with horses and horse-drawn carriages and there appeared to be less fear of the “traffic”.

“The chairman of the post-war Pedestrians’ Association, channelling Shakespeare …”: Murder Most Foul: A Study of the Road Deaths Problem, J. S. Dean, Public Affairs News Service, 1947.

“The evidence showed that this car was driven along Oxford Street, one of the most crowded thoroughfares in London, at least 16 miles an hour …” Old Bailey Proceedings Online,, September 1907, trial of EVRARD, Robert (21, chauffeur),

“Gilbert owned a succession of motor cars but ordered the gloriously-named Hardy McDonald McHardy, his “gentleman-chauffeur,” to drive below the speed limit at all times.”: W.S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre, Jane W. Stedman, Oxford Oxford University Press, 1996. Gilbert’s first car was a Locomobile steam car, bought in 1900; he later bought a Rolls-Royce.

“I am delighted with the suggestion made by your spirited correspondent Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey …”: Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey, 3rd Baronet, was an engineer and ballistics expert, author of The Crossbow of 1903.

“Motor shooting for a single gun” would appeal strongly to the sporting instincts of the true Briton …”: The Times, London, June 3rd, 1903.

“… the speed limit was “seldom observed by even the most law-abiding citizens, and it is habitually disregarded by persons of high station …”: The Times, September 23rd, 1902.

“Eight cyclists, each carrying a red flag, patrol the Brighton road every Saturday and Sunday, warning motorists of police ambuscades.”: Bystander, May, 1905.

“I have the pleasure to inform motorists that the heavily trapped part of the Portsmouth Road from Esher to the 19th milestone will henceforth be patrolled by our cyclist scouts …”: Golden Milestone, Automobile Association, 1955

“The Automobile Association relied on cycle scouts for some years.”: Early AA cycle scouts used their own bicycles, for which they were paid an allowance. Before the introduction of uniforms in 1909, the scouts had to provide their own clothing, too. By 1912 there were 950 AA cycle scouts across the UK. The motorcycle patrols, known as Road Service Outfits or “RSOs”, weren’t created until 1919. By 1923 there were 274 AA motorbike patrols but still 376 cyclists.

“The AA’s famous car badge was “introduced simply to help the scouts identify AA members …”:

“The anti-motorist will … [be] convinced that the motorist is a dust-raising, property-destroying, dog-killing, fowl-slaying, dangerous and ruthless speed maniac.”: Through East Anglia in a Motor Car, James Edmund Vincent, Methuen & Co., London 1907

“[It is a fallacy] that the main roads of this country are not suitable for high speeds …”: The Times, October 4th, 1904.

“Trapping motorists and fining them for speeding was, “a very profitable employment,” he complained.”: Of course, the exact same arguments are used today against so-called “cash cow” speed cameras.

“One objection is that it makes into a crime an act which may not be criminal or anti-social in its character … East Sussex has gone in for an elaborate electric timing apparatus …”: House of Lords debate, July 16th, 1907.

“[speed traps] are manifestly absurd as a protection to the public, and they are used … merely as a means of extracting money from the passing traveller in a way which reminds one of the highwaymen of the Middle Ages.”: House of Lords debate, July 16th, 1907.

“The poetry of pace generally leads to a payment before the prejudiced.”: Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Harmsworth, Sir Alfred C., Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904.

“The automobile is the idol of the modern age … The man who owns a motorcar gets for himself … the adulation of the walking crowd …”: “The Conquering Automobile”, Independent, April 1906. Cited in America Adopts the Automobile, 1895-1910, James J. Flink, M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1970.

“Whirling at a high rate of speed with little or no exertion affords a pleasure of the most exalted nature.”: The Automobile Magazine, August, 1900.

“Of course, Miss Bacon had earlier been a cyclist …”:  Miss Nellie Bacon was a keen cyclist in the 1890s and became an early woman motorist and later a suffragette. In 1899 she complained about the exclusion of women from the male-only Automobile Club and, along with Lady Harberton (of CTC and the bloomers court case fame), she championed a women’s version of the club. “The pastime of cycling is all very well, but the motor vehicle gives a foretaste of something better to come,” she wrote in The Automobile in 1900.

“Our hereditary instincts are shocked at seeing anything on the road faster than the horse …”: Charles Rolls spoke these words to Claude Johnson who relayed them to Lord Harmsworth, owner of the Daily MailNorthcliffe, R. Pound & G. Harmsworth, Cassell & Company, 1959.

“Young said traffic snarls were “entanglements” that didn’t prevent “king” car coming “into the noble kingdom of which it has so lately captured the throne.”: In Motoring Illustrated’s Motoring Annual and Motorists Year Book of 1903 Filson Young of Briar Cottage, Epsom said he owned a Locomobile and, of his three listed hobbies, one was cycling.

“No advice that I can give will abate the nuisance of these people; it is their nature to be offensive, and unhappily the motor-car endows them with almost unlimited opportunities of indulging themselves.”:  The complete motorist, A. B. Filson Young, McClure, Phillips & co., Methuen & co. in New York/London, 1904.

“The motor car, which is so often said to be a saver of time, is too often a destroyer of it.”: The Happy Motorist: An Introduction to the Use and Enjoyment of the Motor Car, A. B. Filson Young, E. G. Richards, 1906.

“Just what Mr. Ruskin might have written after he had encountered a 60 horse power racing car driven at top speed by a crack brained scorcher, would … have proven most interesting reading.”: The Automobile Magazine, August 1902.

“[The] motor car, which habitually travelled at three or four times the speed of the bicycle, with a load ten or fifteen times as great, and with fifty times the momentum, came as a serious menace both to the highways and to their frequenters …”: English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913.

“I have seen a gentle old man … incapable in ordinary life of acting inconsiderately to any one; but who, when seated behind the wheel of a powerful car, seemed to be possessed by the concentrated energy of a thousand fiends …”: Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing, Charles Jarrott, E. P. Dutton & Company, 1906.

“At the bottom of this miscarriage of modern technics lies a fallacy that goes to the very heart of the whole underlying ideology: the notion that power and speed are desirable for their own sake …”: The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects, Lewis Mumford, Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1961.

6. Width


TOP QUOTE: “[In London] the existing layout of roads and buildings means that there is simply not enough space to provide segregated cycle lanes without adversely impacting other users.” Boris Johnson, Mayor answers to London, Segregated Cycle Tracks, Question number, February 23rd, 2011.

“Other famous car models – such as the VW Beetle and the Ford Fiesta – have also increased markedly in size and weight.”: 

Classic VW Beetle

Length: 4079mm

Width: 1539mm

Height: 1500mm

Weight: 800kg


2014 VW Beetle

Length: 4278mm

Width: 1808mm

Height: 1486mm

Weight: 1300kg


Classic Mini Cooper S Rally

Length: 3054mm

Width: 1397mm

Height: 1346mm

Weight: 686kg


2014 Mini Clubman

Length: 4110mm

Width: Width 1820mm

Height: 1561mm

Weight: 1200kg


Of course, 1950s American “gas guzzlers” were famously wide and long.

Parking bays on British roads can be a maximum length of 6.6 metres and minimum of 4.5 metres, and a maximum width of 2.7 metres and minimum of 1.8 metres. These dimensions were set in 1994 in order to accommodate bigger cars but cars have kept on increasing in size.

“There’s an epidemic of pedestrian-unfriendly “pavement parking” – wheels half up on the sidewalk …”: Parking on the sidewalk is rarely seen as a social malaise in Britain, it’s now considered perfectly normal. Parking with two-wheels-on-the-sidewalk is seen as a courtesy to other motorists i.e. not blocking the highway. However, the sidewalk is also part of the highway (defined as building to building, not “the road”). The Surrey County Council website informs motorists that “In common law, drivers have the right to pass and re-pass along the road. There is no legal right to park on a road, verge or footway.”

In Britain, “institutional motorism” has resulted in cars littering and obstructing the public highway, and this has become a societal norm.

In Britain, from the 1950s onwards, it became more and more common to store cars – for free – on the public highway, a practice officially forbidden before this time, and strongly enforced.

In many other countries there are signs telling motorists where they can park, everywhere else is forbidden. In the UK, there are signs and road markings – double yellow lines etc – telling people where they can’t park but everywhere else is deemed to an OK place to dump private property. It’s deemed acceptable to store a private motor-car on the public highway in a way that it would not be acceptable to leave other property, such as car-sized crates. Bicycles locked to railings and retailer’s placards plonked in the middle of sidewalks are often deemed “obstructions on the highway” by local authorities yet cars parked partially on the sidewalk are not.

Britain’s streets are blighted with motor-centric road markings and confusing “no parking” signs when it would be far simpler – and far more attractive – to ban parking everywhere except for dedicated bays. Of course, such “draconian” measures would be seen as “anti-motorist” when, in fact, indiscriminate parking leads to anti-motorist highway blockages. Britain has been allowed to fill and fill with motor cars because this is “good for the economy.” Suburban streets have become clogged with parked cars, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get past. Motor car owners then feel it to be their civic duty to “park on the pavement”.

It’s ironic, but the law that states cyclists shouldn’t ride on sidewalks is the same law that could be used to prevent motorists from parking on sidewalks.

Those who rant at cyclists for “riding on the pavement” tend not to rant at motorists committing the exact some offence. The offence was introduced in 1835. While all other parts of the 1835 Highway Act have been either amended or repealed, clause 72 remains in force:

“If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers; or shall wilfully lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge, upon any such footpath or causeway; or shall tether any horse, ass, mule, swine, or cattle, on any highway, so as to suffer or permit the tethered animal to be thereon.”

The key phrase is “carriage of any description”. That is a cover-all that is still in force. Motor cars were classed as carriages in the 1903 Motor Car Act; bicycles were so classified in 1888. The operators of bicycles and cars have the same road rights, that is, being able to pass and repass over the public highway. Stopping for any length of time is a grey area, with a mishmash of laws, and parking of a carriage is also caught up in a swirl of conflicting legislation.

However, clause 72 of the 1835 Highway Act is clear: carriages must not “ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road.”

Clause 72 is used in the current Highway Code. Rule 145 states:

“You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency.”

Since January 1999 a fixed penalty notice can be issued with the offender given a ticket with fine and points attached unless they appeal in which case it goes to court.

This regulation tends not to be used, especially if a police officer doesn’t see the driver actually driving on to the sidewalk. A police officer may have “reasonable grounds” to believe the motorist drove on the sidewalk – it would be up to the courts to decide whether a driver was telling the truth should he claim his car was placed on the sidewalk with the use of a crane. However, unlike for a speeding offence a police officer has no power, in relation to driving on the sidewalk, to insist that the keeper of a vehicle tells of who was driving at any particular time. This particular quirk of the law could be remedied by politicians in an instant, but MPs – despite many promises – have over the years repeatedly failed to give the police this simple expedient. For this and other reasons the police generally don’t enforce this particular law and tend to refer complainants to local authority parking enforcement officers, who have few mechanisms in which to tackle the problem.

Now, back to that crane. If there was one knocking around the police officer should use it to lift cars off the sidewalk, ship them off to the pound and charge motorists for the process. Then perhaps British sidewalks could be freed of private property obstructing the public highway.

“For every one mile of purpose-built “motor road” in Britain, there are 95 miles of roads conceived originally for non-motorised traffic.”:  London’s North Circular ring road looks modern and thrusting but much of it is only cosmetically new. 15 miles of it had been built by 1934, but only nine miles of these were on new alignments.

While motorways in the UK consist of 1 percent of roads they carry a disproportionate amount of traffic. The 2,205 miles of British motorways carry 20 percent of all motorised traffic.

28,910 miles of A roads carry 44 percent of the traffic. The remaining 87 percent of roads (213,885 miles of them) carry 36 percent of the traffic. There are 245,000 miles of roads in Britain. Statistics, Department for Transport, 2011.

“Among the novel, motor-specific highways in Britain are some stretches of the suburb-strangulating “ring roads,” which grew like Topsy …”:  Britain’s ”bypasses” most certainly did grow like Topsy. To grow like Topsy is to grow “wild, with neither plan, structure, nor direction.”

Topsy was a slave girl in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin of 1852. In the novel, Miss Ophelia tries to reform the wild Topsy.

“Tell me where were you born, and who your father and mother were.”

“Never was born,” re-iterated the creature more emphatically. “Never had no father, nor mother nor nothin'”

“… Have you ever heard anything about God, Topsy?” The child looked bewildered, but grinned as usual.

“Do you know who made you?”

“Nobody, as I knows on,” said the child, with a short laugh. The idea appeared to amuse her considerably; for her eyes twinkled, and she added, “I spect I grow’d. Don’t think nobody never made me.”

The “inner ring roads” of many British towns (and cities) were created by levelling ancient town (or city) walls and this was done in the second half of the 19th century.

“Rudgate, a ten-mile-long road south of Boroughbridge, is a Roman bypass of York.”:  Roman-road expert Ivan Margary describes the Rudgate thus: “From Toulston Lodge, 1 mile west of Tadcaster, a road called Rudgate runs due north near Walton to Cattal and Whixley, where it joins the northern main road from York. It is now a narrow and somewhat winding road to near Walton, but the rest of it runs in straight lengths and is somewhat raised. Parish boundaries follow it for considerable distances. The River Wharfe is crossed a mile to the east of Thorp Arch, but the crossing has long been out of use and is now approached from the south by a green lane. On the north it is obstructed for a mile by wartime constructions, but beyond Walton it is in use throughout. Its junction with the northern road makes it clear that Rudgate is the later of the two.” Roman Roads in Britain, Ivan Margary, John Barker, London 1955.

“It was built for the driving of animals to the Smithfield meat market in the City.”: The driving of sheep and cattle through the streets of London was, by 1867, not allowed in the day-time. The Metropolitan Streets Act 1867 – parts of which are still in force – says:

“No person shall drive or conduct any cattle through any street…between the hours of ten in the morning and seven in the evening, except with the permission of the Commissioner of the Police.”

“The word “cattle” shall include bull, ox, cow, heifer, calf, sheep, goats, and swine, also horses, mules, and asses, when led in a string or loose.”

The New Road attracted the capital’s first bus service, operated by coach builder George Shillibeer. This started on July 4th, 1829, using horses as the motive power. It wasn’t, at first, a terribly busy service: just four “omnibuses” were provided in each direction daily. The width of the road meant the wide 18-person omnibus (“for all” in Latin) could be pulled by three horses abreast, with plenty of room to spare.⁠

“Saturday the new vehicle, called the Omnibus, commenced running from Paddington to the City, and excited considerable notice, both from the novel form of the carriage, and the elegance with which it is fitted out. It is capable of accommodating 16 or 18 persons, all inside, and we apprehend it would be almost impossible to make it overturn, owing to the great width of the carriage. It was drawn by three beautiful bays abreast, after the French fashion.” Morning Post, July 7th, 1829.

“The Act of Parliament that established the 60-foot-wide New Road in 1756 …”:

“Today, the former New Road – known since 1857 as the Marylebone, Euston and Pentonville roads …”:  The New Road was renamed Pentonville Road, from Islington to King’s Cross; Euston Road, from King’s Cross to Regent’s Park; and Marylebone Road, from Regent’s Park to Paddington. When the full length of the road was dug up in the 1860s to create, beneath it, the world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway Company “re-made the roadway, and now it is one of the finest roads in London,” said a writer in 1878.⁠ “Euston Road and Hampstead Road”, Old and New London, Volume 5, 1878.

“Transport for London’s “Independent Roads Taskforce” is said to be undertaking a fundamental rethink of road use in the capital but, to date, has not announced any plans for Euston Road …”: There’s very little dedicated provision for cyclists on the Marylebone and Euston roads, a bone of contention with cycle advocates because of deaths of cyclists at pinch-points.

“Those on foot wishing to cross the most throttled parts of the road are huddled into “refuges”:  “Euston Road and Hampstead Road”, Old and New London, Volume 5, 1878.  Pedestrian refuges were not created for protection from motor cars, the first was installed in Liverpool in 1862. The son of Charles Dickens discussed London’s pedestrians refuges in 1879: “Crossing, although a matter that has been lately much facilitated by the judicious erection of what may be called “refuges,” and by the stationing of police constables at many of the more dangerous points, still requires care and circumspection … One of the most fatal errors is to attempt the crossing in an undecided frame of mind, while hesitation, or a change of plan midway, is ruinous.” Dickens’s Dictionary of London, Charles Dickens, Jr. 1879.

Bollards to protect pedestrians from wheeled vehicles are not recent either. The first were installed in London in 1710.

“Portland Place, a wide road running south from Marylebone Road, has been wide since it was built in the 1770s.”: Portland Place was later the fictional home of Richard Hannay in John Buchan’s novel The Thirty-nine Steps.

“Foley House was the home of Lord Thomas Foley.”:  Because of his prodigious girth Lord Foley was known to his contemporaries as Lord Balloon. Foley House was demolished in 1820.

“Eastward of Harley Street and running parallel with it, is Portland Place, a thoroughfare remarkable for its width …”: “Oxford Street and its northern tributaries: Part 2 of 2,” Old and New London, Volume 4, 1878.

“John Rocque’s 1746 map of London, the first trigonometry-based survey of the capital …”: “Locating London’s Past provides an intuitive GIS interface enabling researchers to map and visualize textual and artefactual data relating to seventeenth and eighteenth-century London against John Rocque’s 1746 map of London and the first accurate modern OS map.”

“It stayed wide long after the market ceased to function – at the end of the 19th century, parts of it were widened even more.”: New roads in London at the end of the 19th century were subject to the Building Act of 1894. This said that is a street of 49 feet 6 inches wide the buildings had to be the same height as the width of the street. If the street was over 50 feet wide it could be be lined with buildings of 80 feet in height.

“Cheapside remains now what it was five centuries ago, the greatest thoroughfare in the City of London.”: Dickens’s Dictionary of London, Charles Dickens, Jr. 1879.

“Describing a busy London road in 1726, Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe said it was “exceedingly throng’d.”⁠: A tour thro’ the whole island of Great Britain, Daniel Defoe, 1726.

“Is it not absurd, is it not a disgrace to the inventive age we live in, to see a man obliged to employ, in order to get through the street, a great vehicle, as large almost as a house …”:  “A Revolution in Locomotion”, The New York Times, August 22nd, 1867.

“London … filled with people and was consequently phenomenally busy throughout the working day.”: At night, there was little congestion so the streets would have been perceived as wider.

“The City of London has plenty of genuinely narrow medieval back streets …. and a great many hidden alleyways and courts …”:  In the 19th century, Somers Town, nestled between King’s Cross and Euston, to the north of the wide New Road, was a rabbit warren of alleys and courts. And further south, London’s Inns of Court date back to the 14th century. The Inns are divided up into Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. Each Inn covers several acres, with a great number of alleyways and narrow passages. Public access is limited.

“Most of the rest of London’s major roads were widened in the 19th century …”:  The meme the London has “narrow, medieval” streets is often wheeled out today to explain why “there’s no room” for dedicated cycling infrastructure, such as separated cycleways. This argument is neatly skewered by blogger Mark Treasure at

“Between 1855 and 1889, London demolished 14 hectares of buildings per year to make way for wider roads.”: Construction of Roads and Carriages, Percy J. Edwards, Hunter, London, 1898. Percy Edwards was the clerk to the Improvements Committee of the London County Council.

“In the 1880s and 1890s Herbert Fry published a London guidebook with twenty illustrations providing “Bird’s-eye views of the principal streets.”: London in 1880: Illustrated with bird’s-eye views of the principal streets, Herbert Fry, David Bogue, London, 1880 and many subsequent editions.

“An 1873 guidebook to London also contained birds’-eye view illustrations of some of the main thoroughfares …” – & “It is a matter of general complaint that there are so few great channels of communication through London both lengthwise and crosswise …”: Collins’ Illustrated Guide to London and Neighbourbood, William Collins, London, 1873.

“Essayist Hilaire Belloc, writing in 1912, claimed that London “is to this day a labyrinth of little lanes …”:  “The Crooked Streets,” Hilaire Belloc, 1912. Belloc had a great interest in highways. In 1923 he wrote a highway history book. It was sponsored by a company not totally disinterested in the subject matter: The Road, Hilaire Belloc, British Reinforced Concrete Engineering Co. Manchester, 1923.

“Piccadilly, Victoria Embankment, Whitehall, the Strand, and Pall Mall were all wide and straight …”: “Piccadilly, the great thoroughfare leading from the Haymarket and Regent-street westward to Hyde Park-corner, is the nearest approach to the Parisian boulevard of which London can boast. From Hyde-park-corner to Devonshire House the houses are confined to the north side, the Green-park forming, to that point, the southern side, which, for a considerable distance, is lined by foliage trees of some antiquity, and of great beauty. Being the high road to the most fashionable quarters in the west and south-west of London, Piccadilly, during a great portion of the year, presents a bright and lively, not to say kaleidoscopic, appearance; and even when the great stream of West-end London life seems to have nearly run dry elsewhere it is still to be found, though perhaps but a rivulet, in Piccadilly.” Dickens’s Dictionary of London, Charles Dickens, Jr. 1879. The Mall was a woodland in the 1890s but was made into a processional way in the years immediately preceding the First World War.

“The City of London has a partial medieval street pattern – built over an earlier Roman grid …”: London’s Roman-era east-west streets still form at least part of the City of London’s street pattern. The eight roads that radiate out from the Bank of England intersection are on Roman alignments, and the cross-roads is therefore Roman, too.

London also had some roads on Saxon alignments, but these earlier grid plans have largely been obliterated by more than a millennium’s worth of new developments.

London medieval roads are not medieval in width. However, there are some British towns and cities which do retain their medieval street patterns but even in Winchester, Wells, Durham, Stamford, Norwich and Beverley most of the “narrow, medieval” lanes are far wider today than in the Medieval period, and the widening was not all done in the modern era, for the convenience of motor cars.

Town planner Inigo Triggs said the principal streets of a typical medieval town were about 24 feet wide, the lanes 18 feet, and the passages 6 feet. In cities such as London the principal streets were sometimes 30 feet in width. Town planning, past, present and possible, Harry Inigo Triggs, Methuen, London, 1909.

“… in urban environments space is often at a premium. Providing a broad, high quality cycle route segregated from motor traffic in these circumstances … is not always practicable.” Transport Committee – Third Report, Cycling Safety, July 14th, 2014.

“City centre businesses, particularly those offering food, are dependent on daily deliveries to ensure they can operate without disruption. Pubs situated in city locations are no different and are heavily reliant on daily deliveries, of both food and beer, collection of empty kegs and require access for company technical support staff. Segregated cycle lanes already cause particular issues for pub deliveries. Manual handling of bulk beer containers such as kegs and casks (as specified in current Health & Safety Regulations) ideally requires the delivery vehicle to be sited at the kerb-side outside the premises. Physically segregated lanes prevent this access and in some circumstances, bulk containers must be wheeled across the cycle lane which poses a further risk to both cyclists and delivery drivers. Whereas it may be desirable to separate road users to protect those considered more vulnerable, further restrictions could seriously hinder the ability to deliver to pubs, particularly if this were to prevent deliveries during busy trading periods, i.e. lunchtimes.

“The brewing industry supports safer measures for all road users to reduce the potential for incidents. However, where further, physical segregation of road use is proposed, we would emphasise that the road system is critical for the functioning of businesses in towns and cities, particularly London.”

“Contrast that today with London’s poisonous “street canyons”: For instance, emissions research from King’s College London has found nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations on Oxford Street, London, to be the worst in the world. This was revealed by lead researcher David Carslaw during a presentation at the 21st Anniversary meeting of the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London in June 2014. Air pollution measurements are made continuously in Oxford Street by Westminster Council as part of the London Air Quality Network. In 2013 the annual mean NO2 was 135 µg m-3 and there were 1502 hours greater than 200 µg m-3. The EU sets limits for NO2 based on World Health Organisation Guidelines. These state that the annual mean must not be more than 40 µg m-3 and NO2 should not be above 200 µg m-3 for more than 18 hours per year. “Recent findings from comprehensive vehicle emission remote sensing measurements,” Frontiers in Air Quality Science, London, David Carslaw, June 23-24th, 2014.

” … wider streets … have the effect of giving greater air space and of admitting light and air where very much needed.”: Gomme said London’s wide streets were “constructed upon the straightline principle, and the endless beauties of an ancient street, with its broken sky-line everywhere forming charming touches of town scenery … give way to the new idea of direct communication.”⁠ Gomme worked for the Metropolitan Board of works from 1873 to 1914, rising to become clerk to the council. He was interested in history and folklore. In 1878 he helped found the Folklore Society. In 1901 he created London’s “blue plaque” scheme, which commemorates figures who have lived or worked in buildings in the city.London in the reign of Victoria (1837-1897), George Laurence Gomme, Blackie & Son, London, 1898.

“The wide Northumberland Avenue was built after the 1874 demolition of a fine mansion …”: Northumberland House stood at the south end of what became, in 1830, Trafalgar Square. The Jacobean mansion was built in 1605, originally for the Earls of Suffolk. The Duke of Northumberland was compensated with the tidy sum of £500,000 in 1866. An archway from Northumberland House is now the principal entrance to the Bromley by Bow community centre.

“The Victorian imperative to create wider roads in London had started early in Queen Victoria’s reign.”: Queen Victoria reigned from June 20th 1837 to January 22nd 1901.

“A parliamentary select committee appointed in February 1838 to consider plans for the improvement of London’s streets urged …”: “There were districts in London through which no great thoroughfares passed, and which were wholly occupied by a dense population composed of the lowest class of labourers, who, being entirely secluded from the observation and influence of better-educated neighbours, exhibited a state of moral degradation deeply to be deplored. It was suggested that this lamentable state of affairs would be remedied whenever the great streams of public intercourse could be made to pass through the districts in question. It was also contended that the moral condition of these poorer occupants would necessarily be improved by communication with a more respectable inhabitancy, and that the introduction at the same time of improved habits and a freer circulation of air would tend materially to extirpate those prevalent diseases which not only ravaged the poorer inhabitants in question, but were so dangerous to the adjacent localities.⁠” Construction of Roads and Carriages, Percy J. Edwards, Hunter, London, 1898

One of the greatest of them all was …”: Sir Edwin Chadwick KCB was a key social reformer, his treatise on the living conditions of poor people being a best-seller and leading to radical transformations in living and working conditions. Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain of 1842 led to British sanitation laws passed in the 1850s. In France he was known as Le Père Sanitaire.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for Chadwick says “his passion for the public good still impresses and his achievements live on in every home and under every street in Britain.”: Peter Mandler, ‘Chadwick, Sir Edwin (1800–1890)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“The footway to a road of this kind would be made of coal tar asphalte granulated, specimens of which footways may be found in good working order …”: This reference to coal tar asphalt on the footways of Nottingham pre-dates the Hooley patent for “Tarmac”.

” … tricycles ought to be employed instead of horses.”:  “In some trials made with the dynanometer in London it was found that on the asphalte roadway the drag required was 69,765 ; on a wood roadway, 106,880 ; on good macadamised road, 114,628; and on new macadamised road, 259,800. On the whole it was made clear that the horse power required for the metropolis would, under the suggested scientific improvement, be reduced by one-half ; that vehicles of the tricycle species would extensively supersede horse power; while the health of the people would be improved by the absence of dust and the ready way in which the streets would be cleansed of decomposing poisonous animal matter.” The health of nations: a review of the works of Edwin Chadwick, Benjamin Ward Richardson, Longmans, London, 1887.

“Presumably Chadwick was also a member of Ward Richardson’s organisation; he certainly gave talks to the society.”: “At the Sanitary Congress at Leamington, ten years ago, over which I had the honour to preside, there was one of the first great exhibitions of cycling machines, in which [Chadwick] took the greatest delight. He considered that the Exhibition was one of the most legitimate as well as the most interesting parts of the Congress, and was full of suggestions to the manufacturers respecting the construction of machines to meet various national necessities.

“The value of the tricycle as a means of obtaining healthy exercise, was at once seized by him as a matter of course. But he was not less quick at perceiving and explaining the advantage which the machine would be to the police, and on the 30th of November, 1886, he conveyed to the Society of Cyclists his latest views …” The health of nations: a review of the works of Edwin Chadwick, Benjamin Ward Richardson, Longmans, London, 1887.

“The sanitary benefits that cyclists … may achieve, would also accrue by their agitating … for the amendment of all our roads …”: The health of nations: a review of the works of Edwin Chadwick, Benjamin Ward Richardson, Longmans, London, 1887.

“Dr. Ward Richardson claimed that the “sanitarians have seen nothing that gave so grand an impulse to the health movement as the cycling crusade …”: “Our first meeting of [Sanitary Congresses] was held at Leamington in 1877, when I presided, several other gentlemen acting as presidents of sections … It was an extremely successful s meeting, and novel, not simply because it was the first of its kind, but because there was an exhibit from Coventry of a small set of machines for riding out of doors on two wheels … The place in which the exhibition was held in the presence of a large concourse of people. Sir Edwin Chadwick, who was present, saw, as I did, the importance of the cycle for outdoor health exercises, and up to his death, thirteen years later on, rendered the most useful services in promoting the improvements of the machine and the application of it.

“The incident that occurred at the Leamington Congress in respect to cycling gave me a new inkling as to the reduction of disease and a means of advancing the general health. I argued that if, on trial of it, we could go about in the open air as we did on horseback, it must be healthful to us physically, as it must be charming mentally. The idea led me to Coventry to see the work going on there in the manufacture of cycles, and I saw in it a new trade, a constructive trade, not only of tricycles, such as have been described, but of two-wheel machines also, bicycles …

“The advance of the bicycle at Coventry gave promises, therefore, of the most cheering character. Irrespective of all the disputes and wars that were then beginning to show themselves in the cycling world, I joined it and became a cyclist, accepting the post offered to me of President of the Tricycle Union, which was then in active life. It soon transpired that, whether on a tricycle or a bicycle, the new so-called “sport” was beneficial to health when it was properly carried out, and that was enough. Cycling had its dangers and its objections, but, on the whole, it did good service. It disseminated abroad what had long been a want, an exercise that would benefit the masses ; it let fresh air save bodies that had been long confined in-doors; it encouraged women as well as men to go, not only out of doors, but out of towns, and it infused into the mind new scenes and new thoughts. The results were surprising, and soon outstripped custom. My desire was to make the new exercise something more than a sport. I strove to give it a scientific and antiquarian character, and founded the Society of Cyclists in order to carry out these objects, to the advantage of riders of both sexes of tricycles and bicycles. We combined for the purpose of holding regular meetings in London, and we rode out of London, and founded annual congresses in the country. We asked noblemen and other owners of estates and curiosities to throw open their grounds, houses, and other treasures for our inspection, and we got Mayors of boroughs and kindred authorities to sustain our efforts. We did all we could, in fact, to accomplish our endeavours, and I held office as President of this Society for no shorter a period than ten years. All the world is for cycling now, as if a new pair of legs had been invented, and the advance in health and strength has been unparalleled. By cycling the sanitation of this country, to say nothing of other countries that have adopted it generally, has advanced a hundred years. Personal health has improved; sanitary necessities in wayside inns and public-houses have been introduced; the home life has developed freer than before of disease and care, and outside games, so favourable to healthy life, have become the order of the day. In a word, as advocates for the abolition of disease – as earnest as a Wilberforce or a Clarkson could ever have been for the abolition of slavery – the sanitarians have seen nothing that gave so grand an impulse to the health movement as the cycling crusade, which, with some drawbacks of a slight kind, all removable, is one of the leading features of the century.” The health of nations: a review of the works of Edwin Chadwick, Benjamin Ward Richardson, Longmans, London, 1887.

“… upper-class tricyclists … were certainly a vociferous part of the general movement aiming for cleaner, healthier streets.”: Buildings and “street furniture” causing a hazard on narrow streets were swept away long before motor cars came along: “The preamble to an act of King George III, cap. 23, 1771, recites that certain streets in the parish of Aldgate, in the county of Middlesex, “are very ill paved, and the passage through the same greatly obstructed by posts, projections, and other nuisances, and annoyed by spouts, signs, and gutters,” and then proceeds to enact “that all houses and buildings hereafter to be built or new fronted shall, for the effectual and absolute prevention of all manner of projections, annoyances, and inconveniences thereby, rise perpendicularly from the foundation; and if any person shall at any time hereafter presume to build or new front any house otherwise than perpendicularly” the commissioners shall cause the same to be pulled down and removed. In this way were the projecting house fronts of picturesque London destroyed; they did not suit the new requirements, and so they had to give way.” Construction of Roads and Carriages, Percy J. Edwards, Hunter, London 1898. Percy Edwards was the clerk to the Improvements Committee of the London County Council.

“Buildings were swept away to make for wider, brighter streets and many of the build-outs … that constricted otherwise wide roads were removed, long before motor cars came along.”:  The church of St Mary-le-Strand, now marooned was once destined for the chop but was reprieved. Some water troughs were removed before motor cars came along (electric trams didn’t need to drink) but their removal was accelerated by mass motorisation. The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association was set up in London in 1859 by Samuel Gurney MP, and philanthropist and Edward Thomas Wakefield, a barrister. Originally called the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association it changed its name to include cattle troughs in 1867. The first fountain was built on Holborn Hill on the railings of the church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate on Snow Hill.

“As [Bressey] did so, the camera panned over a succession of very wide London streets.”: 1939 film by the G.P.O.: Ministry of Transport: Highway Development Survey 1937 (Greater London), Sir Charles Bressey, Sir Edwin Lutyens, HMSO, London, 1938.

” … not being allowed to carry out his plan of giving London a series of wide boulevards following the Great Fire of 1666.” A boulevard – or boulvert – was originally a fortification, a bank of earth with a terraced top. The idea of converting these fortifications into thoroughfares originated in Paris in 1536 when the boulevards between the Porte St. Honore and the Porte St. Antoine were laid out.

“It’s often believed … that Sir Christopher Wren’s post-fire plans for London, with wide, straight boulevards and dramatic plazas, were thwarted …”: Of his thwarted plans, Wren is meant to have said: “Its ‘Practicability… without Loss to any Man, or Infringement of any Property, was … demonstrated, and all material Objections fully weigh’d and answered. Yet nothing was effected because of the obstinate Adverseness of a great Part of the Citizens to alter their old Properties, and to recede from building their houses again on their old Ground and Foundations; as also the distrust in many, and Unwillingness to give up their Properties , tho’ for a Time only, in to the Hands of publick Trustees, or Commissioner, til they might be dispens’d to them again, with more Advantage to themselves, than otherwise was possible to be effected.”

“Instead, there were two Acts for the “rebuilding the Citty of London” … “Charles II, 1666: An Act for rebuilding the Citty of London,” Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819)

“Charles II, 1670: An Additionall, Act for the rebuilding of the Citty of London, uniteing of Parishes and rebuilding of the Cathedrall and Parochiall Churches within the said City,’” Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819)

“Fleet Street … was one of many roads so widened.” The 1670 Act ordered Threadneedle Street to be made “fowerteene Foote wide if they shall thinke soe fitt.” The Cyclists’ Touring Club shared office space with The Sporting Life.

“The Great North Road – or, as Norden calls it, “the Way to Ware”:  Speculum Britanniae: the First Parte: an Historicall, & Chorographicall Discription of Middlesex, John Norden, 1593. On the 1560’s map produced by Ralph Agas Piccadilly is “the Waye to Redinge,” and Oxford Street “the Waye to Uxbridge.”

“Ogilby and Morgan’s large-scale map of London shows the City ten years after the Great Fire.”:

“The British Library website has a zoomable version of the 1676 Ogilby map, with a Google Maps layer …”:

“The Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer said at the time that the gate demolition and road widening was part of a “beautifying” process for London.”:  The Rocque map also has a zoomable digital version, with layers for 1746, 1869–80 and today.⁠ “London Streets, &c. to widen, Bill” … “An Act for widening certain Lanes and Passages within the City of London and Liberties thereof, and for opening certain new Streets and Ways within the same; and for other Purposes therein mentioned …” April 1760, Journal of the House of Lords, volume 29: 1756-1760. “… an act of parliament, obtained by the city of London, in 1760, for widening its passages, pulling down its crowded gates, and laying it more open in places, will probably put a stop to the rapid progress of buildings in the extreme parts of the town …” The Royal English Dictionary, or, A treasury of the English language containing a full explanation of all the terms made use of in algebra, anatomy …, D. Fenning, L. Hawes, and Co., London, 1771. A long description of those gates to be “pulled down, and the ground laid into the street” can be found in London Magazine: Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, Volume 29, C. Ackers, 1760.

“Before the stagecoach era, a few stretches of the Great North Road were much wider than even the widest parts of the current M1 …”: Largely because passage along the “road” could be difficult and many alternate parallel routes were created.

“The road from Helmsley to Pickering in Yorkshire had to be maintained to a width of 200 feet …”: The Romans had wide roads, too. They even had at least one dual carriageway (although none so far found in Britain). The Via Portuensis, built in the first century by the Roman emperor Claudius between Rome and its port Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber, was constructed with two parallel roads; one for traffic going one direction, and the other for traffic going the other. A median strip between the two carriageways was paved with bricks and dedicated for foot traffic.⁠ Ways of the world: a history of the world’s roads and of the vehicles that used them, M. G. Lay, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 1992.

“Jesmond Road has been as wide as it is since 1835.” It was built as the New Turnpike Road by the Corporation of Newcastle upon Tyne as a wider, straighter route from the centre of town to a cemetery in the then agricultural parish of Jesmond. Plans in 1971 to dig up graves to make way for a motorway were aborted. The wide road was built in 1835 as a processional avenue for the cemetery.⁠ The older cemetery was opened in 1836.⁠ Jesmond Old Cemetery was originally called Newcastle upon Tyne General Cemetery and was laid out by architect John Dobson. He also created the road.

“Nineteenth- and early-20th century English town planners were envious of the width of roads in American and European cities.”: The main axis of L’Enfant’s Washington, D.C. – Pennsylvania Avenue – was, in the 1790s, far wider than even Haussmann’s later Parisian boulevards. It was 160ft at its narrowest and 400ft at its widest. In the early 1900s, Olmsted’s plan for Chicago gave the city a boulevard – or motor-centric “Parkway” – of 572 feet.

“In the 19th century the major thoroughfares in many Continenal capitals were far wider …”: 19th CENTURY ROAD WIDTHS IN EUROPEAN CITIES COMPARED TO LONDON

Champs Elysées, Paris … … … … 230 feet

Reeperbahn, Hamburg … … … … 210 feet

Ring-strasse, Vienna … … … … 185 feet


Whitehall … … … …120–145 feet

Victoria Embankment … … … … 120 feet

Holborn Viaduct … … … … 90 feet

Regent Street … … … … 85 feet

Piccadilly … … … … 75 feet

Oxford Street … … … …64 feet

Cheapside … … … …60 feet

“Four carriageways were not enough, he felt: “The normal width of a wagon loaded is 7 feet 6 inches …”: Today’s motor-centric roads, in the US and elsewhere, are constructed – or widened – to be about 12 feet per lane. A Policy on Design Standards – Interstate System, 5th Edition, 2005.

“The solution, for Triggs, was separation. London should “divide the varying speeds into groups …”: Town planning, past, present and possible, Harry Inigo Triggs, Methuen, London, 1909.

“… Robert Hoddle … had just such a carte blanche when, in 1837, he laid out the grid for what would become Melbourne.”: A blank sheet of paper, that is, if you discount the land rights of the Aboriginal people of the area. And discount these rights the English settlers and soldiers certainly did.

“English clergyman and mathematician Edmund Gunter …”: Gunter was also Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London. His chain became the common measuring tool for land surveyors. A chain is both Imperial and metric, 66 feet but 100 links. Surveyor’s chains featured a number of small brass labels, individually called a “tally” which marked every ten links, hence the counting phrase to “tally-up.”

“While roads in most Australian towns were made one chain wide, Hoddle specified that Melbourne’s main streets would be …”: From Flinders Street to Queen Victoria Market, and from Spencer Street to Spring Street. Melbourne’s famously narrow half a chain wide “laneways” came after Hoddle’s time.⁠

“Detroit’s famous Woodward Avenue … was widened to 66-ft in 1806.”: Fire destroyed Detroit in 1795 leaving only one building intact. Territorial Governor William Tull and Territorial Supreme Court Judge Augustus Brevoot Woodward travelled to Washington, D.C. to seek funding to rebuild their city. Woodward created a new city plan in 1806 and the road was named after him.

“The City of Zion plan, which [Smith] prepared in 1833, used a grid pattern with the principal streets being 132 feet wide.”: Building Zion: The Latter-day Saint Legacy of Urban Planning, BYU Studies Quarterly, Brigham Young University, Volume 44:1, 2005.

“Famously, [Young] ordered the streets built wide enough so that a wagon team could turn round without resorting to profanity.”: The Mormon Trail: yesterday and today, William E. Hill, Utah State University Press, 1996

“Such massively wide streets would later facilitate the growth of motoring but …”: Brigham Young dictated that Salt Lake City’s wide streets should not “be filled with cattle, horses and hogs, nor children, for they will have yards and places appropriate for recreation, and we will have a city clean and in order.” Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning, Hamilton, (citing Thomas Bullock, Journal, July 28, 1847).

“The wide roads proposed by influential town planner Reinhard Baumeister in 19th-century Germany had military uses …”: Stadterweiterungen in technischer, baupolizeilicher und Wirtschaftlicher Beziehung, (Town extensions: their links with technical and economic concerns and with building regulations), Reinhard Baumeister, 1876.

“In the 1880s and 1890s, delegates from the United States visited Germany to see Baumeister’s urban planning in action …”: In Europe, the old Roman concept of a wide urban central street was resurrected by renaissance polymath Leone Battista Alberti, of Florence.⁠ In the 15th century, he advocated redesigning towns with military and non-military streets, with the military streets being super-wide to leave no nooks and crannies for attackers. A town with wide roads was less likely to be attacked for, “if the enemy gains access … he will risk injury, his front and flank being exposed as much as his back.” Private, non-military streets should, he wrote, connect to the wide streets “not so much to provide a public thoroughfare as to give access to the interlying houses, which will be of benefit both to the houses, by increasing the amount of light they receive, and also to the town, by impeding any hostile element seeking to escape.”⁠ Alberti was quoted in Humanism and the urban world: Leon Battista Alberti and the Renaissance city, Caspar Pearson, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011.

“While parts of the Champs Elysées is today surfaced with setts, the road was originally surfaced with macadam …”: Haussmann’s boulevards are now covered with a great deal of asphalt but watch carefully during the Tour de France procession along the Champs Elysée each year: riders can be seen bouncing over the granite bumps.

“Mark Twain said Haussmann’s wide, straight roads were a sop to Napoleon’s plans for his own safety.”: The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain, 1867.

“Much to Haussman’s annoyance, his grandiose urban planning didn’t stop the insurrection of 1871 …”: The Haussmann plan is generally dated 1853-1898.

“Many roads were still narrow and surfaced with tarred wooden blocks, which the insurrectionists used as weapons, in bonfires and in barricades.”: W. H. Delano, general manager for the Compagnie Générale des Asphaltes de France, which supplied Paris with its asphalt, wrote that wooden block pavements were dangerous: “There is another danger, viz. that in case of riots the wood blocks smeared with petroleum and set alight, might aid the criminal design of incendiaries, as in the case of the Paris Commune in 1871.” Twenty Years ̓ practical Experience of Natural Asphalt and Mineral Bitumen, W H Delano, Spon & Chamberlain, London, 1893.

“Victor Hugo, chronicling the 1830 revolution in Les Misérables, wrote: “The barricade was built with setts …”: The stage and film productions of Les Misérables usually show these barricades as made with furniture, not setts.

” … I think back twenty years, when I was a student; the road belonged to us then …”: The City of To-morrow and its planning, Le Corbusier, 1929. Translated from the French edition of L’Urbanisme by John Rodker, London.

“Such comments inspired others to create infrastructure for motors and motors alone.”: Le Corbusier’s espousal of brutalism, a world-view that would lead to the motor-centric high-rise buildings – “towers in the park,” he called them – eventually, blighted the 1960s and 1970s.

“A 60-mile jam in 2010 [in China] lasted for ten days …”:

“In the 1890s and early 1900s, it was believed the motor car would be the cure for congestion.”: 15,194 vehicles entered Piccadilly in one 24 hour period in 1905, of which [horse-drawn] cabs were 5,504 (36 percent), [horse-drawn] omnibuses 4,575 (30 percent), carts, vans and other trade vehicles 3,341 (22 per cent), carriages 1,607 (11 percent), and motor cars 167 (1 per cent). Report of the Royal Commission on Transport in London, 1906.

“If carriages “could be transformed into motor cars overnight,” [Edison] said in 1908, it would “so relieve traffic as to make Manhattan Island resemble The Deserted Village.”: Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950, Robert M. Fogelson, Yale University, 2001.

“The foot passenger was restricted to a narrow vestige of the ancient footpath on either side of the track …”:

“See how unprepared our world was for the motor car. It was bound to … congest our towns with traffic.”: “How the motor car serves as a warning to us all.” H. G. Wells, BBC, November 19th, 1932.

“In 1901 [Wells] wrote Anticipations, a futuristic vision of life 50 and 100 years hence.”: Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought, 1901.

“He predicted grade separation (i.e. roads that bridge other roads).”: A concept familiar to railway engineers, of course.

“Four years later Wells could still imagine a strong future for cycling. “Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia”: A Modern Utopia, H. G. Wells, 1905.

“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia, sometimes following beside the great high roads, but oftener taking their own more agreeable line amidst woods and crops and pastures …”: Wells is also often quoted as having said or written: “When I see an adult on a bicycle I do not despair for the future of the human race.” The quote is a popular one on bike blogs and in newspapers articles by journalists discovering the joys of cycling, but not even the leading Wellsian academics have been able to find a source for the quote. I asked.

“The newspaper marvelled that the “traffic was so congested that cars were practically touching each other.”: Illustrated London News, May 8th, 1926.

“This is known as “induced demand,” and the theory is credited to J. J. Leeming …”: The idea was conceived shortly after German mathematician Dietrich Braess demonstrated that “selfish” motorists cannot be relied upon to consider the optimal travel times for all rather than just themselves, leading to delays for all.⁠ This is known as Braess’s paradox.

“people … find it hard to believe that the cure for congestion is not more facilities for congestion.”: “The Sky Line: The Roaring Traffic’s Boom–II”, New Yorker, April 2nd, 1955. There have been many calls to reduce car use over the years, but nothing seems to get done.⁠ As Mumford said: “Even those who think of only feathering their own nest are actually soiling it so badly that it will soon be uninhabitable.” “The Sky Line: The Roaring Traffic’s Boom–IV.” New Yorker, June 11th, 1955. We have become so dependent on motor cars it’s nearly impossible to think of what life would be like without instant access to them, and even those who would rather not drive are almost forced to use them because we have allowed the creation of an “obesogenic environment” – our towns and cities encourage a life-shortening sedentary lifestyle thanks to “carscape” town planning. Due to a deliberate running down of other forms of transport, there’s a woeful lack of any desirable options. In rural areas car dependency is a given and only becomes a sore point when fuel price spikes highlight the fact that such dependency can be shockingly expensive.

No politician is going to get elected on an anti-motoring ticket, but without restricting motor-car use (including heavily subsidised parking spaces) it’s hard to see how planners will be able to move people around the megacities of the future – or keep them healthy.⁠ Colin Buchanan, in The Buchanan Report, made the same point and also said that congestion would be no disincentive. These cities are now soaring ever higher into the sky, meaning ever more people can be accommodated in city buildings.⁠ (On 3rd April, 2014, London’s Evening Standard reported that 288 towers of more than 20 storeys are planned or under construction in London. This was based on a survey by London Residential Research. The LRR survey showed that four out of five towers are residential. 80 of the 288 have more than 36 storeys. ) But while the amount of internal floor space for people living and working can be increased relatively easily, it’s not the same for road space. Double- and triple-decker roads are ugly and discredited; road tunnels are expensive and can never replicate the amount of extra floor space provided by skyscrapers. In effect, road space in cities is finite, and therefore incredibly valuable. For such valuable road space to be gummed-up by space-inefficient motor vehicles is unsustainable. It’s also slow – motor vehicles capable of 100 miles per hour are usually reduced to a mere crawl in central business districts.

To increase the speed of motor vehicles in cities some planners dream about burying pedestrians. Canadian cities have done this successfully. PATH is a 18 mile network of pedestrian tunnels beneath downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The complex was started, modestly, in 1900 and expanded massively in the 1960s and 1970s. The tunnels are lined with many shops. In effect, this is an underground shopping mall, a protection from both weather and motor vehicles. But there are risks. US journalist Jane Jacobs warned about the removal of pedestrians from street level in her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. She argued that an active street life was important to keeping city neighbourhoods vital and “alive.” Her warnings were not well heeded. Not all cities bury their pedestrians, some elevate them on “sky ways”. The western world’s largest skyway network is the +15 Walkway system in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This system works for the same reason as the tunnels in Toronto: brutal winter weather. In temperate cities pedestrians reject these sort of facilities. Densely populated Hong Kong is another city with a maze of pedestrian walkways. The first one was built in the 1960s – now there are more than 1100, making Hong Kong a three-dimensional city, says American architect, Jonathan D Solomon. The first walkways were privately built and owned, most are now government owned.

“…the government saw it and said, ‘Hey this looks like a good way to circulate people without getting in the way of the movement of cars.’ So they start building bridges to link the ferries and the trains and the buses and everything into the center of the city,” said Solomon.

Solomon has co-authored a guidebook to Hong Kong, celebrating its 3Dness. Cities Without Ground is a description of a vertical city, where pedestrians are removed from the street and where cars are king. Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook, Jonathan D Solomon, Clara Wong, Adam Frampton, ORO Editions, November 2012.

However, not all are happy about this situation.

“Pedestrians are not respected in Hong Kong,” said Pong Yuen-yee, former vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners. “For a long time, the vehicular traffic has been in top priority. These days, people don’t want to walk in the streets because of the air quality, because of the environment, the noise.”

Footbridges and subways are strongly disliked by pedestrians. A government audit report on pedestrian crossings noted in 2010 that “although footbridges and subways provide better safety protection to pedestrians and facilitate more efficient traffic flows, many pedestrians do not like to use them because of the need to walk a longer distance involving staircases or ramps.” According to a 2003 government survey 70.4 percent of pedestrians prefer ground-level crossings,

The Highways Department, which builds and manages footbridges and subways, has said that it objects to ground-level crossings “because they reduce vehicle speeds below 50 kilometres per hour, create stop-and-go traffic and encourage pedestrians to jaywalk.” South China Morning Post, Christopher DeWolf, March 25th, 2012.

In the 1960s London constructed an extensive system of skyways but these Pedways proved to be extremely unpopular.⁠4 “The City of London Walkway Experiment,” Michael Hebbert, Journal of the American Planning Association, Volume 59, Issue 4, 1993. Some still exist and they feature in “The Pedway: Elevating London,” an evocative documentary available online for free from film-maker Chris Bevan Lee.⁠ Manchester – and many other British cities –also had plans for many skyways:

“A large part of the present difficulty … is caused by the over employment of one method of transportation, the private motorcar – a method that happens to be, on the basic of the number of people it transports, by far the most wasteful of urban space”

“The Sky Line: The Roaring Traffic’s Boom–III”, New Yorker, April 16th, 1955.


7. Hardtop History


“The tarmac hovers beneath the perceived surface of the modern landscape like a hidden god.” “Three Pieces of Asphalt,” Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Grey Room 11, Spring 2003.

“Period maps show a great many “manure depots” dotted around most British towns and cities …”: Livery stables used to have dung mountains beside their premises but public health laws gradually eradicated the largest of these health-hazards.

“Also writing that year, another source said Regent Streets’s wooden block surfacing had to be replaced because “it had become so saturated with ammonia …”: Observations on the Construction of Healthy Dwellings, Douglas Strutt Galton, Clarendon Press, 1880.

“Urine soaked away, leaving just a residue, while most manure was uplifted and ended up on farmers’ fields.” According to Henry Mayhew in 1864, a report of the National Philanthropic Association claimed that “four-fifths of the street-dirt consists of horse and cattle-droppings.” London Labour and the London Poor. Henry Mayhew, Charles Griffin and Co., 1864. This observation was confirmed in 1880: “London air also contains much suspended organic matter, independently of the sewer and other emanations, and independently of the ammonia given out by the manure of the enormous number of horses kept in London. It is noteworthy that the mud from a paved street in London was found on analysis to contain nearly 90 per cent, of horses’ dung ; the mud on the new wood pavements consists almost entirely of horse dung … The wood pavement laid down in Regent Street about 30 years ago was removed because it had become so saturated with ammonia that the emanations tarnished the plate in silversmith’s shops.” Observations on the Construction of Healthy Dwellings, Douglas Strutt Galton, Clarendon Press, 1880.

In the 1880s cities could turn a profit from selling manure to farmers but in the 1890s the booming number of urban horses caused the, er, bottom to fall out of the horse-shit business.

“Cities were clogged with carriages during the day but, at night, there were no streets littered with parked motor cars.”: Highway parking controls have an ancient history. “Sennacherib set up posts along the Processional Way in Nineveh, reading: ROYAL ROAD, LET NO MAN LESSEN IT. Further, he decreed that any violator should be slain and his body impaled on a stake before his house.” Great Cities of the Ancient World, L. Sprague de Camp, Dorset Press, New York, 1972.

The belief in the unalienable right to park, for free, anywhere where there’s not a double yellow line or a pay car park, is a relatively new. Up until the 1920s, few people had cars and those that were owned were usually accommodated off the public highway when not in use. Cars were stabled, just as horses had been done before the advent of the ‘horseless carriage’.

Now it’s difficult to get moved on many urban roads because they’re narrowed by parked cars, very often illegally parked cars, with two wheels on the part of the highway meant for pedestrians. Such storage of private property on the public highway would have been unthinkable to previous generations, as was pointed by the economist Ralph Turvey – a professor at the LSE and economist for the World Bank and other organisations – in his classic treatise “Street Mud, Dust and Noise,” London Journal 21, 1996:

“In the nineteenth century the streets were clear from kerb to kerb for the sweepers, water carts and broom machines to do their work in the small hours. Horses and carts or carriages were not left in the street at night, and when – a rare occurrence – unhorsed cabs were left all night on carriageways, the offenders were fined. Victorian London may have been smelly, dusty and muddy, but it had no parking problem.”

Since 1812, common law has allowed “buses“ to stop on highways in order to allow passengers to get on and off. However, carriages had to be stored off the public highway at night, not something that’s expected today. “The King’s Highway,“ said Chief Justice Ellenborough “is not to be used as a stable yard. A stage coach … may set down or take up passengers in the street, this being necessary for public convenience, but it must be done in reasonable time and private premises must be procured for the coach to stop in during the interval between the end of one journey and the commencement of another.“  R v Cross, 3 Camp 224, 1812. Bit by bit we have allowed private property to be dumped in public spaces, and most people don’t give this a second’s thought. In Japan, in order to own a car, you must prove that you have an off-street parking space. This parking certificate is called shako shoumei, named for the Shako Law, in force since 1958. In the UK, no such proof is required. We endure clogged streets, dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, but this is seen as normal. It wasn’t normal in the past and it’s not normal in every other car-saturated nation.

“This system was formalised in London in the 1840s by social reformer Charles Cochrane …”: London Labour and the London Poor. Henry Mayhew, Charles Griffin and Co., 1864.

“Cochrane’s street cleaners were trained to “dart out and remove animal excrement …”: London’s Teeming Streets1830-1914, James Winter, Routledge, 1993.

“A French visitor in 1888 noted that horse manure would be on the streets for no longer than ten minutes …”: Londres: Croquis Réalistes, J. Degrégny, Librairie Moderne, 1888.

” … Victorian street cleansers, in London at least, wore red jerseys …”: “Street Mud, Dust and Noise”, Ralph Turvey, London Journal 21, 1996.

“The Embankment’s wide carriageways and generous sidewalks were a happy side-effect of the installation of a wide-bore sewer which, among other benefits, reduced the stench from the Thames …”:  While the stench from the Thames may have been lessened by the provision of sewers, the stench from horse-traffic wasn’t so easy to disperse. Architect H. B. Cresswell, writing in 1890, described the olfactory sensation of arriving in London: “the characteristic aroma – for the nose recognized London with gay excitement – was of stables, which were commonly of three or four storeys with inclined ways zigzagging up the faces of them.”

And with the smell came infestation, said Cresswell “… middens kept the cast iron filigree chandeliers, that glorified the reception rooms of upper and lower middle class homes throughout London, encrusted with dead flies and, in late summer, veiled with jiving clouds of them.”⁠ Quoted in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs, Random House, 1961.

“This was niche activism at the time, with many interests opposed to the improvements being demanded.”: Rural interests especially were highly conservative. In the 18th century, drovers who walked Scottish cattle down the Great North Road to London petitioned Parliament in 1710, stressing that the stones of the proposed improved road surfaces would “cripple and lame the cattle before they come to market.”

“The surfacing trials that some cycling officials helped carry out …”: Modern cyclists like smooth asphalt, too. Here’s bike journalist Jo Burt on the pleasures of butter-smooth tarmac: “… that stretch of road has all been mended. Beautiful smooth brand new fast deep thick black tarmac. No more thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, kerthunk, thunk, but shoosh. Just shoooosh. Two girls standing by the side of the road waiting to cross are a little bemused to see a man on a bicycle come round the corner, audibly gasp, sit up in the saddle and raise his arms in a victory of joy. Shooooooooooooooooooooooosh.” “The Course Of True Love Ever Did Run Smooth”,, January 17th, 2011

“These [Eadhamite] ways were made with longitudinal divisions …”: “A Story of the Days To Come,” a novella by H. G. Wells, first published in the June to October 1897 issues of The Pall Mall Magazine. It was later included in a collection of short stories, Tales of Space and Time, 1899.

“The world today stands at the beginning of the Road Transport Era, with which is intimately linked an era of Hygienization.”: Successful Asphalt Paving: A Description of Up-to-date Methods, Recipes & Theories, with Examples and Practical Hints, for Road Authorities, Contractors, and Advanced Students, Pedro Juan Manuel Larrañaga, Richard Clay & Sons, London, 1926.

“In 1887, a British engineer developed an “iron pavement … for the construction of Cycle Ways”: Successful Asphalt Paving: A Description of Up-to-date Methods, Recipes & Theories, with Examples and Practical Hints, for Road Authorities, Contractors, and Advanced Students, Pedro Juan Manuel Larrañaga, Richard Clay & Sons, London, 1926.

“The five-sided Charterhouse Square is dotted with rose-coloured granite setts from Mountsorrel …”: The foundations of the M1 motorway were largely built from crushed Mountsorrel stone.

” … the greatest concentration of setted roads in London … could be found in the impoverished East End …”:  Today, the longest setted road in London is Wapping High Street, close to the former docks and close to the terminus of the Regent’s Canal.

” … it remained expensive to move the granite away from railway stations so the types of granite used in different parts of London were still dictated by distance from the unloading point.”: The high cost of transporting granite setts is still a factor today. In 2011, Exhibition Road in Kensington was given a “shared space” makeover by covering it with white-on-black granite setts brought to the UK on an economically efficient slow boat from China.⁠ Or, lots of slow boats. Barges, in fact. “A £29 million project to rebuild one of London’s most famous streets is using granite imported from China. Thousands of the blocks for the Exhibition Road project have been brought to the UK by barge after Kensington and Chelsea council said it could not find enough stone of the correct colour in Britain … Kensington and Chelsea’s head of highways and traffic, Mahmood Siddiqi, said the council had done a “full assessment” before ordering the granite from China … “One of the big issues for us in a scheme of this size is the sheer scale of it,” he said. “Having looked at what was out there we couldn’t find a suitable [UK supplier] that could guarantee this amount of granite and with the same sort of colour variation.”

“‘Most beautiful road in London’ made from granite imported from China,” Ross Lydall, London Standard, 3rd September 2010.

“A cyclist’s paradise will consist of rubber roads … It is delicious. Try it and die.”:  The Bicycling World, December 15th, 1884. Ways of the World, M.G. Lay, Rutgers University Press, 1992. Lombard Street in London was surfaced with rubber sheeting until the 1960s.

“Wood blocks are now proving to be one of the most popular materials for street paving, not only in London, but all over the civilised world …”: Commercial Motor, June 12th, 1923. Today, rubber can be found in roads, mixed in with the asphalt. Crumb rubber modifier (CRM) or ground tyre rubber (GTR) is recycled tyre rubber which has been ground into very small particles to use as an asphalt modifier. In the 1920s, Boulnois was also chairman of the council of the cyclits-created Roads Improvement Association. Modern Roads, Boulnois, Henry Percy, E. Arnold, London, 1919.

“[We] often used to go to Doyle’s house after dinner, and, in his smoking-room, discuss all sorts of subjects, from metaphysics to more mundane matters …”:

“Doyle was a great cyclist.”:  Scientific American, January 18th, 1896

“I am familiar with forty-two different impressions left by tyres,” said Holmes …”: Conan Doyle wasn’t the first to describe this supposed skill. Two years before The Adventure of the Priory School Conan Doyle’s brother-in-law E. W. Hornung, author of the Raffles novels about a gentleman thief of the 1890s, placed his anti-hero on a bicycle in The Black Mask and said Raffles could distinguish the Dunlop tread: “I had my eye on the road all the way from Ripley to Cobham, and there were more Dunlop marks than any other kind. Bless you, yes, they all leave their special tracks.”

” … yellow deal, a softwood that detractors said absorbed horse urine and manure and, when pressed, would spray it back out.”: This is vividly described in an 1898 newspaper report by an Australian proponent of hardwoods: “No streets in the metropolis get harder wear than do those in the district governed by the Strand Board of Works, and anyone who has occasion to pass along the Strand itself on a wet day cannot fail to notice the difference in the state of the road where hardwood is laid. Whenever there is rain the Strand (laid with deal) is muddy, sloppy, greasy, and altogether unbearable. The walls of the houses and the shop windows are splashed with mud to a height of 15ft. from the ground, and the glass of the windows has to be cleaned once every two days in wet weather. In contrast to this let one take the Waterloo-road, where the carriage-way is paved with hardwood. On the wettest day it is possible to pass down the street without being in need of a new suit of clothes, a fresh collar, and a newly ironed hat …” The Brisbane Courier, May 27th, 1898

“The cyclist … is everywhere to be seen … He comes in to his work down Oxford-street and Holborn; the long stretch of wood pavement that …”: The Times, June 18th, 1884.

” … an American cycle tourist reported that London’s “wood block pavement is smooth enough to ride on.”: Bicycling World, George Mitchell, January 24th, 1890.

“Wood pavement has one most serious disadvantage – it offends more than any other against public hygiene.”: Major Lewis Isaacs, quoted in The construction of carriageways and footways, Percy H. Boulnois, Biggs & Co., 1895.

“As animals have not yet been trained to use water-closets and urinals the public highways are defiled with their dung and their urine …”: Twenty Years ̓ practical Experience of Natural Asphalt and Mineral Bitumen, W. H. Delano, Spon & Chamberlain, London, 1893.

“There is another danger, viz. that in case of riots the wood blocks smeared with petroleum and set alight, might aid the criminal design of incendiaries …”: Delano added: “On wood pavements the sound of the horses’ hoof is not heard – a danger for deaf or careless crossers. It has been said indeed, that wood pavement cures deafness by killing off the deaf.”

“In 1867, American ordnance engineer Benjamin Berkley Hotchkiss patented an improved way of laying wooden pavements.”:  He packed the wooden blocks on to a preserving composition above a gravel layer.

” … Jarrah and Karri Eucalyptus woods … began to be used in London from 1888 …”: “Just seven years ago St. Martin’s Lane was blocked with [Jarrah], and a year later the street in front of the London Hospital was put down also with jarrah. Both these roads are subject to a great deal of regular traffic; and to the fact that the wood seems in as good condition as when laid is due the statement by some people that jarrah is the coming paving material. This may or may not be the case, but the fact that Regent-street is being blocked with jarrah is a good indication that the authorities consider it to be at least as good as any wood paving yet tried … [Jarrah] is an ideal wood. That it is coming to be recognised as such is evident from the fact that Pall Mall was laid with it just before the jubilee, and as soon as Regent-street is completed Shaftesbury-avenue will be begun, and afterwards Duke-street will be paved.” The Advertiser (Adelaide), October 23rd, 1897.

” … Richard Watkins Richards, the city surveyor of Sydney …”: Richards, who later became mayor of Sydney and was knighted just before his death in 1920, toured Europe from December 1896 to September 1897 and extolled the use of Australian hardwoods for paving streets. He had covered the streets of Sydney with local hardwoods in the late 1880s.

Richards claimed that Australian hardwoods – such as Blackbutt, Tallowwood, bluegum, red gum, turpentine and mahogany – were the “nearest to the perfection of an ideal carriageway pavement for all conditions …”:  Richards continued: “The results demonstrated by the use of New South Wales hardwoods for street-paving naturally attracted the attention of authorities in cities of Europe and America, and, it is safe to say, of the whole world, for from time to time the author has replied to inquiries from officers and others interested of Shanghai and Eastern cities, the chief cities of Europe, America, and the United Kingdom, and in numerous instances resulted in the introductions of New South Wales timbers in the paving of streets in cities of the countries named. During 1897 it was the author’s privilege when in England to read a paper on ’Wood Pavements in Sydney’ before, the members of the Incorporated Association of Municipal and Sanitary Engineers, in the Hall of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Westminster. This paper evoked much discussion, the points of inquiry by the engineers present, representing the chief cities and vestries of the United Kingdom, being replied to by the author. As a consequence, all the available hardwood then in the market was purchased and used by cities at that time engaged in works of street-paving, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Edinburgh manifesting interest by further pursuing inquiries, and it was my pleasure to fully advise Mr George Laws, M.Inst. C.E., city engineer: and Councillor Winter, of the Works Committee of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as also a deputation of the Works Committee of the City Council of Edinburgh. Then, too, the city engineers of Paris and Copenhagen were similarly treated in response to inquiries.”

 “This can be seen on the Bartholomew’s Road Surface Map of London from 1922 …”:  National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.

” … most of London’s roads, even into the 1930s, weren’t covered in setts but surfaced with wood blocks.”:  Similar road surface maps were also produced in America. An 1896 bicyclists’ map of Detroit showed a colour-coded hotchpotch of road surfaces, including wood, brick and asphalt. The Guide Map of the City of Detroit for Bicyclists, Showing Pavements, Calvert Lithography and Engraving Company, 1896. Writing in 1926, motoring pioneer and cycling champion Herbert Duncan said: “In England … wood paving is largely used.”⁠ The World On Wheels, H.O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“W. H. Delano … listed the following roads as being surfaced with natural asphalte: King William Street …”: Twenty Years’ practical Experience of Natural Asphalt and Mineral Bitumen, W. H. Delano, 1893.

“The Strand, Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross Road, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall were all surfaced with wood.”: 

Strand — Carriage way (wood) taken up and new wood pavement laid down, and sundry repairs to old £3,333

Northumberland Avenue — One year’s maintenance of wood paving, and sundry alterations £356

Neal Street — Carriage way taken up and asphalte laid down, and sundry repairs to footways £428

King William Street —One year’s maintenance of wood paving and sundry £74

Duncannon Street —Carriage way taken up and wood pavement laid down £582

Charing Cross —Carriage way taken up and wood pavement laid down, and sundry repairs to footways £4,260

Trafalgar Square — (North, East, and West sides) Carriage way taken up and wood pavement laid down, and sundry repairs 2,715

Whitehall — Carriage way taken up and wood pavement laid down, and sundry repairs to footways

Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St. Martin-in-the-Field, 1883-1884

In an 1896 report for the Paddington Vestry, it was said: “Your Committee are unanimously agreed as to the imperative importance of hardwood for public thoroughfares and they entirely endorse the words of the surveyor of Lambeth … “that it is a wicked waste of public money to pave a line of heavy traffic with soft wood.” Your Committee have formed a strong opinion of repaving Praed Street with hard wood, and that it should be so paved throughout its entire length as a whole.⁠” 1 “Eucalyptus Timber for Street Paving,” Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Vol. 1897, No. 127, July, 1897.

An 1897 newspaper report noted that: “For reasons of durability, cleanliness and sanitation, the Vestry have now abandoned the use of soft deal in favour of hard wood, and have accepted a tender for the supply of 850,000 West Australian wood blocks …⁠” Daily News, August 17th, 1897.

” … Doyle’s friend Boulnois, author of the splendidly titled Dirty Dustbins and Sloppy Streets of 1881 …”: Dirty dustbins and sloppy streets, Boulnois, Henry Percy, E. & F. N. Spon, 1881. The cyclists of the closing years of the 19th century liked smooth macadam and asphalt and detested granite setts, but seemed OK with dry wooden roads. An unnamed author in weekly cycling magazine The Rambler wrote in 1897: “From the Mansion House northward to Islington, the course of the Great North Road is, for the adventurous cyclist who launches himself thereon, beset with the many cares begotten of riding through heavy traffic, streams of ’buses, trams, and heavy wagons of all descriptions, whose menaces are aggravated by the tousled and lumpy character of the granite setts of the City Road, all combine to render his course anything but a path of roses. Notwithstanding the improved conditions of the wood-paved highway that leads us to the Archway Tavern at Holloway, it is with a feeling of relief that we clear the terminus of the tram-lines and the densest of the bus traffic, and, taking the right-hand fork of the road, ascend the rough macadam slope that leads to Highgate Archway …⁠ “ The Rambler, June 26th, 1897. The use of wood for roads was still mainstream in the 20th century. In 1902, civil engineer Benjamin Howarth Thwaite used an article in The Nineteenth Century magazine to make one of the first appeals for the construction of “motorways” and said that these should be surfaced with wood: “Why not provide specially-constructed cycle or motor-car ways? Some years back this author, in a technical journal devoted to the automobile and cycle industry, anticipated such a query; and he answered it by suggesting that a special cycle way should be constructed, as direct as possible, from London, through the centre of England as far as Carlisle, from which it could be continued to Glasgow or Edinburgh, if not to Inverness. The width of the motor-car or cycle way included a central portion for the exclusive use of motor-cars, side-paths being provided for pedal-cycle use. The surface of the cycle or motor-car way to be formed by means of specially hard creosoted wood blocks with asphalte joints … England should be the pioneer in this new highway development.⁠ 1 The Nineteenth Century, B. H. Thwaite, August 1902. When Thwaite mentions “cycle” he means “motor cycle”. Thwaite’s article received blanket coverage in the British motoring press and no one batted an eyelid at the proposed use of wood for a long-distance British motorway. Commercial Motor was still pushing for wooden roads in 1910.⁠ “Colonel R. E. Crompton … consulting adviser to the Road Board, does not agree with us that it is expedient to press the claims of wood pavement as the most-perfect form of road surface, which, in certain connections, the Editor of this journal did, at Brussels, in his paper before the Second International Road Congress.” Commerical Motor, September 8th, 1910.

” … Fulham had 100 yards of granite setts in the 1890s, and 4½ miles of wooden roads …”: The Construction of Carriageways & Footways, Boulnois, Henry Percy, Biggs & Co., 1895.

“Lord (Alan) Sugar’s autobiography … [he] got his first taste of business by chopping the discarded wooden blocks and selling them for use as fire-lighters …”: What You See Is What You Get, Alan Sugar, Pan, 2011.

“The wooden roads in Chicago burnt vigorously in the Great Fire of 1871 …”: American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe was a big fan of wooden road surfaces, and urged American cities to adopt the English practice.

Writing to a US newspaper in 1845, Poe complained that America had “fallen culpably behind” England in its adoption of wooden pavements, i.e. road surfaces: “One would naturally suppose that the immense advantage which London has derived from adopting wood pavement had been previously felt in this country, where the invention was first introduced from Russia; but it seems that the system has been badly applied both in Boston and New York; for surely there is no reason in the difference of climate, soil, or timber, to render the result so different from what it has been in London, where the experiments are considered as entirely successful … Wooden pavement … [is] laid in all the great thoroughfares, such as Regent street, Whitehall, Oxford street, Holborn, Strand, Cheapside, the New Road, and a large proportion of the city and West End. It is calculated that it will be universal over London in four or five years more.⁠” Broadway Journal, vol. 1, no. 16, Edgar Allan Poe, April 19th, 1845.

These wooden roads lasted five years or less, before rotting. The timber blocks were ripped up and replaced with granite setts. In turn, the granite setts were removed from 1888 (and recycled for use elsewhere) and replaced with Australian hardwoods.

“The only piece of wood pavement of this class which has been laid in this country … is on Twentieth Street, between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, in the Borough of Manhattan …”: “Modern City Roadways,” Nelson P. Lewis, Popular Science Monthly, March, 1900.

“This “glorious road … on which no enemy ever trod … glistened with asphalt.”: “Aiburshadu the roadway of Babylon I filled up with high filling for the procession of the great Lord Marduk, and with turminabanda stone and with shadu stone I made Aiburshadu from the Illu gate to the Ishtar-sakipat-tebisha fit for the procession of his godhead. I connected it with the Palaces that my father had built, and made the road glorious … Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, am I. The Babel Street I paved with bricks of shadu stone for the procession of the great lord Marduk. Marduk, Lord, grant eternal life.” Babylon, Assyria and Israel, their history as recorded in the Bible and cuneiform inscriptions, W. H. Boulton, Sampson Low, Marston & Co, 1924.

“The first asphalt patent in Britain was lodged in 1834 by John Henry Cassell …”: Richard Tappin Claridge of Marylebone, London, patented his Seyssel asphalt mix in 1837. Claridge’s Patent Asphalte Company laid a short stretch of asphalt road in Whitehall in 1838.⁠ The company traded until 1917. Another trial on Oxford Street inspired the “paved with good intentions” part of the Rev. Barham’s long poem in The Ingoldsby Legends:

Below, in that queer place which nobody mentions

You understand where, I don’t question – down there

Where in lieu of wood blocks, and such modern inventions

The Paving Commissioners use ‘Good Intentions’

Materials which here would be thought on by few men,

With so many founts of Asphaltic bitumen

At hand, at the same time to pave and illumine.⁠

The Ingoldsby Legends, “Thomas Ingoldsby”, Rev. Richard H. Barham, 1840–47.

“Threadneedle Street in London was given a free surfacing of asphalte in 1869 …”:  Was this a pitch? #asphaltjoke. “Street Mud, Dust and Noise”, Ralph Turvey, London Journal 21, 1996

“In May, 1869, Threadneedle street was paved with compressed asphalt by the Val de Travers Company …”: “In 1873, the City Police made observations with a view to testing the merits of wood and asphalt. The observations extended over 150 consecutive days, and for 12 hours each day. The weather was mostly cool and dry. The results were averaged, and made to show how far a horse might be expected to travel before falling, in given kinds of weather. In all kinds of weather, and including complete and partial falls, it was found that on asphalt a horse might travel 191 miles before falling, while on wood he might be expected to travel 330 miles before falling. But on asphalt 43½ per cent of the falls were complete, while less than 12 per cent of those on wood were complete. Considering only complete falls, and all varieties of weather, a horse would travel 686 miles on asphalt before falling; but on wood 2,939 miles. On dry asphalt pavement he would fall once in going 1,101 miles, and on wood he goes 4,180 miles before having a complete fall. On damp pavements, a fall in 333 miles on asphalt, and on wood a complete fall in 1,592 miles. On asphalt, when the pavement is wet, a horse gets a complete fall in going 568 miles, and on wood he may travel 3,583 miles before falling.” Manufacturer and Builder, New York, September, 1878

“During the summer … in the heart of the city, when the business traffic of the day is done, and the streets are clear, an active scene may often be witnessed by gaslight.”: England: its people, polity and pursuits, Thomas Hay Sweet Escott, 1881.

“The company won contracts in New York and Washington, D.C., leading to patent disputes with De Smedt.”: William Woods Averell Papers, 1836-1910 SC12349 New York State Library.

“… Amzi L. Barber … went on to become America’s leading supplier of asphalt.” Barber Asphalt Paving Company.

“It is doubtful, indeed, if a better form of pavement has ever been devised …”: Good Roads, League of American Wheelmen, November, 1893.

“The question of tearing up the asphalt pavement on Eighth Avenue from Thirteenth Street to Central Park is felt by the members of the Board of Trade …”:  The New York Times, April 7th, 1895.

“Not until well into the 1920s were standard recipes agreed for the material we now take so much for granted.”: If you want to dig deeper into the various forms of bituminous surface coverings – Mastic asphalt; Hot Rolled Asphalt; Stone Mastic Asphalt; Chipseal – the very best source is M.G. Lay’s Ways of the World, Rutgers University Press, 1992.

“In a 2009 profile, the BBC said that Hooley “invented” tarmac …”:

“The slag surface was not an accidental deposit, but manufactured …”: The Times, February 13th, 1939. Roman Ways in the Weald, I.D. Margary, Phoenix House, 1948. Margary 14. A short stretch of the slag-surfaced road is still visible at Holtye Common. It is kept uncovered by the Sussex Archaeological Trust, following the wishes of Margary. It can be found close to a footpath leading southward from the A264, almost opposite the drive leading to Holtye Park Golf Club, TN8 7JN. “Excavation of the London-Lewes Roman road at Holtye, Sussex Arch Coll 81, Ivan D. Margary, 1940.

“A footpath on Margate Pier in Kent was constructed by this method in 1822.”: Mechanics Magazine, July 3rd, 1824.

“In 1840, Alexandre Happey coated stones with tar on a short stretch of the Lincoln road …”: Black Top: A History of the British Flexible Roads Industry, J. B. F. Earle, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1974.

” … William Rees Jeffreys of the Roads Improvement Association organised a tar-spreading trial to combat the menace of dust.”:  While spreading tar on roads led to its own problems – tarred roads took at least two days to “dry out” and even then left sticky residue on shoes – the treatment stopped what it was meant to stop, and that was dust. Jeffreys believed dust abatement to be his crowning achievement. “The important roads of Great Britain are now dustless,” he wrote: “In reviewing my life and valuing which of its activities resulted in the “greatest good to the greatest number” the evidence accumulates that my crusade for dustless roads takes first place.⁠” The King’s Highway, Rees Jeffreys, Batchworth Press, 1949. “Dustabato” and “Dustroyd,” two of the brand names for road tars, show that eliminating dust was a key goal of the “tar spraying gangs” which treated rural roads in the 1920s.⁠ Other brand names for tar included: Antistoff, Antistandlit, Akonia, Apokonin, Crempoid, Calcium Chloride, Dustabato, Duralit, Erminite, Epphygrit, Gonasto, Gulophin, Hahnite, Lyminite, Marbit, Pulvercide, Pulverite, Rapidite, Rustomit, Sprengelithe, Standertine, Tarvia, Tarco, Tarracolio, and Westrumite. Tarvia was the market-leader. Modern Roads, H. Percy Boulnois, 1919.


8. What The Bicyclist Did For Roads


” … I accompanied some of the members [of the Automobile Club] on a good many road tours – they driving their cars, I riding my bicycle …”: Reminiscences, R. E. Crompton, Constable, 1928.

“Crompton was also the first president of the Institution of Automobile Engineers.”: He was elected to this position in 1907.

” … Salomons … worked with politicians and civil servants to help legalise motoring in Britain.”:  “About the year 1896 I was a frequent visitor at the house of Sir David Solomon [sic] at Broomhill, near Tunbridge Wells. Sir David took a keen interest in scientific and engineering matters, and had, attached to his house, a wonderful [electrical] laboratory, which had been largely fitted up by “Crompton’s.” He had recently imported one of the French automobiles …”

“In 1889, a party of affluent American cycle tourists said the macadam roads surrounding Stratford upon Avon were, “Hard as asphalte, smooth as a billiard table …”: There were many such tours of Europe, both individual and annual group tours. Bicycling World, June 28th, 1889. “A zigzag tour through England on bicycles, from Liverpool through London to Portsmouth, on the southern coast, and back again to London, was made this season by five Americans. Frank W. Weston, secretary of the Boston Bi. C, and acting captain of the party, arrived in New York yesterday in the City of Richmond. He says that the anchor of the steamship in which they sailed to England had hardly dropped at Liverpool before a consul and a vice-consul of the Bicycle Touring Club were alongside to give them an English welcome. This club has three thousand members, residing in all parts of England ; and in every important city it has a consul, whose duty it is to afford information as to roads and routes to strangers who may visit his district …

“The Americans thought they would not like English roads. When, however, they struck the natural country road, kept in perfect repair and as smooth as a carpet, its beauties came to them like a revelation. Progress was no longer a labor; it was merely a volition. They willed to go, and they went.” New York Sun, August 30th, 1880, quoted in The Bicycling World, December 10th, 1880.

“Readers sent in detailed road reports, the “user-generated content” of the Victorian age.”: Bicycling News, May 7th, 1886 and June 25th, 1886.

“… a brake was made to dig a spike into the ground so that your progress was marked down any slope by a very palpable track …”: “Reminiscences of a bicyclist,” E.H.L.W., Pall Mall Gazette, February 1st, 1900. Coincidentally, when he took up cycle journalism in the 1870s Henry Sturmey – later editor of The Cyclist and The Autocar – went by the pseudonym of “Trailing Brake”.

“No sooner had the bicycle become recognized as a new means of progress in this country than those who possessed them experienced a longing to get away from towns and streets and explore the countryside.”: The Romance of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, J. T. Lightwood, 1928.

“Ten years after its first meet the CTC’s membership reached 20,000 …”: Cycling, G. Lacy Hillier, Earl of Albemarle, Badminton Library, 1889.

“It was stressed that cyclists formed a large and influential body and that “any hasty or ill-conceived legislation with regard to them …”: Letter to The Field, Gerard Cobb, October 18th, 1878.

“Cobb … addressed the town’s paving commissioners …”: From 1788 to 1889 the Improvement Commissioners were responsible for the lighting, paving, and drainage of Cambridge.

“The state of the roads from their point of view as cyclists ought to be sufficient to make them join together for their improvement …”: The Birmingham Daily Post, March 15th, 1884.

” … court case against the highway surveyors of four parishes in the Midlands …”: The parishes of Warley, Ridgacre Hill, Halesowen and Hasbury.

“Codrington … presented a lengthy report on the [Halesowen] roads,” which he “considered decidedly bad.”: “Cyclists and the repair of main roads”, The Birmingham Daily Post, August 6th, 1884.

“He later wrote a textbook on the maintenance of roads, as well as an influential early book on the Roman roads of Britain …”: The Mainenance of Macadamised Roads, Thomas Codrington, E. & F. N. Spon, London 1892. Roman Roads in Britain. Thomas Codrington, 1903.

“The surveyors “admitted that they knew nothing of road making or road repairing, and had not even heard of Telford or McAdam.”: Wheel World, October, 1884.

“… a new era has dawned for the dulled intelligences of our country road surveyors …”:  Wheeling, February 11th, 1885.

” … we are afraid that the highway boards throughout the kingdom will regard the cyclists as adding a new terror to existence.”: London’s Lloyds Weekly Newspaper, August 1884.

“[The Birmingham] proceeding is, we may hope, only the first step in a great movement destined to be of equal advantage to the ratepayer … and to the wheelist.” Wheeling, January 7th, 1885.

“[Bird] was a champion tricyclist, and an “energetic member” of the CTC, representing Warwickshire on the club council.”  The Romance of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, J. T. Lightwood, 1928.

“Bird was part of a deputation that went to the Corporation of Birmingham to protest at the state of roads on behalf of cyclists …”:  Henry Sturmey was also part of this deputation. Sturmey was editor of The Cyclist and later also the editor of The Autocar.

“… it only required a polite letter from a member of the Roads Committee to bring forth a gang of men …”: Wheel World, January 1886.

“The bad state of some roads … is a disgrace to the authorities, and although the ratepayer is heavily taxed …”: Frank Thomas, Derby Daily Telegraph, January 4th 1887.

“… the man who is dragged through ruts and over stones by the labour of his horse …”: Cycling, G. Lacy Hillier & Earl of Albemarle, Badminton Library, 1887.

“ … showing them that by the adoption of a system such as is sketched out in the pamphlet, far better roads can be obtained at an expenditure of much less money than is at present spent upon the majority of our Highways.”: Roads Improvement Association annual report 1890.

“The RIA’s literature included The Roads Improvement Association – Its Teaching Confirmed by Thomas Codrington …”: Other pamphlets included “Our Roads and How to Treat Them” and “Hints to Country Roadmen” both by Ab Initio, and “The Repair and Maintenance of Roads” by W. H. Wheeler. The RIA was based at 57 Basinghall Street in the City of London.

“Earl Russell, the elder brother of the philosopher Bertrand Russell …”: When visiting the socialists Sidney and Beatrice Webb at their house in Monmouthshire in 1895 George Bernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell crashed into each other on bicycles. Despite the elevated status of the patrons of the cyclist-run RIA, the appointment of aristocratic figureheads was no guarantee of success, as pointed out by “C.T.C.”, a writer in the Pall Mall Gazette. In 1889, he griped: “Now, what do these men do? Do they work for the benefit of cyclists – that is, for the benefit of road-users, and really of themselves? Not a bit of it. They come down perhaps once a year to eat dinner at the club’s expense, or they give an occasional five pound note for a cup to be scrambled for on the road … Every cycling club which possesses among its members a noble lord, an M.P., or a County Councillor, should impress upon him that his continuance in office depends on his making the improvement of roads a national and burning question …⁠” The Pall Mall Gazette May 3rd, 1889.

“Balfour was a keen motorist but in the late 1890s he had been a keen cyclist …”: The Cycling World Illustrated, June 3rd, 1896.

“Lord Geo. Hamilton, as a cyclist, is also much interested in the state of the roads …”: Lord George Francis Hamilton served under Benjamin Disraeli as Under-Secretary of State for India from 1874 to 1878 and as Vice-President of the Committee on Education from 1878 to 1880.

“Sir James Fortescue Flannery was both an MP and a member of the CTC.”: Sir James Fortescue-Flannery, 1st Baronet, was an English engineer and a Unionist MP. He was elected at the 1895 general election as MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire.

“Cycling bodies still provided most of the RIA’s funding.”: The Automobile Club funded the RIA to the tune of £75 in 1903. NCU gave £50 (with another £5 from NCU Centres). CTC reduced its input to £25 but also provided £100 via a membership drive. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders provided £10.

“Cyclists also mapped road stewardship, plotting which …”:  Annual report of the Roads Improvement Association, 1903.

“Rees Jeffreys … added: “To no class in the community are good roads so important as to cyclists.”:  CTC Gazette, February 1903.

“It was the bicyclist who brought the road once more into popular use for pleasure riding …”: English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, : Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913.

“Historians tend to emphasise, instead, the creation in 1888 of county councils …”: Local Government Act, 1888.

“The cycling-based RIA supplied technical literature to the new county councils …”: RIA pamphlets supplied to road boards, surveyors, county councils and councillors included Our Roads and How to Treat ThemThe Repair and Maintenance or RoadsHints to Country RoadmenThe Local Government Act, 1888 As it Effects the Highways and The Roads Improvement Association – Its Teachings Confirmed.

“Cyclists were the class first to take a national interest in the conditions of the roads.”: The King’s Highway, Rees Jeffreys, Batchworth Press, 1949.


9. Ripley: “The Mecca of All Good Cyclists”


“Many of those who would go on to become influential motor magnates cycled on the “Ripley Road”: The craze for riding on the Ripley road was “Dittonomania”, said The Cycling World Illustrated, March 18th, 1896.

“Thanks to the “votaries of the wheel,” long-neglected roads came to life …”: The Cycling World Illustrated, March 18th, 1896.

“Ripley was a staging post that catered to the passing trade …”: Ripley was the area’s post town from 1813 until 1865.

“Railway mania” killed off the stagecoach trade …”: However, it’s important to note that the disappearance of the inns on the main coaching roads was not due to the advent of the railway alone. Many formerly prosperous inns were “bypassed” when roads were improved and coaches became speedier: faster trip times meant fewer stops.

“Not the worst thing that they have done, these knights of the road, has been to rehabilitate …”: Daily Telegraph, September 3rd, 1880.

“A trickle of riders in 1869 became a steady flow in 1870 …”: The Pickwick Bicycle Club, founded in 1870 and still extant today, has long organised an annual ride at Hampton Court Palace, close to the start of the Ripley road ride. The third annual ride took place on May 26th 1877, and was immortalised in a famous drawing which appeared in the Illustrated London News. Other London and some “provincial” clubs were also represented on the ride. There was a rider from Edinburgh and seven from Manchester.

“The undulating Ripley Road was fast in parts – a good “scorching” road.”: In an 1897 issue of Cycling World art historian Edward F. Strange penned a poem that predicted a grisly end for those who treated the Ripley Road as a race track.


He scorcheth down the Ripley Road,

His teeth are set, his eyes a-glare;

In curious curves his back is bowed.

And weird the raiment he doth wear.

He looketh not on maiden fair.

Nor anything of beauty sees,

For him, alack, no charm is there,

Who rides with nose between his knees.


He carrieth but little load.

And yet thereat shall curse and swear,

For still his demon doth him goad

To ride more quickly – anywhere.

With bullet head and close cropped hair,

And labor hard, which may him please.

What convict can with one compare

Who rides with nose between his



Each Sunday morn from his abode,

To slaughter dire forth doth he fare;

He saith that by-laws may “be blowed,”

Nor yet for mounted police doth care.

He catcheth lovers unaware,

Who saunter underneath the trees;

He hath no conscience whatsoe’er,

Who rides with nose between his knees.



A crash, a groan, a rigid stare,

A coal cart plodding at its ease;

Stern Justice waits him who shall dare

To ride with nose between his knees.

The Scorcher, Edward F. Strange, Cycling World, via Lyra Cyclus; Or, The Bards and the Bicycle: Being a Collection of Merry and Melodious Metrical Conceits anent The Wheel, Edmond Redmond, ed., New York: M.F. Mansfield, 1897.

The Popular Recreator of 1873 had a section on cycling.”: The Popular Recreator was a how-to book of sports and hobbies for the Victorian middle classes – it also included sports such as cricket, fencing, polo, skating and swimming.

“ … cult of the Ripley road”: The Cycling World Illustrated, March 18th, 1896.

“The pleasure grounds at Claremont, a country house close to Esher …”:

“In 1877, [Queen Victoria] presented nearby Esher with a drinking fountain …”: The fountain is still there, close to Esher’s very wide main street.

“Painshill was … planned to have a hermit.”:  According to English Eccentrics and Eccentricities, an 1866 book by John Timbs, Hamilton was an “admirer of singularity and silence, and, having advertised for a hermit, he built a retreat for this ornamental but retiring person on a steep mound on his estate.” The advertisement said the hermit must “continue on the hermitage seven years, where he shall be provided with a Bible, optical glasses, a mat for his feet, a hassock for his pillow, an hourglass for timepiece, water for his beverage, and food from the house. He must wear a camlet robe, and never, under any circumstances, must he cut his hair, beard, or nails, stray beyond the limits of Mr. Hamilton’s grounds, or exchange one word with the servant.” The first “ornamental hermit” lasted a full three weeks before being spotted at the local pub (the name of the hostelry is not noted) and was subsequently sacked.

“In 1873 Keen and other riders met to discuss cycling matters in the Hut hotel …”: The Hut at Bolder Mere was later a favourite watering hole of pioneer motorists. It’s likely many of these pioneer motorists had earlier been cyclists and would have therefore been familiar with hostelries on the fabled Ripley Road.

“The Ripley Road craze is positively harmful to cyclists; men would be infinitely better in all respects for varying the direction of their journeyings.”: Wheel World, June, 1885. Earlier, a joshing from a Wheel World correspondent showed this was always a forlorn hope:

“Reader, bow the knee, and look reverently upon the great man who now claims the respectful adoration of the wheel world. He is – The Man Who Was The First To Sign The New Year’s Visitors’ Book At Ripley! Nor is the new dispensation confined to the first man who reaches Ripley on New Year’s Day. Such great deeds as these are so truly famous that a very large amount of the glare of celebrity attaches to the man who signs the 100th line in the same volume, and unto the man who signs the 1000th there will be awarded almost as much fame as the first signatory individual achieves. The plebeian mind may cavil at these great things, and wonder what greater credit attaches to the being who happens to put his name on a particular piece of paper at one particular moment any more than to any other individual who happens to attach his autograph to the same piece of paper at some other moment; but the truly wise can afford to smile superciliously at the caviller, and leave him to grovel in his own lack of appreciation for mystic numbers.” Wheel World, February, 1885.

“Wheeling, the board game, went through a number of editions from 1896 …”:

“Whenever I take my rides abroad/For this I’ll allus hanker …”: Anchor Inn year book, July 3rd, 1881.

“At the “flag-bedecked Anchor we pulled up our flying steeds …”: Bicycling World, 5th July, 1889. ‘Pedals’ wrote that it was the Stanley Club which hosted the luncheon, correcting himself in the 23rd August edition of the magazine.

“Just as all roads once led to Rome, so most of the wheel marks on the Ripley Road …”: Other writers called Ditton, and the Ripley Road, “The Cyclists’ Rialto”. The Cycling World Illustrated, March 18th, 1896.

“The Hautboy at nearby Ockham was popular for raucous musical parties …”: This is the Ockam referred to in Occam’s razor, the maxim that the simplest explanation is the most plausible, expounded by 14th century theologian Father William d’Ockham.

“This out-of-hours service – which was meant to be offered to all by innkeepers, who, it was thought by travellers, ought to be happy to be dragged from their beds …”: “No matter what may be the hour at which a cyclist arrives at an inn … the innkeeper is bound to admit him. Innkeepers who are inclined to complain of their obligations ought to remember that they are monopolies by virtue of the law.” Legal Wrinkles, “The Hub’s Cycling Lawyer”, The Hub, May 27th, 1899.

“In an 1880 article in *The Wheel World*, racer Harry J. Swindley wrote …”:  Swindley was the London representative for Iliffe & Sons’ The Cyclist magazine and went on to have the same role for Iliffe & Sons’ Autocar. Both magazines were edited by Henry Sturmey. As well as Annie, Swindley swooned over the ride to Ripley, too: “The sweet door of the pine cones, whose resinous flavour imbues anew the jaded and half-choked city man, floats on a breath of the commons, scent-ladened by the flowering furze … At such moments the toiler realises that spots exist where the rush, the turmoil, the chicanery, deceit, and never-ending worry of city life is not.”

“Historian Les Bowerman, author of The Romance of the Ripley Road …”:  That male cyclists were attracted to the Anchor because of the Dibble sisters was explicitly stated in a Wheel World article in 1885, referring to a similar inn in Australia: “Our [Australian] cousins can lay claim to having a Ripley of their own, although it is known to them by the name of Keilor. To this place, about ten miles out [of Melbourne], the largest proportion of club runs are made, and, like our Surrey haunt, owes great part of its attraction to feminine charms. The landlady of the Keilor Hotel, who shows a worthy regard to the material wants of her guests, is possessed of no less than six daughters, each young and each pretty, and it needs very little acquaintance with cyclists to know that a ride is enjoyed none the less because at the end of it there are half-a-dozen young ladies, with other friends of the same sex, who are ready first to minister to the wants of their visitors, and then join them in the mazy waltz.⁠” Wheel World, June, 1885. Mrs. Dibble died in 1887, Annie in 1895 and Harriet in 1896. A memorial window to the sisters was installed in the south aisle of the church opposite the Anchor, paid for by cyclists. Cyclists also paid for the church’s Willis organ and erected a memorial to Herbert Liddell Cortis, the first cyclist to best 20 miles in one hour of pedalling.⁠ He completed the feat on a track, not the Ripley Road, but the church opposite the Anchor was the obvious place to erect a memorial to a cyclist.

” … the Hautboy & Fiddle in Ockham, close to the Ripley Road …”: The Hautboy, which once rang to the noisy musical parties so beloved of Victorian cyclists, was converted to luxury apartments in 2013.

” … woods close to the Ripley Road were later the destination for rides to support the suffragette movement.”: There’s a BFI video of a similar 1916 ride: “Topical Budget newsreel story from September 1916 shows a group of largely female cyclists on a ride through Surrey, gathering at The Angel pub in Thames Ditton and stopping for a picnic lunch en route to Wisley.”

“This was the peak year for cycling on the Ripley Road.”: Although not for visiting the Anchor; the peak years had been in the late 1880s; when the Dibble sisters died, trade died with it and Alf Dibble sold the Anchor to hoteliers from Guildford in 1897 – he returned in the 1920s, much to the delight of local cycling clubs.

” … Ripley itself, but for the traffic, would be the prettiest village on the road …”: Highways and Byways in Surrey, Eric Parker, Macmillan & Co., London, 1909.

“Jessie Pope … 1904 poem “Motor Martyrdom”: The final verse:

I pass my days in a yellow fog,

My nights in a dreadful dream,

Haunted by handlebar, clutch and cog,

And eyes that goggle and gleam.

I am not robust, but I dine on dust

Gratuitously bestowed,

And for twopence I’ll sell my house in the dell

By the side of the Ripley Road.

“Sal turned up to tea, cursing motors in general …”: Bath Road News, March, 1912.

” … the Hut at Bolder Mere was swept away in 1976 by builders of the bypass.”:


10. Good Roads for America


“In truth, the Model T was one of many pioneer motor cars …”:  In some ways, Ford’s Model N was more worthy of becoming an icon than the Model T. It was the first car to sell in huge-for-the-time numbers – 18,000 in two years.

“The Ford Motor Company’s press officers and advertising copywriters … had rewritten history …”: In 2011, the record was set straight by Suzanne Fischer, curator of The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, as mentioned in the preface. She said, in a video: “It might surprise you, but it wasn’t car owners that first demanded better roads – it was bicycle riders.]”⁠

“A $1.3-million advertising campaign was rolled out on the following day to prepare the ground for a new car.”: This would be the Model A – Ford was no respecter of alphabetical succession.

“Of all the newspapers to repeat the lie, this was the one that should have known better.”: Hartford Courant, June 21st, 1927.

“The automobile was born into a roadless world …”: The Outlook, 16th August, 1922. Empire State Building:

” … PhD student Phillip Mason interviewed Christy Borth, director of the Automobile Manufacturers’ Association and a highways historian of some note.”: The League of American Wheelmen and the Good Roads Movement 1890-1905, M.A. Thesis, Phillip Mason, American University, 1957. Christy Borth was an automobile advocate, historian and author of many books on motoring, including the following two. The automobile: power-plant and transportation tool of a free people, Christy Borth, Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1957. Mankind on the move; the story of highways, Christy Borth, Automotive Safety Foundation, 1969.

“In the announcements heralding his new car, Henry Ford asserts that his famous Model T started the good roads movement in this country.”: The New York Times, December 22, 1927.

“Mr. Batchelder decided to launch a movement for Federal aid for good roads.”: The New York Times, December 29, 1927.

“Stockbridge, too, was yet another wheelman-turned-motorist.”: Stockbridge was also disingenuous about his and Batchelder’s role in the federal aid program. National politicians had long believed believed the Constitution prohibited a federal role. The US Supreme Court in 1893 supported federal involvement in road improvements by citing Article I, Section 8 of the American Constitution: “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States and with the Indian Tribes.” Justice David Brewer noted that “the power to regulate commerce carries with it power over all the means and instrumentalities by which commerce is carried on.” (Monongahela Navigation Company v. United States). “This ruling and a similar Supreme Court ruling in 1907 effectively ended the debate over constitutionality for all but the most diehard members of Congress,” said Richard F. Weingroff, an historian at the Federal Highway Administation, and who I met at his office in the US Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

“None of the good roads bills made it out of committee until 1912, when Rep. Dorsey W. Shackleford of Missouri introduced his ABC bill to improve farm access to markets.”

But Batchelder’s American Automobile Association, and other segments of the Good Roads Movement were not interested in improving farm roads. The Shackleford bill was kyboshed.

However, in 1916 Batchelder was on those involved in the drafting of the Federal Road Act that – finally – started to release federal funds for roads.

Weingroff said: “The program, created in 1916 and modified in 1921, would transform the nation. It built a network of paved roads in the 1920s and 1930s. It helped the nation through the Depression of the 1930s by providing needed jobs for the unemployed. It supported the defense effort in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and many other military actions. It gave birth to the Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways, which has often been called the greatest public works project in history and which reshaped our identity as individuals and as a nation.”

“Directly and indirectly the bicycle has been the means of interesting capital in road building to the extent of millions of dollars …”:  The Automobile Magazine, March 1902.

“Wholly unclassable … Scarcely jackassable.”: In the 1860s, the roads around the Pennsylvanian towns of Oil City, and Titusville, location for the first oil well in the United States, were notoriously bad. The “jackassable” quote is from Sketches in crude oil. Some accidents and incidents of the petroleum development in all parts of the globe, McLaurin, John James, Harrisburg, Pa., self-published, 1896.

“Charles Paullin’s 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States plotted the time …”: Charles O. Paullin, Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, ed. John K. Wright. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1932. Digital edition edited by Robert K. Nelson et al., 2013.

“Many of those roads built, or reasonably well-maintained, during the American turnpike- and plank-road eras were allowed to decline.”:  America’s turnpike era started in the late 18th century but had fizzled out by the early 19th century. The next boom was the building of “plank roads” in the 1840s and 1850s. These were wooden plank roads and, like turnpikes, also attracted tolls. After 1850 interest in roads fell away and the imagination of legislators, speculators and the public was fired by the advent of railways. They received generous public subsidies – roads did not.

” … roads in the northern provinces, on the whole, were excellent. [The] great use of pleasure carriages [was] proof of good roads …”: Stage-coach and Tavern Days, Alice Morse Earle, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1900.

“I can say that most of the roads in the New England States … Brooklyn, Newark, and their suburbs, are well suited for bicycling travel …”: The American Bicycler: A Manual for the Observer, the Learner, and the Expert, C. E. Pratt, Boston, 1879.

” … eight superb limestone pikes radiate from Hagerstown … while intersecting pikes and cross roads form a network of thoroughfares for wheelmen …”: Bicycling World, May 31st, 1889.

“… dissolving in the rains of April, baking and pulverizing beneath the rays of the midsummer sun …”:  “The profit of Good Country Roads,” Isaac B. Potter, The Forum, November, 1891.

“This long ride through such knee deep mud-roads as the plucky riders had to contend with …”: The Pneumatic, June 15th, 1892.

“He went for a peaceable roll/His wheel took a piece of a hole”:  Wheel songs : poems of bicycling, Foster, S. Conant, White, Stokes, & Allen, New York, 1884.

“Several strangers … started out on the road from Detroit to Pontiac …”: The Ann Arbor sesquicentennial journal. [Vol. 1, no. 2]; Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Commission, 1974.

“Pratt wrote that the gathering of 31 club representatives at Newport …”: Quoted many years later in The New York Times, January 5th, 1896.

“The traffic wasn’t all one way – the CTC’s winged wheel logo with medieval-style lettering was a blatant copy of the L.A.W. logo.”: The L.A.W’s winged wheel logo wasn’t the organisation’s first. The initial logo incorporated a map of the US and was mocked by members as the “ham badge”, requiring another to be created. The wheel logo “with three golden wings flying from the center, and the League’s three initials resting on the spokes between them” was designed in 1881 by C. H. Lamson, a “practical jeweller of Portland … for some time Chief Consul of Maine.” The CTC “adopted a close copy of it, in Sept,. ’86,” said Kron. Ten Thousand Miles on a Bicycle, Karl Kron, 1887.

The CTC’s first logo, introduced in 1878, was a plain shield with text on it saying ‘Bicycle Touring Club’. To better reflect its membership the organisation changed its name to Cyclists’ Touring Club in 1883 (the name was suggested by L. Samuel of Norwich). The plain shield, with new lettering, was retained as the badge. A new logo was unveiled in the Gazette in September 1886. Lightwood said: “To R. E. Phillips, a former Councillor, and a life member of the C.T.C., is due the entire credit for the design of the now famous ‘Wheel and Wings.’” Entire credit? Hmm. The Romance of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, James T. Lightwood, CTC, 1928.

In 1921, the CTC adopted a password meant to be said between members. This was “Wheels” to which the response from a fellow member was to be “Wings.” This is more copying – Clarion Cycling Club’s call since the 1890s had been “Boots” followed by “Spurs”.

“In 1888, two years after the CTC and the NCU of Britain created the Roads Improvement Association, the L.A.W.’s constitution was amended …”: League of American Wheelmen CONSTITUTION, 1897


SECTION 1. This organization shall be known as the LEAGUE OF AMERICAN WHEELMEN.

SECT. 2. Its objects shall be to promote the general interests of cycling; to ascertain, defend and protect the rights of wheelmen; to facilitate touring; to secure improvement in the condition of the public roads and highways, and to promote and regulate cycle racing on the track.


SECTION 1. Any amateur white wheelman of good character, eighteen years of age or over, shall, with the endorsement of two League members, or three other reputable citizens, be eligible to membership in this League upon payment of the initiation fee and dues, as provided in this constitution.

SECT. 8. In passing upon the eligibility of candidates as amateurs, the membership committee shall be guided by the following amateur rule, and shall take proper pains to ascertain and determine through the racing board the facts in the case where objection is made to a candidate on this ground.

AMATEUR RULE. An amateur is one who has never competed in cycling for a cash prize, or gate money, or who has not engaged in, nor assisted in, cycling, or any other recognized athletic exercise, for money, or other remuneration, nor knowingly competed with or against a professional for a prize of any description; or who, after having forfeited his amateur status, has had the same restored by a unanimous vote of the National Assembly, L.A.W. A cyclist ceases to be an amateur by:

(a) Engaging in cycling or other recognized athletic exercise, or personally training or coaching any person therein, either as means of obtaining a livelihood, or for a wager, money prize or gate money.

(b) Competing with a professional or making the pace for, or having the pace made by, such in public or for a prize.

(c) Selling, pawning, exchanging, bartering or turning into cash, or in any manner realizing cash upon any prize won by him.

(d) Accepting, directly or indirectly, for cycling, any remuneration, compensation or expense whatever.

(e) In this class no prize shall exceed thirty-five dollars in value.

(f) Racing men in the employ of cycle establishments may be transferred to the professional class by vote of the racing board.

(g) An amateur may not compete in any race outside of his own State, at a distance greater than one hundred miles, by the usual line or route of travel, from his legal residence, except at national championships or closed college race meetings, or by special permission from the member of the racing board in charge of his district.


SECTION 1. The officers of the League shall be a president, first and second vice-presidents, treasurer and secretary, who shall be elected by the national assembly, at the annual meeting; provided, however, that the secretary shall hold office as long as he shall render satisfactory service. The national assembly may, however, by a two-thirds vote of the members and proxies present at any meeting, declare the office of secretary vacant and hold an election for his successor, one month’s notice of the intended declaration of a vacancy having been given.

SECT. 2. The official year shall begin immediately upon the adjournment of the annual meeting of the national assembly.

SECT. 3. There shall be the following national committees:

1. Executive and finance, to consist of the president and vice-presidents.

2. Membership.

3. Rights and privileges.

4. Rules and regulations.

5. Improvement of highways.

6. Transportation.

7. Racing board.

8. Auditing.

9. Local organization.


SECTION 1. The League shall provide an official organ to be known as the “L. A. W. BULLETIN AND GOOD ROADS,” in which shall be printed all official announcements and communications, and which shall be devoted in a substantial way to the encouragement of fraternal co-operation among its readers in the work for improved roads throughout the United States and to the other benevolent objects of the League.

“Bates …  urged the L.A.W. to create a good-roads campaign.”:  Bicycling World, June 1881.

“Bates kept prodding – he wrote two good-roads polemics in … 1882.”: The Wheelman, October and November 1882. At this time the magazine was the official house journal of the L.A.W.

“He penned an article for the mainstream magazine Outing in 1884:” Outing, December, 1884.

“Finally, after a vote in 1888, members agreed unanimously to create and fund a standalone committee, the National Committee for Highway Improvement.”: The national committee was not alone, local chapters of the L.A.W. already ran good roads campaigns. And other cycling groups were also formed to lobby locally. The most effective was Philadelphia’a Association for the Advancement of Cycling, formed in 1886 and which had the aim of “revolutionizing the character of Philadelphia street pavements.”

“Junius Emery Beal of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was publisher of the town’s newspaper …”: Between 1905 and 1906. He was a Republican. In the 1880s and 1890s he was a prominent member of the L.A.W. and the Detroit and Ann Arbor Bicycle Clubs. Cycle touring was his abiding interest. He was in the party of “20 or so” American tourists who visited Ireland and England and France, Switzerland and Germany over two months in the summer of 1889. Beal was one of the leading members of the party, replying to toasts from the hosts and other duties. Beal also toured Norway, Russia and Austria on the same trip, not leaving until the end of September.⁠ On his many overseas tours he also collected data on European road systems and fed these back to the L.A.W.Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, July 5th, 1889.

“In 1902, he was a committee member for a commemoration of the assassination of President McKinley …”: President William McKinley visited the Exposition in September – he was assassinated in the Temple of Music.

“It was intended as a “text book upon road construction …”: Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, Boston, August 16th, 1889.

“Go ahead with the work,” Pope advanced, “and we will pay …”: Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, Boston, August 16th, 1889

“Lewis J. Bates wrote in 1882, “the moment any person becomes a wheelman he is instantly and ardently convinced of the necessity for improved highways.”: “Effect of the Bicycle on our Highway Laws,” Wheelman, October 1882. According to a cycling magazine in 1899 “… cyclists know fairly well the condition of their country’s roads. They can appreciate the goodness of good roads: they deprecate the badness of bad roads. There is no section of the community better qualified to judge of the condition of the highways than the wheelmen …⁠” Quoted in The Hub, London, September 16th, 1899. A correspondent to Century magazine wrote in 1894: “Every bicycle-rider is a natural and eloquent missionary of scientific road construction and every cyclist club is perforce a good-road club as well.”⁠ “Reign of the bicycle,” The Century magazine, December 1894.

” … Harvard geologist Nathaniel Southgate Shaler in his 1896 book on highway construction …”:  American Highways: A Popular Account of Their Conditions, and of the Means by which They May be Bettered, Nathaniel Southgate Shaler, The Century Co., 1896.

“In 1896, Forum magazine stressed that “good roads are inevitable …”: “Social and Economic Influences of the Bicycle,” Forum, August 1896

Should the League support the expenditure of … money for the sake of giving employment …”: Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, 11th October 1889

“In the following week’s journal, Albert Mott, Chief Consul of L.A.W.’s Maryland division …”: Mott was later the Chairman of the L.A.W.’s Racing Board, a contentious position in the 1890s thanks to the pro vs amateur question then bubbling to the surface., see L.A.W. constitution above.

“Members of the L.A.W. advocating the building and maintenance of national roads … is not in the least Socialistic …”: Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, 18th October 1889

“As there was no federal or state control of roads, their maintenance devolved to counties and towns – highways were deemed to be owned by those who lived beside them and it was they who had to maintain them.”: This maintenance generally took the form of statute labour, appearing on a designated day – up to 15, in fact – and helping to repair a certain section of the road. If a farmer provided a team of horses, a wagon, and a plough with a driver, he had less “working it off” to do.

The road work-camps weren’t terribly productive. They were often treated as a “jolly” and a good chance for a communal get-together, as recounted by Nathaniel Shaler:

“Arriving on the ground long after the usual time of beginning work, the road-makers proceed to discuss the general question of road-making and other matters of public concern, until slow acting conscience convinces them that they should be about their task. They then with much deliberation take the mud out of the road-side ditches, if, indeed, the way is ditched at all, and plaster the same on the center of the road. A plough is brought into requisition, which destroys the best part of the road, that which is partly grassed and bush grown, and the soft mass is heaped up in the central parts of the way … An hour or two is consumed at noon-day lunch and a further discussion of public and private affairs. A little work is done in the afternoon, and at the end of the day the road-making is abandoned until the next year.” “Common Roads,” N.S. Shaler, Scribner’s Magazine, October 1889.

“And where property is shared the “tragedy of the commons” often plays out.”: There’s an excellent critique of Garrett Hardin’s 1968 theory here:

“As English MP and enclosures specialist John Hales believed in 1581 …”: A discourse of the common weal of this realm of England: first printed in 1581 and commonly attributed to W.S, 1893.

“Or, as Colonel Pope put it three centuries later …”: “The Movement for Better Roads, an Address Before the Board of Trade at Herford, Conn., February 1890.

“Pope also endowed the first chair of civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology …”: In 1889 there were thirty US colleges in the country which gave courses in road building but only one of these, the Lawrence Technical School at Harvard, combined practical experience and theory in its curriculum. Pope’s endowment also paid for the chair to travel overseas to study European road systems. Engineering News, October 1890.

“The farmers must bear the expense while bicyclists and pleasure-riding citizens will reap the larger benefits …”: The Michigan Grange, Engineering News, December 30th, 1893.

“We must concentrate first on education, then agitation, and finally legislation …”: Wheeling and Cycling Trade Review, February 1891. Many L.A.W. members – including Isaac Potter – were opposed to the national organisation using “boilerplate” legislation in state legislatures. Potter’s view prevailed.

“In 1892, with cash support from bicycle barons Pope and Albert Overman …”: Overman’s bicycle brand was the Victor. Overman’s short-lived car was also called the Victor and was produced by the Overman Automobile Company between 1900 and 1904. Colonel Pope gave $4,000, Overman $6,000 and The George R. Bidwell Cycle Co. $1,000. LAW Bulletin and Good Roads, February, 1893

“League president Potter’s 1891 polemic Gospel of Good Roads was well received in urban areas but less so in the countryside …”: In 1891, Potter made the telling point that roads did not belong to farmers: “ … the public roads, though placed, some obscure reason, within the immediate care of the farming population, have a paramount importance to the people at large, to whom, in fact they belong.”⁠ “The profit of Good Country Roads,” Isaac B. Potter, The Forum, November 1891.

“… the farmers of the United States are beginning to thoroughly appreciate the need [for] better highways …”: The Forum, February 1899

“The L.A.W.’s New York division … was successful in achieving an ambitious state aid programme for New York State’s roads …”: Higbie-Armstrong Bill, 1898

“This led to a rapid improvement of the state’s highways  …”: Of course, another reason was that New York State had a large concentration of high net worth individuals.

“Deputy State Engineer William Judson applauded the role of wheelmen at the meeting of the Third Annual Good Roads Convention …”: Proceedings of the Third Annual Good Roads Convention, Office of Road Inquiry, Bulletin No. 22, Washington, 1902.

“Starting in 1902, measures providing federal aid to roads were introduced at each session of Congress …”: The League of American Wheelmen and the Good Roads Movement, 1880-1905, Ph.d Thesis, Philip P. Mason, 1957.

“The rudimentary Federal Aid Road Act was signed into law by cycle tourist and former L.A.W. member US President Woodrow Wilson.”:  “Of no less importance for agriculture and for national development is the Federal Aid Road Act. This measure will conduce to the establishment of more effective highway machinery in each State, strongly influence the development of good road building along right lines, stimulate larger production and better marketing, promote a fuller and more attractive rural life, add greatly to the convenience and economic welfare of all the people, and strengthen the national foundations. The act embodies sound principles of road legislation and will [not only] safeguard the expenditure of the funds arising under the act … but will also result in the more efficient use of the large additional sums made available by States and localities.” President Woodrow Wilson, letter to Representative A.F. Lever, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, August 11th, 1916

“I hope to live to see the time when all over our land, our cities, towns and villages shall be connected by as good roads …”:  ‘The Relation of Road Improvement to the Carriage Industry’, Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, 18th October 1889

“The wheelmen of twelve years ago were many of them young men then …”: Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin, 25th October 1889

” … the Postmaster General – who wanted good “post roads” so that mail delivery could be expanded …”: This was the so-called Rural Free Delivery of mail, or RFD.

“Already we owe very much to the wheelmen in improving roads both in town and in country …”: The New York Times, February 20th, 1895.

“To Stone’s annoyance, in 1892 Pope paid for and organised a petition …”: Before becoming head of the Office for Road Inquiry Stone was head of the National League for Good Roads, an organisation helped into existence by the L.A.W. The NLGR and held the first “Good Roads Convention” in Washington, D.C. in 1892.

“The petition still exists, stored deep in the vaults of the National Archives …”:

“I’ve seen it – it’s gloriously imposing.”: Pix of the giant petition:

“General” Coxey created the short-lived Good Roads Association of the United States.”:  Coxey’s Good Roads Association was short-lived but later there were other organisations of the same name, including ones at the state level.

“For a start, a great deal of what labour was expended on roads at that time was “free” …”: Many wheelmen and roads officials such as the Office of Road Inquiry’s General Roy Stone were in favour of convict labour – the so-called “chain gangs – being used for highway maintenance and construction. Notes on the Employment of Convicts in Connection with Road Building, ORI Bulletin No. 16, 1895. There was also an association to promote what, in effect was slavery: the National Convict Labor Good Roads Association. The use of chain gangs did not die out until the 1950s.

“(There’s another fantasy element to Coxey’s plan – one of those who observed the march was Lyman Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz …”: Coxey was opposed to the US operating on the gold standard monetary system which valued the dollar according to the quantity of gold. He preferred the silver standard, which would have increased the US money supply, raised prices and reduced the crashing debt suffered by farmers. In Baum’s book, Dorothy wore silver slippers not ruby ones and the yellow brick road is said to represent gold. Coxey’s Army – the ragtag marchers – included a figure called the Great Unknown, a protege of Carl Browne, the march’s co-organiser. Browne later said that Unknown “was in fact A. P. B Bozarro, a patent medicine salesman … the Wizardo Supreme of an outfit calling itself the American Patriots.” The Scarecrow is supposed to represent the American farmer, the Tin Man, the industrial worker, the Cowardly Lion, a US presidential candidate, and the Wizard, the US President. See The Historian’s Wizard of Oz: Reading L. Frank Baum’s Classic as a Political and Monetary Allegory, Ranjit S. Dighe, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002.

“He discoursed to me copiously and energetically upon the importance of employing the unemployed in making good roads …”: Chicago to-day: the labour war in America, W.T. Stead, Review of Reviews, London, 1894.

“They command the respect of the entire country and are widely known, not only for their splendid services in the cause of road reform …”: “A Cyclist’s Letter to his Wayback Uncle,” Casper Taboit, Good Roads, November 1892

“To the cyclists belongs the honor of introducing the first bill for a radical change in road management.”:  Good Roads, February 1893.

“The first commissioner appointed was George A. Perkins … “: He was part of the so-called “Boston Brahmin” class.

“Perkins also gave lectures on road legislation to students in the Pope-funded …”:  The Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts, April 18th, 1895.

“Massachusetts has begun a movement which other states are sure to follow, and as in all great reforms she is bound to be in the van.”: Good Roads, January 1893.

“Harvard’s Nathaniel Shaler and road engineer William E. McClintock – were also L.A.W. members.”:  Good Roads, January 1893.

“Leaving the ferry-boat we rolled through the streets of Jersey City, holding our first consultation …”: “New York to Washington and Back in an Automobile,” George Isham Scott The Automobile Magazine, June 1900

“Tellingly, he added that the “representatives of automobiling have been content to take a secondary place in the agitation …”: “Automobiles and Good Roads,” Colonel Albert A. Pope, Munsey’s Magazine, May 1903

“This coalition eventually included farmers, the postal service, railroad companies and, finally, fledgling automobile manufacturers …”:  The Rural Free Delivery of mail for farmers was a huge impetus to the creation of better roads, of more importance before the 1920s than motoring. RFD was rolled out on a small-scale after its mandation in 1896. Thanks to the Post Office Department Appropriations Bill for 1913 more cash was made available for “post” roads, and parcel post delivery was sanctioned, a massive fillip to mail-order merchants such as Sears, Roebuck & Co. Prior to 1913 farmers had to pick up their mail-order goods in the nearest “post” towns.

In 1895, Sears, Roebuck & Co. of the US was producing a 532-page catalogue. Who could resist Dr. Chaise’s Nerve And Brain Pills? This was a patent medicine cure for those with “overworked sexual excesses.” There were also items such as shoes, fishing tackle, glassware, guns (lots of guns, including specialist ones for cyclists) and, of course, bicycles and bike parts, such as wheels, valve stems, child seats, horns, clothing and pumps.

Today, Chain Reaction Cycles sends bike kit all over the world; in the 1890s, so did Sears Roebuck & Co. It claimed it was “The Cheapest Supply House On Earth” and that “Our Trade Reaches Around The World’”. (However, despite its grandiose claim, the only shipping rates in the Sears Roebuck catalogues of the 1890s are for American states).

“Our first steps were in the line of education and agitation. We went into politics and the wheelmen’s vote was large enough to be seen by the politician without the aid of glasses.”: Bassett’s Scrap Book, October, 1910

“Every improvement that was ever accomplished in this country has to go through the three stages of agitation, education and organization.”: Papers, addresses and resolutions before the American Road Congress, Richmond, Virginia, November 20-23, 1911.

“One of the game changers for roads came in December 1914 with the founding of the American Association of State Highway Officials.”: The name was changed to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in 1973.

“I often hear now-a-days, the automobile instigated good roads; that the automobile is the parent of good roads.”: The Autobiography of “By Gum” Earle, Horatio Sawyer Earle, The State Review Publishing Company, Lansing, Michigan, 1929


11. America’s Forgotten Transport Network


“Theatres, tobacconists, watch-makers, tailors and other tradespeople reported reduced takings because people were out bicycling instead.”: “Theatrical managers say they have had the poorest season for many years, and that after patient and anxious search for the cause they have found it in the bicycle craze. They say that not only do young men and maidens but older men and women save up their money in order that with it they may buy wheels. This of itself is disastrous to the theatres, but worse remains to be told; for having bought the wheels they ride them in the evening instead of going to places of amusement. They ride also on Saturday afternoons, and in Chicago a ride so universally on Sundays that the theatres, which formerly gave successful performances on that day, have discontinued them. The Sabbatarian might find encouragement in this fact were is not true that the churches are suffering almost as severely as the theatres from the same cause.

“Business men are as loud in their complaints as the theatre managers. The watchmakers and jewellers say they are nearly ruined; that all pin money which the young people saved formerly with which to buy watches and jewelry now goes for bicycles; that parents, instead of presenting a boy with a watch on his twenty-first birthday, now give him a bicycle, and that all the family economy is now conducted with the object of equipping every boy and girl, as well as father and mother, with a wheel. The confectioner cries “me too” to this complaint, declaring that about all the business he does is in chewing gum, ice cream, and soft drinks, while his candies find few customers. The tobacco manufacturer says he is the worst hit of all, since few riders care to smoke on the road – for which there is reason for profound gratitude – and the journals of the trade see it is a fact that the consumption of cigars is decreasing at the rate of a million a day, the total decrease since the craze became general averaging no less than 700,000,000 a year. Instead of sitting idle and smoking most of the day, hundreds of men now ride, and smoke only when they are resting.

“The tailor, the hatter, the bookseller, the shoemaker, the horse-dealer, and the riding-master, all tell similar tales of woe. The tailor says that so many men go about half the time in cheap bicycle suits that they do not wear out their good clothes half as rapidly as formerly. The hatter says so many of them where they wear cheap caps, in which there is no profit to the maker, that their hats last them twice as long as heretofore. The shoemaker says he is even worse off, for while they buy cheap shoes for the bicycle, they do not even wear these out, and they refrain from walking much in any kind of shoes whatever, so that his loss is almost total.” New York Evening Post, June 2nd, 1896.

“A farmer travelling along an almost impassable road with a dry, smooth and durable cycle path alongside does not need to be told the advantages of good roads.”:  Auburn Weekly Bulletin, May 15th, 1900.

“ … over one hundred and twenty-five miles of excellent wheelways, perhaps the best in the world, gridiron the territory about Rochester, N.Y.”:  Outing, May, 1900.

“Work will begin in the near future …” to connect those cycle paths which had “already been constructed.”:  The New York Times, April 3rd, 1900.

“This was “to be thirty feet wide, on an iron framework, and the flooring of hard pine.”: Velocipedes, Bicycles and Tricycles, “Velox”, 1869.

“An elevated bike path between Harlem and the Battery was again considered, with cyclists dreaming of a “delightful tour” on a midsummer night …”: Minneapolis Tribune, April 20th, 1896.

“In 1895, one newspaper reported that “it is proposed to construct an elevated cycle roadway, 16ft wide, of wood paved with asphalt, between Chicago …”: Edinburgh Evening News, 24th December, 1895.

“During the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896–9 an American entrepreneur proposed building the “greatest bicycle roadway in the world”: Wheels on Ice: Bicycling in Alaska, 1898-1908, Terrence Cole, Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, January, 1985.

Many miners-to-be set off from Seattle on beefed-up “Klondike-special” bicycles but they never got the “Klondike bicycle track.”: “There is nothing visionary about the plan,” said [Charles H. Brinkerhoff Jr.], when asked to give publicity to his ideas on the subject of a Klondike bicycle track. “On the contrary, it is the only correct solution of the problem of how to bring the gold of the Yukon within the reach of all. It isn’t every one who can afford to pay the price of a passage to the Klondike by the expensive routes at present in use, but nearly everyone owns a bicycle nowadays, and when my track is completed the trip to the gold district will be brought down to two or three weeks from the nearest American city.

“To go into details, I may say that the plan provides for a roadway, lightly constructed of steel, clamped to the sides of the mountains where it is not possible to arrange for a roadbed on a flat surface, and put together in the strongest manner known to modern builders. The roadway will be fashioned according to mathematical principles, so as to make the journey as easy for the bicyclists as is compatible with such a rough mountain trip. When it is possible, steep up-grades will be avoided, and the entire road so arranged that the mountain climbing will be done almost without the bicyclist being aware of any uphill work. When the nature of the ground renders it impossible to avoid a steep ascent, I shall compensate the climber for his toil by providing a down-grade run, so that he can recover his strength by coasting. The structure will be absolutely safe, for it will rest on steel supports cemented into the solid rock and capable of bearing a strain of ten times as great as that it will be subject to as a bicycle track. The erection of the track will be an easy matter, for I hope to have the route carefully surveyed, and the girders, supports, etc., made to fit, so that the only thing necessary when the work is ready to begin will be for the workmen to fit the sections together, bolt the girders and supports firmly and attach them securely to the rocky foundation.

I have to work out many difficult problems, but capitalists to whom I have submitted the idea are so much impressed with its feasibility that this much is certain – the road will be built. When finished, it will be the greatest bicycle roadway in the world, and I claim that it will not only bring the Yukon within the reach of all who own a wheel, but will be the means of lowering the death rate in Alaska by providing a route to the gold district that will be safe from the terrible hardships under which so many have succumbed in the past.” The Saint Paul Globe, November 28th, 1897.

“In 1900, cyclists believed long-distance cycle paths would enable them to “go from New York to any point in Maine, Florida or California on smooth roads made especially for them.”: Genesee Daily News, New York State, April 18th, 1900.

“The time is getting ripe for wheelmen to demand separate roads or cycle tracks of their own along the leading highways …”: L.A.W. Bulletin and Good Roads, December 20th, 1895.

“What is needed is to convince the rural public that good roads are economical, so economical that they cannot afford to have bad roads.” The New York Times, January 1st, 1896.

“It is perhaps unfair to say that the public roads should be improved at great expense because bicyclists alone should seem to demand it …”: The New York Times, January 5th, 1896.

“More or less talk is now heard concerning special paths for cycling.”: “Gossip of the Cyclers,” The New York Times, April 11th, 1897.

“The general movement for improved highways in the State of New-York through the action of the existing legislative commission has taken such promising shape that I earnestly hope the influence of the wheelmen …”: The New York Times, January 12th, 1896.

“… the cyclers rightfully demand good roads or paths for their accommodation.”:  The New York Times, May 22nd, 1895.

“ … them bicycle fellars.”:  Michigan Farmer, August 23rd, 1890.

“Every cyclepath is a protest against bad roads …”: Cycle paths: a practical hand-book, containing the best available information to guide members of the League of American Wheelmen and others in placing in substantial form their PROTEST AGAINST BAD ROADS by the construction and maintenance of those temporary blessings known as cycle paths, Isaac B Potter, League of American Wheelmen, 1898.

“What has the farmer, the man most interested, done for good roads when left to himself?”:  “Side Paths vs. Roads,” LAW Bulletin, 24, 1896.

” … we gladly welcome every law which tends to give us better roads.”:  Charles Raymond. Good Roads, November, 1894.

“Sterling Elliott … was the first to push for the construction of short stretches of rural roads in order to “impress upon the farmer the value of such roads”: “Getting Good Roads by Sample,” Sterling Elliott, Good Roads, May, 1894.

“By 1897 the creation of “object lesson roads” had become the most important activity of the Office of Road Inquiry.”: “Object Lesson Roads,” Logan W. Page, *Yearbook for 1906, US Dept of Agriculture, 1906. The ORI’s first “object lesson road” was built at the International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, 1895. By 1905, 96 short object lessons had been built.

“Attired in holiday garb and colors, the throng presented a picture pretty to look upon.”: The New York Times, June 28th, 1896.

“The bike route was paid for in part by cyclists.”: In 1906, the Good Roads Association of Brooklyn, which had been founded by cyclists, had $650 in the bank, money which had been originally raised for the upkeep of the Coney Island Cycle Path. The organisation – and its cash – was absorbed by the Long Island Automobile Club. Reporting on the takeover, a news story in The New York Times was headlined “Funds For Cycle Paths Diverted to Auto Work.”⁠ The New York Times, November 16th, 1906.

“The cycle path was “the first path in the world devoted exclusively to bicycles…”: This wasn’t true. There were primitive cycle paths in the Netherlands before the Coney Island Cycle Path.

“the path is looked upon as an improvement [because] wheelmen do not interfere with driving at all.”:  The New York Times, December 25th, 1894.

“There is nothing like the Path. It is the favorite haunt of [the] boulevardier …”: Referee, November 1895.

“I am prepared, in my official position … to do everything within the limits of my powers as such to care for and advance the interests of the wheelmen of Brooklyn.”: The New York Times, March 10th, 1896.

“The cycle paths that came to national prominence in the late 1890s had been metaphorically built on the foundations laid by Charles T. Raymond …”: In 1891, he was secretary and treasurer for Jackson Lumber of Lockport, NY, a pulp mill company. The New York Times, May 28th, 1891.

“When our numbers were few, the road was good enough,” Raymond wrote in 1894 …”:  Good Roads, November, 1894.

“Raymond became convinced that cyclists would pay directly for improved rural paths …”: Sidepaths, February, 1901.

“Good sidepaths can be constructed at a cost of $100 to $300 per mile, while good roads cost from $2,000 to $5,000 per mile”:  Lockport Daily Journal, May 13th, 1898.

” … when there was a proposal for the tax to be extended state-wide, the Niagara chapter of the L.A.W. came out in opposition …”:  Sidepaths, February, 1901.

“Newspaper claims that the “sidepath movement” was “growing with irresistible momentum” were threatened …”: The Evening News, North Tonawanda, New York State, December 23rd, 1896.

“… there is no more reason why the bicyclists should be taxed for cinder paths than that owners of vehicles should be taxed for the construction of better highways.”:  Rochester Post Express, April 20th, 1896.

“These commissioners were “authorized to construct and maintain sidepaths …”:  Greene, The Highway Law, 246; Ryan v. Preston, 10 N.Y. Ann. Cas. 5. (N.Y.S. 1901).Greene, The Highway Law, 246; Ryan v. Preston, 10 N.Y. Ann. Cas. 5. (N.Y.S. 1901). Via “The Sidepath Not Taken: Bicycles, Taxes, and the Rhetoric of the Public Good in the 1890s”, James Longhurst, Journal of Policy History, 25, 2013.

“Cyclists in Denver funded a 50-mile cycle path to Palmer Lake …”: “Roads for Cyclists,” Chicago Daily Tribune, May 24th, 1895.

“And in 1895, in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota, city workers built six miles of urban cycle paths paid for by cyclists …”: Annual Report of the City Engineer of Minneapolis (Minneapolis: Harrison and Smith, 1897). “The Cycle Paths of St. Paul,” LAW Bulletin and Good Roads Magazine, September 30th, 1898.

“The “object and intent” of the law, the legislature said, was “to provide for a highway separate from that used by teams and wagons.”:  Central Point American, Central Point, Oregon, September 1st, 1949.

“This “provides a license for riding and [was] not a tax upon the bicycle.”: Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 7th, 1901.

“Portland, Oregon, had a turn-of-the-century network of 59 miles of six-foot-wide cycle paths …”: Chicago Daily Tribune, January 28th, 1900.

“Cycle-path taxes helped to usher in funding regimes that would be later used very successfully to raise money from motorists.”: In those states that did have taxation mechanisms in place “abutters” – those with land by the road – paid a “road tax” of from one-tenth to one-third of the total cost of improvements.

” … the “road tax” levied on cyclists was “the precedent for and the granddad of the present system of automotive licenses …”: Central Point American, Central Point, Oregon, September 1st, 1949

“Christopher W. Wells … showed that the Interstate highway network was successful because of the invisibility of its financing, hiding the cost from end-users …”: 1956 Highway Trust Fund. “Fueling the Boom: Gasoline Taxes, Invisibility, and the Growth of the American Highway Infrastructure, 1919–1956,” Journal of American History 99, no. 1, 2012.

“A “wealthy resident of West Islip, [Long Island]” argued that the building of a cycle path in front of his house …”: John G. Ryan. L.A.W. Bulletin, July, 1900.

“All of the court cases were lost, and county Sidepath Commissions felt emboldened …”: The third case was in Pennsylvania.

“When the first sidewalk was legally constructed, the law took into consideration a difference existing between pedestrians and [horse carriage] drivers …”:  L.A.W. Bulletin, July, 1900. Cycle paths were “not [to] be less than three feet or more than six feet wide … and shall be constructed within the outside lines and along and upon either side of … public roads and streets.”⁠ Greene, The Highway Law, 246; Ryan v. Preston, 10 N.Y. Ann. Cas. 5. (N.Y.S. 1901).

“They even had their own magazine, Sidepaths …”: “The Sidepath Not Taken: Bicycles, Taxes, and the Rhetoric of the Public Good in the 1890s”, James Longhurst, Journal of Policy History, 25, 2013.

“When the town of Hoquiam in Washington State tried to prosecute a tag-free cyclist …”:  Act of March 6, 1899, ch. 31, 1899 Wash. Laws 41; People v. Bruce, 23 Wash. 777 (Wash. 1901); cf. “Washington Tax Law Illegal,” Chicago Legal News, 34, no. 56, 1901.

“Historian James Longhurst wrote in 2013 that  … voluntary funding streams were insufficient for the construction and maintenance of serious infrastructure …” “The Sidepath Not Taken: Bicycles, Taxes, and the Rhetoric of the Public Good in the 1890s”, James Longhurst, Journal of Policy History, 25, 2013. Paying for the use of the highway – even if it was an improved sliver of highway – was never popular. “The public thoroughfares are public property, and their use should be free and unrestricted,” wrote the editor of the St. Paul Globe in 1900: “If it is proposed to tax the owners of bicycles, that is another proposition; but to exclude them from the use of the cycle paths because they have not paid a fee is clearly unjust discrimination and against all true public policy … as long as our streets are not private property, we hope never to see laws which prohibit the use of public roads for any group.⁠ St. Paul Globe, April 7th, 1900. Collection of user fees was also difficult. A cycle path connecting Los Angeles with Santa Monica was paid for with the voluntary sale of “buttons” and 300 of these lapel badges were sold. But, complained the Los Angeles Herald in 1900, “it seems so very strange that in a riding community, such as Los Angeles, with its 30,000 wheelmen, there should be only 300 who take sufficient interest in the improving of the country roads.”⁠ The sale of such buttons was hampered by the fact that the cycle path was open to use by all. Los Angeles Herald, June 10th, 1900.

“Pasadena’s thousands of cyclists, who could fly 50 feet high over the deepest section of the oak-studded Arroyo Seco river valley.”:  Arroyo Seco means “dry stream”.

“The “ingenious scheme” was to be an uninterrupted “paradise for wheelmen.”: Los Angeles Herald, July 24th, 1898.

“The California Cycle Way was first mooted in 1896. “The idea was originated by Horace Dobbins …”:  Los Angeles Herald, November 20th, 1896.

Scientific American called Dobbins’ route an “elaborate wheelway” where “cyclists will … be permitted to view the beautiful scenery …”: Scientific American, May 13th, 1899.

“The newspaper called it a “Curious cycleway” but remarked that similar cycleways ought to be constructed for Britain’s “vast army of cyclists”: The Evening Post, Dundee, 26th July, 1900.

“It wasn’t until November 1902 that the two companies agreed to compromise.”:

“Many Pasadena old-timers have happy memories of moonlight rides up and down that historic strip …”:  Independent Star-News, Pasadena, 23rd November, 1958.

“Cycleway will do no more work now.”: Pasadena Daily Star, 10th August, 1900.

“The small city had 15 bicycle shops in 1900 and … in 1898 the city’s 9,000 residents owned 4,000 bicycles …”: Los Angeles Herald, July 24th, 1898.

“There were also plans for the cycleway to snake past a lavish casino to be built in the Moorish style …”: “California’s Great Cycle-Way”, T. D. Denham, Pearson’s Magazine, September, 1901.

” … Dobbins had holidayed in Pasadena with his parents since 1888 …”: Los Angeles Daily Herald, April 6th, 1888.

” … Dobbins was a Valley Hunt Club member …”:  San Francisco Call, December 31st, 1897.

“The company prospectus said that the route would be open to “bicycles or other horseless vehicles”:  Pasadena, California: Historical and Personal, J. W. Wood, self-published, 1917.

” … Braley Bicycle Emporium (now a Scientology church) …”:

” … grading cuts through the foothills had taken place in the preceding two years.”:  San Francisco Chronicle, 10th September, 1899.

“On the first day of construction … the “first section” of the cycleway would be “rushed to completion.”: Pasadena Daily Evening Star, 15th November, 1899.

“A sign outside his hotel read “Automobiles are positively not allowed on these grounds.”:  South Pasadena’s Raymond Hotel, Rick Thomas, Arardia Publishing, San Francisco, 2008.

” … puffed T. D. Denham …”:  “California’s Great Cycle-Way”, T. D. Denham, Pearson’s Magazine, September, 1901. How Los Angeles and Pasadena are Connected by a Magnificent Elevated Cycle-track, Nine Miles in Length, Entirely Devoted to Wheeling, Running through Some of the Most Beautiful Country in the States, and Forming One of the Most Perfect Cycle-ways in the World.

The South Californian towns, Los Angeles and Pasadena, are now connected by the strangest and most interesting of links – a magnificent, elevated cycle-way, with a smooth surface of wood, running for nine miles through beautiful country, flanked by green hills, and affording views at every point of the snow-clad Sierras.

On this splendid track cyclists may now enjoy the very poetry of wheeling. At Pasadena they may mount their cycles and sail down to Los Angeles without so much as touching the pedals, even though the gradient is extremely slight.The way lies for the most part along the east bank of the Arroyo Seco, giving a fine view of this wooded stream, and skirting the foot of the neighboring oak-covered hills.The surface is perfectly free from all dust and mud, and nervous cyclists find the track safer than the widest roads, for there are no horses to avoid, no trains or trolley-cars, no stray dogs or wandering children.

Southern California – with her delightful climate and beautiful country, verdant and radiant with wild flowers in the midst of winter – should be a cyclists’ paradise. There is only this drawback – a really good cycling road cannot be found in all the country! Where a good road is most needed it is least in evidence – between the towns that are now linked by the sky cycle-way.

A conservative estimate places the number of cyclists in the two towns, including visitors, at 30,000. As a sign of the enthusiasm that exists for wheeling, it is stated that no fewer than 5,000 inventors of cycles are numbered in the populations. On Sundays, enthusiastic cyclists often swarm over the apologies for roads between the towns. They bravely face the sand and the dust and the steep hills that they have to combat.

There is a difference of some 600ft. in the elevations of the larger city and of its suburb; but this does not deter the enthusiasts, although the twenty mile ride from one town to the other and back is no mean feat of endurance. At present, not only is there no good cycling road, but there is little chance of one being constructed, owing to the number of railway tracks that would have to be crossed.

What a boon, therefore, is the new cycle-way to these beautiful Californian cities! It is thought that in five years’ time, industrial activity will be so quickened that the country will enjoy such prosperity as it has never known. Wheelmen increase and multiply every season. Motor cycles are fast coming in. The day is at hand when the motor-cyclist will be able to buy for a few cents enough compressed air to propel his machine for twenty miles at top speed. That in Pasadena, Queen of the Cities, and in Los Angeles, her metropolis, there will be 100,000 cyclists and 10,000 motor-cyclists in a few years, is a moderate computation. It is well that they will not have to trundle over the old, rutty adobe roads.

The inventor and promoter of the great cycle-way scheme is a wealthy Pasadena resident, Mr. Horace Dobbins, while the vice-president of the Cycle-way Company is an ex-Governor of the State, Mr. H.H. Markham. When the first bill for the cycle-way was brought before the Legislature it was vetoed – the scheme was thought chimerical. In 1897, however, the proposition was officially sanctioned, and although no one but its daring originator had any faith in it at first, gradually public support was gained. In spite of all difficulties and opposition, the cycle-way at length became a fact, and is now, perhaps, one of the most noteworthy institutions in Southern California.

The long track that winds like a great green snake through the hills between the two towns is built almost entirely of wood, and is strong enough to bear a service of trolley-cars. Throughout the entire distance from the center of one city to the center of the other it has an uninterrupted right of way, passing over roads, streets, railway tracks, gullies and ravines. At its highest point, the elevation of the track is about fifty feet. The maximum grade in the nine mile run is three per cent, and that only for two thousand feet. Elsewhere the grade averages one and a quarter per cent.

At present, the cycle-way is wide enough to allow four cyclists to ride abreast, but its width may be doubled presently. As it is, cycles and motor-cycles alone are allowed on the road, but when the track is widened, motor cars may be permitted the privilege of running over its beautiful surface.

From the engineer’s point of view, the road is a triumph. No fewer than 1,250,000 feet of best Oregon pine were used in its construction. The wood is painted dark green. At night, the cycle-way looks like a gleaming serpent, for it is brightly lit with incandescent lights.

The cycle-track has pretty terminal stations and a Casino. The stations are little buildings of Moorish design, where cycles and motors may be hired and repaired and housed. The Casino sits on one of the loftiest hills in a beautiful tract of country that has been christened Merlemount Park, and which is now laid out as a peaceful retreat for the weary townsman. You look out from the crown of the hill over a superb view – the grand Sierra Madres overshadow the beautiful San Gabriel Valley; Mount San Jacito and Mount San Bernardino, rising 9000 feet and 11,000 feet, stand sentinel over the rich land of orange and olive; the blue Pacific waters glisten to the South; and far out to sea your eye can discern the island of Santa Catalina. All the important fruit trees in the world grow in the gardens below you.

In the Casino buildings are cafés and restaurants, reception-rooms, and luxurious waiting-rooms, and a Swiss dairy, complete in all its fittings, for the refreshment of the thirsty. At night there are gay lights and bright music.

The entrance toll to the cycle-way is only ten cents. This allows a cyclist or a motor-cyclist to ride up and down the track all day, if he should so please, and to enjoy the benefits of the park, and other attractions.

“Denham claimed that “industrial activity will be so quickened [by this splendid track] …”:  “California’s Great Cycle-Way”, T. D. Denham, Pearson’s Magazine, September, 1901.

“His article stated that the California Cycleway was nine miles long, as did most of the other press reports …”:  El Paso Herald, 4th October, 1901. This is just one example of many newspapers which based their articles on the California Cycleway on the Pearson’s Magazine piece.

“A Mexican boy took hold of a live electric wire on the cycleway and received a shock which made him unconscious …”: Los Angeles Herald, January 26th, 1906.

” … the cycleway was “to come down from Central Park tract” and that Dobbins “agrees to turn his franchise back to the city free of cost …”:  Pasadena Daily News, 11th March, 1901.

“I have concluded that we are a little ahead of time on this cycleway.”:  Los Angeles Times, October 7th, 1900.

” … although by 1906 … it was “an eyesore to some people.”: Pasadena Daily News, June 6th, 1906.

“Permission for the demolition wasn’t granted because the Board of Supervisors believed Dobbins …”: Los Angeles Herald, October 23rd, 1907.

“While at least parts of the structure may have been extant in 1919 …”: Greenhouse: The 200-Year Story of Global Warming, Gale E. Christianson, 1999.

“Governor of California Culbert L. Olson declared it to be the “first freeway in the West.”:

” … Pasadena mayor Harrison R. Baker said that Dobbins was “way out in front of all of us”: Independent Star-News, Pasadena, 23rd November, 1958.

“The horseless carriage … caused the demise of the bikeway,” wrote the Public Information Officer for the City of Pasadena …”:

“Automobiles spelled doom for the cycleway.”: Pasadena Star News, August 22nd, 2005.

” … the architecture correspondent for Britain’s Guardian newspaper even claimed that the structure …”: Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian, January 2nd, 2014.

“In the eight years from 1914 to 1922 the number of vehicle registrations in Los Angeles County quadrupled …”:  According to the State Department of Motor Vehicles, Los Angeles County had 43,099 motor vehicles registered in 1914. By 1922, that number had risen to 172,313.

“As part of a deal, Dobbins transferred ownership of some of the cycleway’s rights of way to the City of Pasadena in August 1902 …”: Pasadena Evening Star, August 5th, 1902.

“In 1909 Dobbins incorporated the Rapid Transit Company …”: Los Angeles Herald, January 12th, 1909.

“The Pasadena Rapid Transit railroad to Los Angeles will be built, and it is my honest belief that this road will be built …”: Los Angeles Herald, September 19th, 1909. The claim about owning every right of way was probably fanciful; Dobbins may have owned 224 separate tracts of land that made up the route’s right-of-way but just one missing link can scupper a proposed route, and it’s likely Dobbins couldn’t have guaranteed every inch of his route.


12. Pedal Power


“If wheelmen secure us the good roads for which they are so zealously working, [the] body deserves a medal in recognition of its philanthropy.” US President Benjamin Harrison made this remark in July 1892 while watching a L.A.W.  parade of cycles from the balcony of the White House. The New York Times, September 11th, 1892.

“It was a gallows, from which hung a dummy representing “the first man who will vote against good [roads] …”: San Francisco Call, July 25th, 1896.

“Placards of every size and color and glaring transparencies reiterated the laconic demand for street improvement …”: The San Francisco Call, July 26th, 1896.

“If he is favorable to them, they will work hard to elect him …”: The New York Times, August 5th, 1894.

“The League of American Wheelmen is bound to secure better roads and you, as a wheelman, are expected to assist at the polls …”: The New York Times, September 21st, 1894.

“The cycling organizations of Chicago … are sending out letters to the various candidates for the legislature …”:  Chicago Times Herald, May 15th, 1896.

“Carter Harrison claims to have been the first person to have made the assertion that THE BICYCLE WOULD BE THE CAUSE OF GOOD ROADS.” The Sporting Life, June 11th, 1892. Harrison also said: “I prophesy … that when the contending armies ride out to meet each other on the fleet, soft-running bicycle that they will feel so good natured that when they do come together you can’t get them to fight if you try.”

“… why not utilize my cycling record as an offset to the Harlan football boasting?”: Stormy Years – The Autobiography of Carter H. Harrison, Carter H. Harrison, The Bob Merrill Company, New York, 1935.

“Everyone was supposed to ride a bicycle and one was not what they called “in the swim” unless you mastered the wheel …”:  “Bicycles and Billiards,” Edith Harrison, Papers of Carter H. Harrison Jr., The Newberry Library, Chicago.

“Robert A. Van Wyck … had run on a ticket that, in part, courted the cyclist vote.”:  The Wyck administration lasted until 1901 before being brought down by a corruption scandal. The New York Times said it was mired in “black ooze and slime.”

“In 1898 … Van Wyck wrote: “I deem it proper to make special mention … of the pressing necessity for proper bicycle paths …”: New York Journal, October 24th, 1898.

“William Travers Jerome … later became New York County District Attorney. In the 1890s, he was on the Board of Consuls for the New York chapter of the L.A.W.”: The New York Times, March 7th, 1897.

“In 1881, L.A.W. president Charles E. Pratt had urged the “laying aside all differences of party politics”: “The Political Power of the L.A.W,” Wheelman, May, 1881.

“I think that if we make a little deal with the politicians it wouldn’t be very long … before you will have both the Republicans and Democrats running after the “wheel” vote.”:  “Speeches Made at the Banquet of the League of American Wheelmen, Monday, May 28th, 1883, at Metropolitan Hotel, New York City,” Wheelman, August, 1883.

” … even the president of the United States could be elected or defeated by the united forces of bicycle riders.”:  Joe Ward, “The Trials & Tribulations of the Turn-of-the-Century Cyclists,” Louisville Bicycle Club website,

“Major McKinley … has frequently expressed his admiration for the sport, and no one will be surprised to see him at one of the cycle schools  …”:  Indianapolis News, October 10th, 1896.

” … earlier in the month [McKinley’s] house had been the staging point for a demonstration by 3,000 cyclists …”: Chicago Daily Tribune, October 4th, 1896.

“A number of different badges were produced showing McKinley astride his bicycle.”: The newly-invented celluloid lapel button, or badge, was all the rage in the 1896/7 presidential campaign. At least five different bicycle-based badges were produced by the Republican campaign.

“The arrival of cyclists on the national scene “marks a new era in campaign work”: San Francisco Call, October 4th, 1896.

” … do active work during the campaign and on election day. In the next six weeks there will be many parades and other demonstrations, in which the wheelmen’s companies will take part.”:  St. Paul Pioneer Press, September 20th, 1896.

“These men, when they see their companions joining the National Republican Wheelmen’s club …”:  Chicago Daily Tribune, August 9th, 1896.

“… you are requested to promote the immediate organization of McKinley and Hobart Wheelmen’s clubs in every precinct in your county …”:  Daily Light, September 22nd, 1896.

“In Indianapolis … 100 Republican wheelmen rode to former President Benjamin Harrison’s home to escort him to the railway station …”:  Dubuque Daily Herald, October 31st, 1896.

“The Republican bicycle club in Terre Haute, Indiana, had 850 members. Membership was open to …”: Terre Haute Express, September 26th, 1896. In an article in an Indiana history journal, historian Michael Taylor wrote: “By the time of the election, wheelmen’s political clubs operated in all of the midwestern battleground states – Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota – and in towns both large and small. It is clear that these clubs participated very actively in parades and rallies …⁠” “The Bicycle Boom and the Bicycle Bloc: Cycling and Politics in the 1890s,” Michael Taylor, Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 104, Issue 3, September, 2008.

“McKinley learnt of his victory thanks to William K. Bellis of the Bellis Cycle Company of Indianapolis …”: Cycling Life, November, 1896.

“Although one writer claimed in 1895 that “We may yet see cyclists turning a general election – if any party is indiscreet enough to offend them”: Joseph William Gleeson White, Windsor magazine, February, 1895.

“Among the prominent and habitual breakers of the [speed] limit [in 1903] was the Prime Minister A. J. Balfour …”: The Motor Car and Politics in Britain, William Plowden, Bodley Head, 1971.

“Prior to his conversion to motoring, Balfour was president of the National Cyclists’ Union …”: The Cycling World Illustrated, June 3rd, 1896.

“Hugh Oakeley Arnold-Forster, Balfour’s Secretary of State for War from 1903 to 1905, was a touring cyclist …”: The Cyclists’ Touring Record, Thomas Edens Osborne, Belfast. “cards and pages of the book have been arranged by H. O. Arnold-Forster, Esq., M.P. for West Belfast, and deal very completely with items of the ride, such as wind, weather, roads, distance from place to place, total distance, hills, times of arrival and departure, pace, cyclometer times, running time for the journey, and rate per hour, times of stoppage, etc.” The Wheelwoman and Society Cycling News, May 22nd, 1897.

“In popularity with members of Parliament the bicycle can give many points to the motor car and yet beat that mechanical atrocity hollow …”: Pall Mall Gazette, August 13th, 1898.

“Cycling has quite won Mr. [Herbert] Gladstone over, and he is among the staunchest friends of the pastime …”: The Hub, July 15th, 1899.

“In the 1890s, vice-presidents of the Pioneer Cycling Club of London included politicians of all stripes …”:  “Organised Cycling and Politics: the 1890s & 1900s in Battersea,” Sean Creighton, The Sports Historian, No. 15, May, 1995.

“Anxious to see Battersea on the eve of the greatest struggle in its history, I had ridden south-west to the silver Thames ..”: “A bicycle interview with John Burns, Battersea’s man to beat,” Harold Spender, The Guardian, October 2nd, 1900.

“Sir John Aird, a civil-engineering contractor and the Conservative MP for Paddington North from 1887 to 1906, was for many years the president of the Bath Road Club …”: The Cycling World Illustrated, April 1st, 1896.

“John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, most famous today for the boxing rules which he endorsed and for the part he played in Oscar Wilde’s downfall, was a controversial parliamentarian in the 1880s and also a keen cyclist …”: He also partnered Charles Aubrey Smith on a tandem.⁠ Cycling World Illustrated, March 25th, 1896. Queensbury moved to live in the White Lion Hotel in Cobham at one point in order to be close to the Ripley Road. He was also a vice-president of the Bath Road Club. Wilde seduced Queensbury’s son, Alfred, and Douglas sent evidence to Scotland Yard that saw Wilde sentenced to two years’ in jail. Later knighted, Charles Smith became a movie star and was the founder of the Hollywood Cricket Club which attracted fellow expatriates such as David Niven, Laurence Olivier, and Leslie Howard.

“William Coutts Keppel, 7th Earl of Albemarle … was a long-time president of the National Cyclists’ Union …”: His son, Arnold Keppel, 8th Earl of Albemarle, also became president of the Civil Service Bicycle Club, and commanded a volunteer regiment attached to the 26th Middlesex (Cyclist) Volunteer Rifles.

” … barrister Joseph Firth Bottomley Firth was the author of one of the first books on cycling …”:  The Velocipede. Its Past, Its Present & Its Future, J. F. B. [Joseph Firth Bottomley], Marshall, 1869.

“Firth became the Liberal MP for Chelsea in 1880. He did not introduce a Highway Act to provide roads for cyclists but he did become a municipal reformer …”:  He was president of the London Municipal Reform League from 1882, and author of London Government and How to Reform It of the same year. In 1889, following the creation of the London County Council, Firth was elected as a member of the majority Progressive Party, becoming the first deputy chairman of the council.⁠1 John Davis, “Firth, Joseph Firth Bottomley (1842–1889)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, May, 2006.

“BBC interviewer and historian of the Victorian era Jeremy Paxman put Stead third in a list of the top ten eminent Victorians …”: Queen Victoria was first; General Gordon second. Daily Mail, 14th March, 2010.

In 2012, the British Library described [Stead] as a “towering presence in the cultural life of late Victorian and Edwardian society.”:

“Stead was no ordinary journalist.”: After his death, Stead was commemorated with plaques in Central Park, New York and on the Victoria Embankment by the Thames in London. “This tribute to the memory of a journalist of worldwide renown is erected by American friends and admirers,” says the plaque in New York. The London one states: “This memorial to a journalist of wide renown was erected near the spot where he worked for more than thirty years by journalists of many lands in recognition of his brilliant gifts fervent spirit & untiring devotion to the service of his fellow men.”

“Stead was editor of the Pall Mall Gazette in the 1880s …”:  In the 1880s and 1890s the Pall Mall Gazette had a front page column from “CTC”, pen-name for a journalist who wrote on matters cycling, including the work – or lack thereof – of the Roads Improvement Association.

“Ministers driven into retirement, laws repealed, great social reforms initiated …”: “Government by Journalism”, W.T. Stead, The Contemporary Review, May, 1886.

“[Stead] founded a society women’s bicycle club, the Mowbray House Cycling Association …”:  Club captain Maude Gatliff said: “The club was started by Mr. Stead and Miss Bacon, our honorary secretary. We used to work it up during lunch time, and it now numbers about a hundred and fifty members. We generally go for three rides a month — two Saturday and one Sunday — meeting at some favourite point, such as Putney Bridge, or Tally-ho Corner…An Englishwoman has an innate love of sport, and likes to do what her brothers do, and cycle as far and as fast as men. One can’t do it in skirts.” The Mowbray House Cycling Association is to be congratulated upon its increasing prosperity…” The Wheelwoman, January 30th, 1897.

“Established in May 1893, the association was a cycling club for high-society ladies …”: “One of the principal aims of the Association was to promote a feeling of comradeship between women bicyclists…” The Cycling World Illustrated, April 8th, 1896. Health and Girlhood in Britain, 1874-1920, Hilary Marland Palgrave, Macmillan, 2013.

” … mistress of the Prince of Wales.”: He went on to become King Edward VII.

“She’s supposed to be the Daisy in Harry Dacre’s 1892 comic song “Daisy Bell”: Cycling said the Countess of Warwick was “among the first ladies who caught that rabid disease commonly known as cyclomania.”

“The Mowbray House Cycling Association was run by Miss Nellie Bacon, Stead’s personal secretary …”:  Stead’s Mowbray House Cycling Association was a fund-raising organisation and did it with typical conviviality: “the members glide up, and, with a merry jest and laugh, they ride along together, animated by the congenial flow of bright spirits and happy flow of chatter.” Girl’s Own Paper, vol 18, 1897.

“In 1894 [Miss Nellie Bacon] told a woman’s emancipation magazine that “… an ordinary girl like myself can do sixty or seventy miles per day…”: “Through the Air on Wheels,” The Woman’s Signal, September 3rd, 1894.

“Stead asked his society friends to offer similar facilities and those that did so included Lady Henry Somerset …”: Maiden Tribute, Grace Eckley, Xlibris Corporation, 2007.

“Two of [Stead’s] young sons went on a bicycle tour of Europe in 1893 …”:  In The Daily Paper, Stead wrote: “My boys have just returned from a bicycle tour on the Continent, which they took for the purpose of enjoying a holiday, of seeing foreign countries, and of familiarising themselves with French and German. There were two them: the eldest nineteen … the other, seventeen … They were mounted upon Humber’s latest bicycle, fitted with Torrilliou pneumatic tyres and Edwards’ corrugated cover … The corrugated cover was an immense success … They were the first of the kind that had been seen in France … they entirely prevented side-slipping, and they render riding in rain and mud as safe as in dry weather.” This is a description of what sounds like a mountain bike knobbly tyre, except it was a cover of sorts. The Daily Paper, October 4th, 1893.

“In 1897 [Stead] talked bicycles with Mark Twain: “I asked if he ever cycled. He said yes, he had …”:  The Review of Reviews, Vol. XVI, August, 1897.

“[Stead] died alongside Colonel John Jacob Astor IV, the American socialite …”:  The New York Times, July 12th, 1896. Astor and Stead were First Class passengers on the Titanic and, after escorting others off the stricken liner, ended up in the water. A survivor saw them clinging to a raft: “Their feet became frozen and they were compelled to release their hold. Both were drowned.”⁠ The survivor was Philip Mock. Worcester Telegram, April 20th, 1912.

“Despite having numerous cycling MPs and bicycle-friendly media moguls, Britain never experienced L.A.W.-style block voting from cyclists.”:  Bicycles were important at election times in the 1890s for practical reasons rather than their riders being agents for political change. Bicycles were faster and cheaper than horses and ferried political agents from village to village and allowed messengers to distribute leaflets town to town. The Rambler, a weekly cycle-and-general-interest title created by Alfred Harmsworth, stated in 1897 that “the cycle has become a recognised feature of all electoral contests.” Horse-drawn carriages had been “ousted from pride of position by the flying wheel.”

Just as today with helicopters and battle-buses, there was then an urgent need to cover as much ground as quickly as possible:

“In fighting a seat speed is the principal requirement in getting over the ground … A horse would be knocked up in rather less than no time, but a cyclist can strap a bundle of handbills or leaflets to his handle-bars, jump on the machine, and reach his destination in a comparatively short time. Roads are of course a burning question with him, and a wet day an abomination. Still, taken all round, the cyclist will beat the horseman five times out of six as regards usefulness.”

An election agent, quoted by The Rambler, was adamant he would have been ruined without his bicycle:

“Luckily, I was a cyclist, although not a scorcher, and so could ride round to my sub-agents, transact the necessary business, and then go on to another man. The action of riding is also helpful to one. It clears his head by setting up a different train of thought, and so tends to ease the brain.”

But it was on polling day that cyclists really came into their own, said the agent:

“They are here, there and everywhere, scarcely stopping for a drink or a meal, and getting over an amount of ground that would disable the best of horses … He’ll shout out to the men he may pass, reminding them that the poll closes at 8 o’clock, or have a run round the village upon his own. Or, he may, if very enthusiastic, cut out a couple of discs and out them inside his wheels. You can easily attract attention by painting up “Vote for Smith” in big staring letters on those pieces of cardboard, and if we get a line of thirty or forty wheelmen patrolling the country with these legends on their machines for a few days previous to the poll, it makes a great difference to our candidate.”

Bicycles were used in this practical fashion in America, too, but the riders were the real players.

“Overt political lobbying in Britain didn’t start until the 1930s.”:  The first professional political consultancy was Watney and Powell, created by Commander Christopher Powell in the 1930s.

“The Saturday bicycle meetings of the Suffragette scouts are proving a great success.”: Votes for Women, August 27th, 1908.

“WSPU branches around Britain formed their own brigades of Cycling Scouts.”:  “Cycling to Suffrage: Bicycles and the Organised Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain, 1900-1914,” Sheila Hanlon, Cycle History Spring 2013.

“The farmers now understand our aims much better than they did a few years ago, and … they can safely hob-nob with us …”: Letter from Otto Dorner, chairman, L.A.W.’s National Committee for Highway Improvement, to Roy Stone, director, Office of Road Inquiry, January 24th, 1898.

“These agents were issued official certificates by the government and were provided with stationery, maps …”:  Truman R. Stobridge, Preliminary Inquiry No. 134, RG 30, Records of the Bureau of Public Roads, 19, Washington, D.C., 1962.

“First, the Bureau owed its existence, as well as subsequent appropriations increases, in large part to the lobbying efforts of the League.”:  “Bicyclists and Bureaucrats: The League of American Wheelmen and Public Choice Theory Applied,” Gregory C. Lisa, Georgetown Law Journal, December, 1995.

“Inviting him to a Good Roads meeting, L.A.W. president Isaac Potter assured Harrison that “of course your expenses will be paid …”: Letter from Isaac B. Potter to E. G. Harrison, January 9th, 1898. “Bicyclists and Bureaucrats: The League of American Wheelmen and Public Choice Theory Applied,” Gregory C. Lisa, Georgetown Law Journal, December, 1995.

“It would be of the greatest assistance to us in our work to have it officially understood that we were in some sort of co-operation with your department.”:  Letter from Sterling Elliott to Roy Stone, Director of Road Inquiry, July 28th, 1896. “Bicyclists and Bureaucrats: The League of American Wheelmen and Public Choice Theory Applied,” Gregory C. Lisa, Georgetown Law Journal, December, 1995.

“Every wheelman is a preacher, a worker, and a fighter for good roads.”:  General Roy Stone, Address to the League of American Wheelmen Good Roads Banquet, 11th February 1897. “Bicyclists and Bureaucrats: The League of American Wheelmen and Public Choice Theory Applied,” Gregory C. Lisa, Georgetown Law Journal, December, 1995.

“It seems to me that the prospects for good roads are brighter than ever before …”: Letter from Otto Dorner, chairman, Committee for Highway Improvement to M.C. Eldridge, Bureau of Road Inquiry, January 30th, 1900. “Bicyclists and Bureaucrats: The League of American Wheelmen and Public Choice Theory Applied,” Gregory C. Lisa, Georgetown Law Journal, December 1995.

“The most widely distributed ORI publication was Must the Farmer Pay for Good Roads?, written by Dorner in 1898.”: Dorner had been a L.A.W. member since 1894. With two other L.A.W. members he organised the Wisconsin League for Good Roads.


13. Motoring’s Bicycling Beginnings


 “If it wasn’t for bicycles, there would be no cars.” George Dragone, principal, Dragone Classic motor car auctions, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Connecticut Post Online, September 1st, 2007.

“If you could go back in time and quiz a pioneer motorist you’d discover, more times than not, he was a cyclist before he donned the automobilist’s fur-lined, floor-length motoring coat.”:  I’ve used “he” because early motoring was very male-dominated. There were exceptions. In 1888, Bertha Benz made the first ever long-distance motor car journey. Actress Minnie Palmer took delivery of a French-made Rougemont automobile in September 1897. Louise Bazalgette took part in the Automobile Club’s 1000 mile trial in 1900. There were also motoring writers such as Dorothy Levitt, Hilda Ward, Mrs Sherman Hitchcock, Mrs Edward Kennard, and Eliza Aria, author of Woman and the Motor-car: being the autobiography of an automobilist of 1906. Pioneer cycling – on high-wheelers – had also been male-dominated. The Safety bicycle made cycling more acceptable for women.

“Bicycles, in the form we know them today, had only the merest head start over motor cars.”:  Historians dispute who made the first bicycle. It certainly wasn’t Leonardo Da Vinci of Italy and it likely wasn’t Kirkpatrick Macmillan of Scotland. It was probably either France’s Michaux or Lallement, in the late 1860s. The French ‘boneshaker’ was taken up with gusto in England, evolving into the high wheeler bicycle in the early 1870s. Known as the ‘grand old ordinary’, GOO, by the 1890s – or, disparagingly, the penny farthing – this swift, masculine machine held sway for about 15 years before evolving into the bicycle as we know it today, which is largely based on the diamond-framed Safety of the mid-1880s.

“John Kemp Starley’s Rover Safety bicycle was unveiled in a marquee next to London’s Blackfriars Bridge …”: The Stanley Cycle Show, January 28th, 1885.

“Later the same year, in Germany, Carl Benz used cycle technology …”: The Benz Motorwagen was granted a patent – DRP-37435: “vehicle with gas engine operation” – in January 1886 but it’s thought it was made by Benz in late 1885. The patent claim refers to a self-propelled vehicle for the conveyance of “one to four persons” with a “small gasoline engine of whatever type” which obtains its gasoline “from an apparatus carried on board in which gasoline, derived from ligroin or other volatile substances, is produced.”

 “Directly and indirectly the bicycle had a decided influence on the introduction and ready acceptance of the automobile.”:  Wheels and Wheeling, Smith Hempstone Oliver and Donald H. Berkebile, Smithsonian Institution Press, first published in 1953 and reissued in 1974.

“Bicyclists … were the very first to become … votaries [for motoring].”:  Scientific American, May 13th, 1899.

“The year 1899 was the real beginning of this great industry …”: Dunn was reminiscing in 1932. He was vice president of Pittsburgh motor car retailer, Painter-Dunn. The Pittsburgh Press, June 12th, 1932.

“Asa Briggs … wrote of bicycles that those who “bought them … came from different sections of society …”:  A social history of England, Asa Briggs, Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1983.

“Motorists [after 1896 were] richer and more influential than the cycling lobby …”: City Of Cities: The Birth Of Modern London, Stephen Inwood, Macmillan, 2005.

“The organiser of British motoring’s keystone event – the Emancipation Run of 1896 – was Harry Lawson …”: A re-enactment of the Emancipation Run was immortalised in the much-cherished 1953 British comic movie Genevieve.

“Another founder of this Club was Ernest Richard Shipton, secretary of the Cyclists’ Touring Club …”:  The Automotor and Horseless Carriage Pocket Book of Automotive Formulae and Commercial Intelligence, F. King & Co. Ltd., London, 1899.

“The Self-Propelled Traffic Association … was founded in London in 1895 by Sir David Lionel Salomons …”: “Coming of age of the CTC”, The Hub: an illustrated weekly for all cyclists,  June 10th, 1899. Photo shows “some CTC officials” including, in an honoured central position , Sir D Salomons, captioned as “Life membership Trustee”.

“Salomons was one of the staunchest promoters of motoring in Britain …”: Writing of his key contribution to motoring, Vanity Fair said Salomons helped create “an industry which appealed so strongly to human laziness.”⁠ Vanity Fair, June 17th, 1908. Salomons had worked on a battery-powered tricycle in 1874. Cyclists – Charles Riley Garrard, Albert Pope, and J.K. Starley – were also responsible for other early electric cars.

” … De Knyff had been a racing cycling manager in the 1890s …”: De Knyff’s brother was also a racing driver but had been a racing cyclist first.

“Salomon’s Self-Propelled Traffic Association later merged with Britain’s Automobile Club, a prestigious gentleman’s club to begin with …”: Women, debarred from entry to the Automobile Club, were shunted off to the Ladies’ Automobile Club of 1904. It had 300 members.

“In 1897, at the same time as Rolls was racing for Cambridge University, the wealthy Lionel Martin was racing for Oxford University.”: Martin also raced against William Morris, the later motor magnate.

“Plowden claimed that early motor cars were “owned by people of considerably higher social status”: Politics and the Motor Car, 1896-1970, William Plowden, 1971.

“The prolific motor historian Timothy Nicholson … wrote that “cyclists were not men of substance …”: Nicholson wrote an academic three volume work about early motoring. The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97, volume 3, T.R. Nicholson T.R., Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

“Many historians appear to rely not on facts but on prejudice that took off from the 1920s.”: Rather amazingly, the socialist economists Sidney and Beatrice Webb – who had themselves been cyclists in the 1890s when many in the smart set rode bicycles and it was highly fashionable – bought into the prejudice once they, and those like them, were motorists. In 1913, they wrote: “[The] bicycle was a comparatively cheap vehicle; its users were mostly the young people, and, to a great extent, the poorer sections of the community.” English Local Government: The Story of the King’s Highway, Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb, Longmans, Green and co., London, 1913. At the time of writing their roads book they were going on motoring holidays with their fellow Fabian George Bernard Shaw. GBS – as the Webbs called him in their diaries – was a keen but accident-prone cyclist in the 1890s, went on to become a keen motorcyclist (along with his friend T. E. Lawrence) and, of course, became a keen motorist.

“At her American home, a grand house in Lenox, Massachusetts, [Wharton] kept a Pope-Hartford touring car …”: Wharton helped design the house. She was a famous gardener, too. The Pope Manufacturing Company was founded by Colonel Albert Pope in 1877, and built the Columbia bicycle. Pope was one of America’s most prosperous industrialists, later turning to making automobiles. In his 2000 biography of Pope, Stephen B. Goddard wrote: “Historians list him in the first rank of contributors to modern industry based on his refinement of mass production and the use of interchangeable parts. Indeed, he was the first manufacturer to mass-produce automobiles.”

“[Wharton] started cycling in summer 1883 in the exclusive resort town of Bar Harbor in Maine, then famous for the opportunities it provided for unchaperoned outdoor activities for women from the leisured elite.”:  Young ladies and gentlemen of the Victorian era were not supposed to meet socially without chaperones. Cycling freed high society young folk from much of this oversight and the activity was damned by some. The freedom gained was later expanded by those courting in motor cars and there were similar fears about exactly what young people would be getting up to, as alluded to – “You can go as far as you like with me,” indeed! – in this US comic song from 1905, by Gus Edwards and Vincent P. Bryan:

In My Merry Oldsmobile

Young Johnny Steele has an Oldsmobile

He loves his dear little girl

She is the queen of his gas machine
She has his heart in a whirl

Now when they go for a spin, you know,
She tries to learn the auto, so
He lets her steer, while he gets her ear
And whispers soft and low…

They love to “spark” in the dark old park
As they go flying along
She says she knows why the motor goes
The “sparker” is awfully strong

Each day they “spoon” to the engine’s tune
Their honeymoon will happen soon
He’ll win Lucille with his Oldsmobile
And then he’ll fondly croon…

Come away with me, Lucille
In my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we’ll fly
Automobubbling, you and I

To the church we’ll swiftly steal
Then our wedding bells will peal
You can go as far as you like with me
In my merry Oldsmobile.

“In a letter to an architect friend, Wharton said she chose this particular town house “on account of the bicycling” in nearby Central Park.”: No Gifts From Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton, Shari Benstock, Scribner’s, New York, 1994.

“In the 1930s, Wharton made a great deal of her love for motoring …”: Back-seat motoring, that is; Wharton employed a succession of chauffeurs.

“No more ardent motorist ever occupied the White House than President Wilson …”: Northwestern Motorist, September, 1916.

“This had been the campaigning platform of American cycling organisations since the late 1880s.”: Wilson had been elected US president in 1913 and, at the time, it was well known that he was a cyclist. Newspaper reports wondered aloud whether he would be a bicycling president:⁠ “Washington is wondering whether it will soon behold a president of the United States rolling leisurely by on his bicycle. It has just come out that the president-elect is fond of that manner of locomotion. He has gone on his vacation, and proposes to spend a part of it riding on his wheel. He has pedaled over many miles of English and continental roads in this fashion and likes it … If the new president takes to bicycling, however, official Washington will do likewise. If Gov. Wilson goes out much awheel, it will not be long before embassadors [sic] and ministers and secretaries and military attaches will also be pedaling along the sleekly-oiled roads and dodging automobiles. Cabinet officials and congressmen will do likewise.⁠” Sausalito News, January 18th, 1913.

“Many motoring pioneers came to regard cycling as little more than a pre-motoring stepping stone and were only too glad to swap legwork for condensed horse-power.”: The poem below seems to show that the late Victorian middle-class bicycle boom was well and truly over by 1897. In fact, cycling continued to be a popular form of leisure and transport for some of the moneyed classes through to about 1910. Nevertheless, the poem demonstrates how, for some, the bicycle was quickly becoming slow and old-fashioned, and that motor cars would soon supplant them. Pedestrians, previously tormented by cyclists, were now to be tormented by early motorists.

My bicycle, my bicycle,

That standest idly by,

With silvered spokes, and plated hubs,

And gear extremely high.

No more shall I a-scorching bend

Above thy handle-bar.

Farewell, farewell, my bicycle,

I’ve got a motor-car.


My bicycle, my bicycle.

By light of sun or lamp

We’ve covered many thousand miles.

We’ve sped through dry and damp;

But never more at dawn or eve

Shall I thy tyres inflate;

The times are changed, my bicycle,

Thou art not up-to-date.


They tempted me, my bicycle.

My swift and silent steed,

With tales about a new machine

That goes at lightning speed;

And still serenely shall I go

Careering through the land,

Though thou art sold, my bicycle,

A bargain, second-hand.


My bicycle, my bicycle,

‘Twill be no longer mine

To chase the flying pedals round,

No more I’ll curve my spine;

But sitting idly at my ease,

I’ll travel with the best,

For I shall turn a handle, and

The car will do the rest.


My bicycle, my bicycle,

It makes me smile with glee

To think how often we have made

The slow pedestrian flee.

With sudden swoop we’ve come full speed

Upon him from afar;

I’ll do the same, my bicycle,

Aboard my motor-car.


Farewell, farewell, my bicycle;

Where flies the wayside dust

I’ll haply chance to pass thee by

(Unless my boilers bust);

For wheresoever on the road

I journey, near or far,

It’s my intent to make things hum

With my new motor-car.

Hardware Trade Journal, June, 1897

“Sir Alfred Bird MP, a food magnate and one of the founding members of the Automobile Club, “loved the sport of cycling …”: Bird – a member of the Speedwell Bicycle Club of Birmingham – was a long-distance specialist. He once road 222 miles in 24 hours. He died in 1922 after being knocked over by a motorist in Piccadilly, London, when he was walking across the road. His father, a chemist, founded the company. Bird built food manufacturing factories in Birmingham – one is still standing, the Custard Factory in Digbeth, which is an arts venue.

“Other motoring pioneers who kept on pedalling included Aston Martin founder Lionel Martin …”: Aston Martin’s other co-founder was also a cyclist. Robert Bamford was a member of the Bath Road Club, one of London’s top cycling clubs. Martin was a member, too, and it’s how the two met. Sir Alfred Bird was also killed by a motorist, although unlike Martin he wasn’t cycling at the time.

“Today, [Henry Sturmey is] better known as the designer of the Sturmey–Archer cycle gearing.”: The Sturmey Archer gear system patented by Raleigh wasn’t Sturmey’s; he did design epicyclic hub bicycle gears, though. See Chapter 2.

“According to Edge, Napier did this for pleasure: “he did not do it for the sake of mere eccentricity …”:  My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“Frank Shorland, a champion racing cyclist of the 1890s who became an executive at Raleigh before becoming a motor mogul …”: Cycling, May 1st, 1925. Despite spending the majority of his career in the motoring business Frank Shorland’s newspaper obituaries seemed to mostly mention his cycling record. “Mr Frank William Shorland, who was well known over 30 years ago as a racing cyclist, died at Northwood Cottage Hospital on Monday at the age of 58. Shorland had many cycling records…etc.” Cheltenham Chronicle, October 19th, 1929.

“He came across Frank Shorland mounted on a bicycle. Time was … when Frank was a champion rider …”: Motor Trader, May 6th, 1925.

“Ford’s 1890s lightweight bicycle would have been an antique in 1940 when the 77-year-old carmaker … rode three miles every evening on an English sports bicycle claimed to weigh only a svelte 12lb.”: A 12lb bicycle would be technically possible but it’s likely Ford’s 1940 bicycle weighed more than this. “Henry Ford in celebration of his birthday took a ride for photographers on the light (12 Ib.) English bicycle on which he likes to take a three-mile spin every evening after supper.” Time Magazine, August 12, 1940.,9171,764357,00.html#ixzz2cjqMXozk

“In Lord Harmsworth’s Motors and Motor-driving of 1904 …”: Part of the highly-respected and aristocratic Badminton library of sports and pastimes.

” … Charles Lincoln Freeston wrote: “While it is probable that most automobilists will have previously become acquainted with a cycle-tyre …”:  Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Harmsworth, Sir Alfred C., Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904.

“Freeston certainly had: in 1900 he wrote a cycling guidebook to the Alps …”: Cycling in the Alps: with some notes on the chief passes, C. L. Freeston, Grant Richards, London, 1900. Freeston also later published magazine articles about the use of Alpine passes for military purposes, during the First World War, “War in the Alps: A complete review of Austria’s mountain strongholds”, Scribners magazine, September 1915. He also wrote motoring guidebooks to the Alps.

“We have always maintained that … cyclists make the most skilful drivers.”: Motor News, May 23rd, 1925.

“By 1929, Morris – a firm that sprang from a bicycle shop – accounted for half of all the cars made in Britain.”:  90 percent of the cars made in Britain 1910-1920s were sold in Britain. Low-powered British cars, their horsepower potential deliberately capped by taxation based on engine capacity, were not popular abroad.

“[Morris]  remained proud of his cycling roots …”: In 1938, Lord Nuffield was “delighted to see a penny farthing bicycle in the Engineering School at the University [of Sydney].” He was receiving an honorary degree. Perth Daily News, February 22nd, 1938.

“In showmanship, as well as in mechanics, the automobile trade owes a considerable part of its early momentum to the bicycle trade.”: The turning wheel; the story of General Motors through twenty-five years, 1908-1933, Arthur Pound, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., New York, 1934.


14. Without Bicycles Motoring Might Not Exist


“The invention which had the most immediate influence on the early history of the automobile was the bicycle.”: Cars and Culture: The Life Story of a Technology, Rudi Volti, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2006. Volti is the Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College, California.

“No preceding technological innovation – not even the internal combustion engine – was as important to the development of the automobile as the bicycle.” The Automobile Age, James J. Flink, The MIT Press, 1988.

“Elliott’s knuckle-bone concept was developed for a four-wheel cycle designed for his wife …”: An advert for the Sterling Quadricycle appeared in LAW’s Bicycling World in 1889 and showed a woman riding it, with a child seat on the front.

“As a historical aside, it could be argued that sewing machines influenced motor car technology, via bicycles.”: Before James Starley made cycles he made sewing machines, of his own design. Coventry Machinists Co. Ltd. started life as as the European Sewing Machine Co. Ltd. in about 1859. This became the Coventry Sewing Machine Co. Ltd of 1867 which became the sewing machine and cycle maker Coventry Machinists Co. Ltd., established in 1869. NOTE: The Singer of the sewing machine world was different to the Singer of the bicycle world.

“As well as a transfer of technology – including manufacturing methods – there was a transfer of personnel, capital and know-how.”:  There were similar transfers from the gun industry.

“Companies in the horse-drawn carriage industry, apart from a few notable exceptions, were not terribly innovative …”:  Carriage companies like Studebaker in America were quick to adapt to making parts for automobiles but most manufacturers of horse-drawn vehicles were slower than the bicycle makers to turn to making motor cars. In part this was because carriage manufacturers didn’t, at first, feel terribly threatened by the new-fangled “horseless carriages.” The early engines – steam and gas-explosion – were unreliable and there were few places in which to refuel (steam engines fared better here, water was plentiful). The market for horse carriages was stable and prosperous and the new horseless carriages were seen as little more than a fad by most traditional carriage manufacturers. Studebaker was one of the few carriage companies to have an innovative spark: it was an early adopter of electric resistance welding, for instance.

See From the American system to mass production, 1800-1932: the development of manufacturing technology in the United States, David A Hounshell, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1985. The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2004.

NB There are a few examples of carriage makers becoming bicycle makers. For instance, in 1896 Referee, a bicycle trade magazine, revealed that Charles S. Caffrey Company of Camden, New Jersey, a “well-known maker of carriages, pneumatic road wagons and sulkies” had started making a “high-grade wheel.”

“The metal construction of the bicycle brought it more closely in touch with the all metal automobile …”: The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America, Thomas A. Kinney, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2004.

“Automobiles may have been “dismissed by horse-drawn vehicle manufacturers as a passing fad …”:  The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America, Thomas A. Kinney, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2004.

“This threat came in the shape of Frank J. Sprague’s electric streetcar system …”: Frank Sprague was a protégé of Thomas Edison. The Richmond system was the first in America but there were earlier systems in Europe. Electric trolley systems influenced America’s first electric cars in the mid-1890s. Engineers who had worked on streetcar systems transferred to the nascent electric automobile industry. In 1895, Colonel Albert Pope said he believed electric automobiles would swarm over every American city, and bicycles would swarm over the countryside. Frank J. Sprague and the U.S. Electrical Industry, 1880-1900, Frederick Dalzell, MIT Press, 2009.

“Today, bicycles may be viewed by some as old-fashioned relics of a less technologically advanced era …”: Old-fashioned? Tell that to the carbon composites engineers in Utah who transfer from military aerospace companies to bicycle frame and wheel makers, and back again.

“In the ten years before 1900, a third of all new patent applications at the US Patent Office were cycle-related; in Britain …”: Cycling Life, January 21st, 1897.

“Due to the employment of stronger steel alloys, and improvements in steel tube manufacturing, the weight of an average Safety bicycle …”: “The Bicycle, A Technical Precursor to the Automobile,” Business and Economic History 5, 1976, Martha Moore Trescott, 1976. NB Today, the average mountain bike weighs in excess of 30 pounds.

“Yet these particular consumer durables weren’t designed to be as long-lasting …”:  “Manufacturers are as much given to changing the styles of their machines as tailors and milliners are to varying fashions in dress. Not satisfied with making a good thing, they must bring out something new, which but too often proves a serious mistake. Buyers are, as is the case in every branch of trade, like a flock of sheep, and buy whatever a chosen leader may select.” Canadian Wheelman, December, 1884.

“It was the bicycle industry and not, as is usually claimed, the automobile industry that popularised the (profitable) concept of planned obsolescence …”: The cycle industry didn’t invent annual model changes. Farm implement manufacturer McCormick of America is credited with that innovation but the cycle industry introduced model changes for no other reason than that last year’s model was “out of date”, even if in perfectly fine fettle. See From the American system to mass production, 1800-1932: the development of manufacturing technology in the United States, David A Hounshell, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1985.

“My associates were not convinced that it was possible to restrict our cars to a single model.”:  My Life and Work, Henry Ford (with Samuel Crowther), Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1922.

“The Pope Manufacturing Company organised the production of bicycles – and, later, electric cars – by assigning individuals to single, repetitive tasks.”:  The moving assembly line was started in American meat processing factories.

“From there I went to several great flats where lathes, drills etc were to be numbered by the hundred …”: The Scottish Cyclist, October 11th, 1893.

“During a lecture he gave in 1892, Colonel Pope remarked “everyone should sympathize with the workingman …”: The Boston Globe, March 28th, 1892.

“He has been in my employ for seventeen years, yet he has never even asked for a holiday.”:  The New York Recorder, February 6th, 1895.

“While the US automobile industry later dominated advertising expenditure in the American press, the first industry to dominate had been the cycle industry.”: In 1897, bicycle advertising accounted for ten percent of all magazine advertising spending.⁠ The history and development of advertising, Frank Presbrey, Doubleday, New York, 1929. “In physical development of the the advertisement the bicycle manufacturer took the lead … Bicycle manufacturers worked an improvement in the art of advertising which by itself not only made their publicity more resultful but gave other manufacturers a new view of the dignity of advertising quite different from the impression created by the long era of patent-medicine leadership.”

“Leonetto Cappiello, the Italian-born Paris-based illustrator considered the father of modern advertising, also produced iconic posters for cycle manufacturers …”:  Bicycle brands such as Peugeot, Liberator, Cycles Sirius, Alcyon and Omega used posters by artists Jean de Paleologue, Jules Chéret, Henri Gray and Adolphe Mouron Cassandre. In America, Colonel Pope’s Columbia Bicycle was one of the first companies to spot the talent of, and employ, poster artist Maxfield Parrish.

“A number of historians of advertising claim that cycling’s mass-market promotions stimulated advertising in other sectors.”: The Story of Advertising, James P. Wood, The Ronald Press Company, New York, 1958. The Promise and the Product: 200 Years of American Advertising Posters, Victor Margolin, Ira Brichta and Vivian Brichta, Macmillan, 1979. 100 Years of Bicycle Posters, Jack Rennert, Harper & Row, New York, 1973. The Poster: A Worldwide Survey and History, Alain Weill, G.K. Hall & Co, Boston, 1985.

“David Hounsell … credits the cycle industry with the development of “slick mass-marketing practices”:  From the American System to Mass Production 1800-1932, David A. Hounsell, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1985.

“Sterling Elliott, he of the knuckle-bone steering, created a punchcard machine that automated the address labelling system …”: Sterling Elliott’s direct marketing company was later absorbed into the handheld labeling company, Dymo.

“According to historian Ross Petty, the cycle industry was responsible for creating a great deal of modern advertising and marketing.”: Including the marketing of motorsport – today this is global marketing powerhouse and teams are able to gain huge sponsorship deals. Such sponsorship originated in cycling, before motorsport used the same techniques.⁠ Cycling companies were quick to discover that speed sells. In the 1890s, an American sprinter was paid to go fast: A.A. “Zimmy” Zimmerman had an explosive kick that saw off his rivals for most of his short career.⁠ He won the first-ever official road world championships, and did so upon a Raleigh bicycle.

Zimmerman was one of the earliest professional sports stars. When he started riding for Raleigh, he wasn’t a professional, as technically this wasn’t allowed – he was a “maker’s amateur,” which amounted to the same thing.⁠ Raleigh owner Frank Bowden paid Zimmerman in diamonds, complained the National Cyclists’ Union, which was opposed to the payment of riders.⁠4 Cycling companies sponsored athletes, and created cycling races, because this undoubtedly sold bicycles.

Cycling was also a sports sponsorship trend-setter in the modern era. A British cycling team was sponsored by ITP, a football pool, in 1947. Cosmetics company Nivea started sponsoring the Ganna trade team in 1954; riders such as Fiorenzo Magni had been using Nivea face cream to soften the natural chamois liners in their woollen cycling shorts.⁠ French aperitif brand St. Raphaël sponsored a cycling team in 1962, the first of the booze-and-fags companies to enter sport. Imperial Tobacco’s Gold Leaf cigarette brand didn’t put its name on the side of a Lotus Formula 1 car until 1968, which is when motorsport finally caught up with cycling).⁠ Football didn’t catch up until Hitachi put its logo on Liverpool shirts in 1979 although minor league Kettering Town was the first British club to play with a sponsor’s name on its shirts, after signing a deal with Kettering Tyres in 1967.

Quest For Speed, Andrew Ritchie, self-published, USA, 2011. Zimmerman had a huge following in the US and Europe. By 1894 he was openly a professional for Raleigh, was paid a fortune and made even more money from prizes and appearance fees. He also became one of the first athletes to license his name: there were Zimmy cycling shoes, Zimmy toe-clips and Zimmy clothes.

“The bicycle advanced the practice of advertising by developing competitive advertising content, image advertising in posters …”: “Peddling the Bicycle and the Development of Mass Marketing,” Ross D. Petty, Cycle History: Proceedings of the 5th International Cycle History Conference, Cambridge, England, 1994. In 1929 Frank Presbey said: “the bicycle gave the magazine a measure of recognition as a medium which encouraged the use of large space there and more frequent insertion by advertisers in general.” The History and Development of Advertising, Frank S. Presbey, Doubleday & Co., New York, 1929. Petty said this was “the beginning of advertising-financed media seeking mass circulation in order to please its mass advertisers.” Colonel Pope was one of the very first advertisers to devise a research methodology for monitoring advertising effectiveness. In 1897, he said: “I remember we adopted the method of giving a different store number in each advertisement…For several years, we kept this account and it satisfied us finally that the best and highest priced mediums were the ones for us to stick to.” From Profitable Advertising, 1897.

“ … the way to make automobiles … is to make them all alike … just like one pin is like another pin when it comes from the pin factory”: Ford made this comment to a stockholder in 1903. Creating Modern Capitalism: How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions,Thomas K. McCraw, Harvard University Press, 1998.

“These builders also borrowed from other industries, including meat-packing factories …”: “Fordism” is the technical term for standardisation and the improvements to the assembly line and other manufacturing methods. However, it has long been recognised – by tech academics – that the Ford Motor Company wasn’t the first to introduce such improvements. There were many stages in the development of such Ford-style techniques. One of the earliest examples of mass-production using all-metal machine tools in a factory was the manufacture of wooden sailing blocks for the Royal Navy, produced at the Portsmouth Block Mills at the Portsmouth Dockyard in Hampshire, England. This factory was built during the Napoleonic Wars to supply the Royal Navy with pulley blocks. The block making machinery was invented in 1802 by Marc Isambard Brunel. With these machines – and Ford-style factory methods – 10 men could produce as many blocks as 110 skilled craftsmen. The Portsmouth Block Mills: Bentham, Brunel and the start of the Royal Navy’s Industrial Revolution, Jonathan Coad, 2005.

“The visitor described the drafting room, the forge shop, the perch shop …”: Bicycling World, April 1st, 1881.

“Pope had identified the importance of interchangeable parts on a research trip to Coventry bicycle factories in 1878 …”: Cycling, January 5th, 1894.

“According to geographer Glen Norcliffe, Pope created a system that “involved advances in specialization and vertical integration …”: Popeism and Fordism: Examining the Roots of Mass Production, Glen Norcliffe, Regional Studies, Vol. 31.3, 1997.

“Henry Ford “visited and admired” Pope’s bicycle factories in Hartford before he started to manufacture cars, said Pope’s great-great grandson.”: “Colonel Pope and the Founding of the U.S. Bicycle Industry,” Albert A. Pope, Cycle History: Proceedings of the 5th International Cycle History Conference, Cambridge, England, 1994.

“Alfred P. Sloan, president and chairman of General Motors, which later absorbed the Cadillac brand, considered Leland …”:  Interchangeability of parts was important to many industries, including gun making. Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval, an 18th-century French artillerist, was an early proponent of the manufacturing method and it became known as the armoury system when taken up with zeal in America.

“The company made parts for Ford but couldn’t keep up with demand …”:  American Automobile Manufacturers: The First Forty Years, John B. Rae, Chilton, Philadelphia, 1959.

“Output jumped from 8,000 in 1907 to a quarter of a million in 1914, with almost everything made in-house …”:  This would later prove to be a major weakness. Other automobile companies remained flexible because they could alter suppliers at will: Ford was stuck with his Columbia-style vertical integration model.

“Knudsen went on to work for Chevrolet from 1937 to 1940 and was president of General Motors …”:  Time Magazine, January 18th, 1937.

“Volvo sprang, in 1915, from SKF …”:

“Modern ball bearings are largely the product of a cycle-based technological feeding frenzy …”: Ball bearings have a long history. Wooden bearings were in use in the ancient world; Leonardo da Vinci proposed the use of bearings in an enclosed race in 1497; ball bearings appear to have been used in medieval China; and, in the 1600s, there were round bearings shaped from marble; none of these influenced the 19th century manufacture of steel ball bearings.

” … most technology historians agree it was the cycle industry that forged modern ball bearings.”: Not that ball bearings are forged, of course. They’re cut and polished.

“The ball bearing industry is an outgrowth of the bicycle industry …”:  Anti-Friction Bearings, Hudson T. Morton, self-published by the Morton Bearing Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1954.

“In 1869, Parisian bicycle mechanic Jules Pierre Suriray …”: August 3rd, 1869.

” … Englishman James Moore by winning the world’s first bicycle road race …”: Paris-Rouen, November 7th, 1869.

“Moore rode the 80 miles between Paris and Rouen on a bicycle with an oversized front wheel …”:  Not riding a bicycle with ball bearings – but completing the course nonetheless – was “Miss America”, a French woman married to Rowley B. Turner, the English velocipedist who was one of the first to bring one of the French contraptions to England, thereby kick-starting the British bicycle industry.

“Joseph Henry Hughes of Birmingham gained a patent for improved ball bearings …”: Patent No. 3531, issued to Joseph Henry Hughes, September 17th, 1877. Bicycle News, June 1915.

“The perfection of the invention is shown by the fact that the bearing has never been modified since it was originally introduced …”: The Times, September 8th, 1896.

“Other patent holders would have disputed that, and many did, some going to court …”:  Bown v. Humber, Marriott and Cooper, Court of Appeal, 16th January, 1885. Bown won. William Bown was a Birmingham toolmaker who invented a method of lubricating bearings by using a felt that was re-soaked with oil inserted through a hole. Joseph Henry Hughes, also of Birmingham and also a tool-maker, took out a patent in 1877 for an adjustable “cup and cone” ball bearing race. Bown and Hughes teamed up and produced a ball bearing race – the Aeolus – that was used on most cycles of the late 1870s. The bearings were manufactured at the Aeolus Works in Birmingham. In the early 1900s, this factory produced motorbikes, too; some branded as Bown motorbikes.

“Races were won by riders using the latest and smoothest ball bearings.”:  “The Aeolus bearings are grand in their simplicity; so simple, in fact, as to account for their immense popularity, as everyone is able to comprehend their excellence…Every part is fitted to a hair’s breadth, and friction is reduced to a minimum. To chronicle a list of races won on these bearings would necessitate an extra issue of Wheel World.” Wheel World, July, 1880.

“Ball-bearing technology was once so cutting edge that cycle companies promoted the use of the latest ball bearings …”:  The C.H. Fargo Company of Chicago produced a brand of bicycling shoe called Ball Bearing. The Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue of 1897 said “Everybody has heard of ‘em” and claimed these shoes and boots were “made on scientific principles.” Bearings was the name of a weekly American cycling magazine produced 1895-1896 by Englishman Charles Arthur Cox. Bearings claimed it was “The Cycling Authority of America.”

“In Germany, bicycle mechanic Friedrich Fischer of Schweinfurt started a quest in 1875 to produce better ball bearings …”: Friedrich Fischer’s father, Phillip Moritz Fischer, is claimed, by his hometown, to have produced a boneshaker-style bicycle in 1853. The date is spurious; Michaux and Lallement of France did not produce their bicycles until the mid-1860s. Nevertheless, Fischer was an early bicycle innovator and he clearly passed down his bicycle genes to his son.

“By now, his expanded factory was producing five million balls each week.”:  100 Jahre industrielle Kugelfertigung, FAG Kugelfischer Georg Schäfer KG, Schweinfurt, Germany, 1983.

“Roller chains … were also used in the first motor cars …”: Most motor cars moved over to shaft drives rather than chain drives. The last chain drive automobile was the Honda S600 of the 1960s.

“The bush roller chain was developed in the 1870s in England by Swiss-born Hans Renold …”:  The company he founded still makes bush roller chains. In 1912, Hans Renold Ltd. made a chain for the Great Clock in the “Big Ben” tower at the Palace of Westminster, and, in 1998, Renold PLC made its modern replacement.⁠

“Virtually every form of modern transport, by road, sea, or air, employs or depends on chain.”:  Proceedings, Vol. 151, no 1, 1944, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London. Renold was an IME member from 1902.

” … Morgan chain, “composed of links made from round steel wire alternating with tubular steel rollers …”: Bicycles and Tricycles, Longmans, Archibald Sharp, 1896.

“By the mid-1880s, cycle companies were using a number of different chains …”: The first bicycle to use a chain was the Kangaroo by Hillman, Herbert and Cooper of 1884.

“Renold became rich from the rapidly expanding cycle business.”:  Renold Chains: A History of the Company and the Rise of the Precision Chain Industry 1879-1955, Basil H. Tripp, Taylor & Francis, 2005.

“The Wright Brothers stocked Diamond chains in their bicycle shop.”:  Wilbur and Orville Wright were agents for Diamond chains at their Dayton, Ohio bike shop. They used stock and adapted Diamond chains in the aeroplane that pioneered powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903.

Company historian Joan C. Mason said the Wright brothers’ engine had a chain-driven camshaft. “The chain used was a 1” pitch, B style block chain, 3/16” in width … The engine chain on the Kitty Hawk had 1/8” diameter pins instead of 11/64” diameter pins and had the trademark punched out instead of having solid linkplates. Four similar pieces of that same block chain were connected to the wing tip control wires, making a total of seven pieces of Diamond Chain on the aircraft.

“The propellers were on tubular shafts about 10 feet apart, both driven by chains running over sprockets…

“To drive the two propellers from the engine the Wright brothers planned to use two pieces of…new No. 155 industrial roller chain. They found the No. 155 chain…was slightly too big to run in the tubes. To overcome this [Lou] Wainwright [of the Diamond chain company] had the inside sideplates milled flat so that they were no wider than the pinplates. This was a 1” pitch chain with a 3/8” roller width and 9/16” roller diameter …

“Lou Wainwright’s efforts were remembered. In a letter dated May 24, 1919, Orville Wright wrote to L. M. Wainwright: “I have never forgotten the interest you took and the help you gave us when we were building our first flying machine.””

Diamond Chain Company: A History Worth Repeating, Joan C. Mason, Diamond Chain Company, 2013.

“The Diamond Chain Company still exists.”: “Diamond Chain Company is the leading supplier of high performance roller chains for global power transmission markets serving a diverse range of industries such as oil & gas, industrial automation, agriculture equipment, aerospace & defense, and construction equipment. Diamond chains are exclusively relied upon in mission critical drive systems, and the Diamond brand is synonymous with high performance, high quality, and the highest return-on-investment.”

“It was founded on Christmas Eve 1890 as the Indianapolis Chain and Stamping Co.”: In 1899 the American Bicycle Company, controlled by Colonel Albert A. Pope and popularly known as the “Bicycle Trust,” purchased Indianapolis Chain and Stamping Co. for the “Bicycle Trust” and renamed it the Diamond Chain Factory. It was run by bicyclist Lucius [Lou] Morton Wainwright for many years after Pope sold the company to a partnership controlled by Wainwright in 1904.⁠

“The company was co-founded by Arthur C. Newby, later known for his work with the National Motor & Vehicle Company of Indianapolis …”: The company founders were Arthur C. Newby, Edward C. Fletcher and Glenn G. Howe. Newby was treasurer.

“In 1898 he built the Newby Oval, a 20,000-seat velodrome stadium …”:  The track opened with a raucous Fourth of July race meeting, punctuated not with fireworks but with gunfire, reported the Indianapolis News: “Nearly every man, as well as a few of the women, who took to the oval in the afternoon took a revolver and about a hundred rounds of blank cartridges. As each heat or final was finished, the riders, as they approached the tape, were greeted with a discharge of ammunition which resembled a volley of musketry.⁠” Indianapolis News, July 5th, 1898.

” … Marshall “Major” Taylor, the world-beating African-American cyclist.”: Taylor had previously been barred from membership of Newby’s (all-white) Zig-Zag Cycling Club so had become a member of the retaliatory (mostly black) See-Saw Cycling Club.⁠ Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer, Andrew Ritchie, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1996.

“Mr. Newby belonged to the world famous Indianapolis group of pioneers …”:  Indianapolis News, September 12th, 1933.

“Differential gearing has an ancient history (Chinese, mainly) …”: Chinese vehicles used a form of differential gear in the middle ages. In the 19th century there were a number of European patents granted for forms of differential gears (such as the Pecqueur one of 1827). Fowler steam road locomotives used a form of differential gear. Starley didn’t know of any of these earlier uses.

“They were going uphill, and Starley senior adjured [his son, Bill] to “wire in.”:  Bartleet’s Bicycle Book, Bartleet, H.W, Burrow & Co., London, 1931.

“A 1937 infotainment film by Chevrolet explained the workings of differential gears …”: Around the corner: How differential steering works, Chevrolet Motor Division, General Motors Sales Corporation, 1937.

“…  the motor-car in its present form and in its present state of efficiency would be impossible if the pneumatic tyre had not been invented.”: The complete motorist, A. B. Filson Young, McClure, Phillips & co., Methuen & co. in New York/London, 1905. Motor News, in 1909, agreed: “…the pneumatic tyre revolutionised the cycle movement and made the motor car and motor cycle possible…”⁠ Motor News, November 23rd, 1909.

“In the early days of cycling, high-wheeler clubs would ride with at least one bugler, who would pass on instructions from the club captain aurally.”: Here’s a rather sweet set of bicycle bugle calls from 1879:

Reveille … to be sounded first thing in the morning when the club is on a tour.

Stable Call … to be sounded twenty minutes after the Reveille to call club together to oil up, and put machines in order for the day’s run; or may be sounded as an order to clean machines after the day’s run.

Mess … to be sounded to summon to any meal.

Assembly (No. 2, Cavalry Tactics, United States Army), to be sounded to order to call club together, to fall in preparatory to mounting.

Gallop (No. 43, Cavalry Tactics, United States Army), to increase the pace.

Ride at Ease (No. 15, Cavalry Tactics, United States Army), at sound of which each rider may choose his own companion.

Retreat (No. 4, Cavalry Tactics, United States Army) may be sounded if the captain so orders, to announce that the day’s run is completed.

Tattoo (No. 5, Cavalry Tactics, United States Army) may be sounded if the captain so orders, as a suggestion to the club that it would be advisable to go to bed, and get ready for the exertions of the morrow.

From The American Bicycler: A Manual for the Observer, the Learner, and the Expert, C.E.Pratt, Boston, 1879.

“The Solar Lamp had jewelled side panels …”:

” … Walter Chamberlain, youngest son of Joseph Chamberlain, MP for Birmingham West …”: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“The pin that forms the pivot of this hinge is known as the king-pin or steering knuckle …”. This system is also known as rack-and-pinion steering or Ackerman steering. This was originally developed by carriage builder Georg Lankensperger of Munich in about 1817, for which he was  granted a “privilege”, an early form of patent. He may have been influenced by polymath Dr. Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles Darwin) who, from 1758, used jointed rods to create a four-wheel steering-and-suspension system for use on his own horse-drawn carriages. “Erasmus Darwin’s Improved Design for Steering Carriages – And Cars”, Desmond King-Hele, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, January 2002. Darwin did not seek to protect his design. Lankensperger most certainly tried to protect his version of the concept and to do so partnered with Rudolph Ackermann, a German book and magazine publisher living in London. Ackermann was originally a saddler and coach builder (having produced a book on carriage design in the 1790s). Ackermans’s Repository – more accurately The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashion and Politics – was published monthly for 20 years (1809–129) and is still one of the leading reference sources for the Regency period.

Lankensperger’s steering design was patented by Ackerman. The concept failed to catch on (for a start it was far from perfect, with the defects noted in the patent) and neither man profited from it. Some of the difficulties were ironed out in the 1870s by French carriage builder Charles Jeantaud, one of the craftsmen working with Amédée Bollée on a road-going steam-powered vehicle of 1873. This system also failed to catch on, although was used by Edward Butler on his chain-driven, gasoline-powered reverse tricycle (one wheel at the back, unveiled at London’s Inventions Exhibition in 1885, and patented in 1887.

Some historical sources mistakenly state that Carl Benz was the “inventor of Ackerman steering”, including in a video produced for MercedesBenz. A voiceover states: “His invention of the Ackerman steering system made steering of 4-wheeled vehicles possible, a principle which is still in use today.” (The original Benz velocipede had three wheels and therefore had no need for four-wheel rack-and-pinion steering.)

Benz filed a patent application (DRP 73515 ) for his “vehicle steering device with steering circles to be tangentially positioned in relation to the wheels” on February 28, 1893. Sterling Elliott’s knucklebone steering was developed in the 1880s.

“The modern and airy Elliott Museum in Florida contains a selection of his inventions …”:

“For some years Elliott’s business had the contract to sort and send …”: The Inter Ocean, Chicago, March 10th, 1895.

Bicycling World and the L.A.W. Bulletin was one of the highest-circulation weekly magazines in America …”: In 1899, Elliott changed the League journal’s name to Elliott’s Magazine.

“The company later became part of Dymo Industries, which today produces labelling printers …”:

“Bicycle shaft-drive technology flopped.”: Black racing cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor won races on a shaft-drive bicycle but his endorsement of the technology – as a sponsored rider he had to ride what his sponsor wanted him to ride – didn’t lift sales.

“Shaft-drives are 86 percent efficient at transmitting power …”: The technology has changed little; chains are as efficient today as they were in the 1890s.

“if bevel-wheels could be accurately and cheaply cut by machinery …”: Bicycles and Tricycles, Longmans, Archibald Sharp, 1896.

” … the easiest solution to an oily chain was not to remove it but to hide it out of reach …”: This was taken to a high art by John Marston’s Sunbeam bicycle brand. The company’s chaincase also incorporated a “Little Oil Bath” which kept the enclosed chain well lubricated.

“Pope achieved such accuracy thanks to his investment in machining technology …”: Ford: The Times, the Man, the Company, A. Nevins A. and F. E. Charles Hill, Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1954.

“Hardening bevel gears for bevel gear chainless bicycles caused a great many anxious moments in shops …”: Steel; its selection, annealing, hardening and tempering, Edward Russell Markham, The Norman W. Henley publishing co., New York, 1913.

“One of the lead innovators in cycle shaft-drive technology was Henry Martyn Leland  …”:  Master of Precision: Henry M. Leland, Ottilie M. Leland, ‪‪Wayne State University Press 1966/1996.

“He stretched steel billets into long, thin-walled tubes that could be cut and welded into frames …”:  The process was time-consuming: it could take three weeks of stretching, baking and thinning, with up to 16 pulls over a die and mandrel. The result was a lightweight, card-thin tube, 1.125 inches in diameter.⁠ The manufacture of iron and steel tubes, Edward Charles Robert Marks, Manchester, The Technical Publishing Company, 1903.

“Thomas Stevens’ derring-do exploits gripped the Victorian world …”:

“Harold Hayden Eames … was a pioneer of modern management.”:  His principles were: “Standardise, deputise and supervise”.

“A new tube factory was built in 1896 on Hamilton Street, Hartford, and at the time this was “one of the most innovative industrial buildings in the country.”:  Peddling Bicycles to America: The Rise of an Industry, Bruce D. Epperson, McFarland, 2010.

(It’s still standing and still used as a factory.)”: View it on Google Maps:

“Many of the steel-testing procedures that were later vital in the automobile industry …”:  “Bicycle Frame Tests,” The Carriage Monthly, November, 1896.

“Throughout the 1890s, the American Iron and Steel Institute published tests for various bicycle parts. These tests would later be used in the automobile industry.” “Some Applications of Steel,” Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute, Vol. 48, 1895.

“The Pope Manufacturing Company’s experience in fashioning cycle frames out of lightweight steel tubes …”  American Automobile Manufacturers: The First Forty Years, John B. Rae, Chilton, Philadelphia, 1959.

“The steel frame upon which the body of the carriage rests is made of the Pope Tube Company’s well-known .50 carbon steel …”: The Horseless Age, April 1897.

“The book, said the motoring magazine, “will be found to be of great practical utility to all interested in the design or manufacture of motor-carriages.”:  The Automotor and Horseless Vehicle Journal, March 1897, review of Modern Cycles: their Construction and Repair, A. J. Wallis Tayler, A.J., Crosby Lockwood and Co., London 1897.

“William Worby Beaumont … wrote that car frames were “made cycle fashion – of round tubes brazed together.”:  Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Harmsworth, Sir Alfred C., Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904.

“As cars developed in power and speed, cycle-style lightweight steel tubing was replaced by heavier, cheaper u-channel frames …”: World History of the Automobile, Erik Eckermann, Society of Automotive Engineers, Pittsburgh 2001. While Pope’s improved tubing meant he no longer had to rely on tubes imported from England, there were also tubing advances in England. Reynolds’ famous “double-butted” lightweight bicycle tubes – thicker at the ends, thinner in the middle – were created in 1897 by A. M. Reynolds and J. T. Hewitt of Birmingham’s Reynolds Tube Company. This had started in 1841 as a maker of steel nails and was making bicycle tubing by 1889. (Reynolds’ famous 531 double-butted tubes were introduced in 1934.) During the First World War, Reynolds made tubing for military bicycles and motorbikes, and in 1916 started making tubing for use in aircraft. After the war, automobile companies used Reynolds tubing in cars.

“Charles Martin Hall of Pittsburgh, patent.”: US Patent 400,664, Process of reducing aluminium from its fluoride salts by electrolysis – C. M. Hall, applied 1886, granted 1889.

” … aluminium bicycles … will weigh but one third of what the present day, steel cycle does.”:  That is, if aluminium had the same strength per volume. It’s more like half the strength of steel. Bicycling World, May 3rd, 1889.

“The Reduction Company had a small space at the sixth annual Pittsburgh Exposition in 1894.”:  Catalogue, Annual exhibition, 1894, Western Pennsylvania Exposition Society, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, Digital Research Library.

Yet the Reduction Company’s bicycle was not the first to be made of aluminium.⁠ The Cyclist, March 19th, 1884. The Lu-Mi-Num brand of cycle is thought to have been the first, made by the St. Louis Refrigerator and Wooden Gutter Company from 1893 through to at least 1897. The Lu-Mi-Num had a sloping top-tube, aero-style forks and the alu frame was made in one piece, a radical innovation for the time.⁠ The rights to the manufacturing method and the brand name were acquired by M. M. Cycles of Paris and the Lu-Mi-Num Manufacturing Co. of London.

“The Lu-Mi-Num “frame is one complete and perfect piece of metal, without joints or parts of any kind,” said a writer from The Referee, a US bicycle trade magazine, who visited the St. Louis plant in 1896. His description of the manufacturing process sounds similar, in part, to the monocoque construction of today’s composite frames:

The moulding shop was first visited. Here was shown a mould for a complete frame. This is cut into halves before use … Steel cores are then placed in one half of the frame, securely fastened, and then the other half is placed into position … The frame is then cemented and ready for the oven. Into this it is put and not until the mould is at white heat is it withdrawn for the purpose of receiving the metal. The aluminum is prepared in a furnace … After the mould is taken from the oven it receives the aluminum, after which it goes through a cooling process; then the frame is withdrawn and the steel cores pulled out.

It’s likely the Lu-Mi-Num frame would have been much more flexible than a steel-framed bicycle of the time (there’s a reason Klein and Cannondale made their 1980s mountain bike from fat alu tubes) and the aluminium used was purer in the 1890s than in today’s alloy frames, making it more brittle.

A promotional medal for the Lu-Mi-Num minted in 1894 loftily claimed the bike had “Many advantages”:

No more steel to rust

No more tubing to bend

No more heavy machines

No more light ones breaking down

No more brazed joints to give out

At 25lbs, the Lu-Mi-Num was by no means the lightest bicycle of the mid-1890s, but Lu-Mi-Num was ahead of the time when it produced integrated components for its frames, including, in 1896, a one-piece women’s frame with an integrated chain-case. It also had an integrated bottom-bracket and an integrated headset.

In 1895, architect Philip G. Hubert of New York wrote: “… aluminum seems likely to achieve wonders for the bicycle in the near future … Some of the lightweight machines were wonderful [at the recent show] especially one weighing less than nine pounds, which was ridden at the show by a man weighing more than two hundred pounds. Five years ago the average weight of the road bicycle was from forty to fifty pounds. Now, anything weighing more than twenty-five pounds is looked upon with disfavor.⁠” Scribner’s Magazine, June, 1895.

“[Charlie Taylor] was a machinist who had worked for local firm which made farm equipment and bicycles, and who later started his own machine shop (which made bicycle parts) …”: Stoddard Manufacturing.

“Buckeye acquired their raw aluminum from the nearby Pittsburgh Reduction Company.”:

“Taylor produced bicycle parts for the brothers …”:  The Bishop’s Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright, Tom D. Crouch, 1989.

“… the first mainstream cycle company to use aluminium for frame tubing was Humber …”: Advert in The Times, February 9th, 1898.

” … one of the first English-language books about motoring.”: Motor Carriages: The Vehicles of the Future. Vagabond, The Cycling Editor of the Newcastle Daily Chronicle, Messrs. Walter Scott, London, November, 1896.

“Motoring writer C. L. Freeston wrote a chapter on Alpine motor touring …”: Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Sir Alfred C.Harmsworth, Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904.

“In 1900 Freeston had written a cycling guidebook to the Alps …”:  Cycling in the Alps: with some notes on the chief passes, C L. Freeston, Grant Richards, London, 1900.

“Richard Schell, publisher of Motor West, was the former Philadelphia correspondent of cycle trade journal The Referee …”: Official Bulletin and Scrap Book of the League of American Wheelmen, May, 1920.

“The speech, delivered to the Carriage Builders National Association, urged its members to cast …”: The Carriage Trade: Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America, Thomas A. Kinney, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2004.

“I know kind, well-bred, and considerate people who, as soon as they feel the steering wheel in their hands and the gas pedal under their foot, are seized by an automotive frenzy.”:  Ohne Chauffeur: Ein Handbuch fur Besitzer von Automobilen und Motorradfahrer, Adolf Schmal, “Filius”, 1913.

“William Isaac Iliffe, joining his father’s printing business in 1864, saw the merits of becoming a publisher. He published local newspapers …”: Local newspapers such as Coventry Times, the North Warwickshire Times and the Leamington and Warwick Times.

“Lawson expected his money to talk, and Sturmey didn’t disappoint …”: Blurring the line even further, Sturmey was also a director of one of Lawson’s companies.

“However, it was also an organ that did much to overturn the then crippling legislation preventing the take-up of motoring.”: Motoring journalist A. B. Filson Young, writing in 1905, said that The Autocar was pivotal in getting the law – and history – changed: “The paper, modest as its proportions were in those early days, was severely ridiculed; and, as the foremost question then was how to get the law altered, the Autocar devoted itself to arousing an interest in automobilism among the general public. The paper, which was made as interesting as possible, was sent to all members of Parliament, to the whole of the Peerage, to country houses, and to large manufacturers and professional men. By this very expensive but useful policy there is no doubt that public opinion was both interested and educated. When the Light Locomotives Bill was brought in by the Government, the Autocar, in order to do everything possible to assist its passage, organised a great petition praying for the necessary alteration of the law, and this petition was signed by over eight thousand persons.⁠” The complete motorist, A. B. Filson Young, McClure, Phillips & co., Methuen & co. in New York/London, 1905.

“And those who, like ourselves, were among the pioneers of cycling a quarter of a century back find an almost exact recurrence of events in connection with the new pastime.”: The Autocar, December 4th, 1897.

“It might have been more accurate if Beaverbrook had said “rode down Fleet Street” for Harmsworth …”:  CTC shared an office with The Sporting Life.

“Like other pioneer cyclists, entranced by the possibilities of self-propulsion (human at first, mechanical later), Harmsworth went on …”: From Motoring Illustrated’s Motoring Annual and Motorists Year Book, 1903: HARMSWORTH, ALFRED C., J.P. Besides being one of the most expert motorists in the country, the proprietor of the “Daily Mail” is, perhaps, the largest private owner of motor-cars in the world…Mr. Harmsworth holds that a motor, in the hands of a skilful and careful driver, is unrivalled as a means of locomotion, but in the hands of an unskilled person, is a danger to everyone. “The man who drives at a rapid pace in crowded traffic over a greasy surface, is to my mind, either a criminal or a lunatic, or an unhappy combination of both,” is Mr. Harmsworth’s opinion.

“In 1882, in an episode that a modern *Daily Mail* would have been all over like a rash, Harmsworth made a servant pregnant …”: Alfred Benjamin Smith, “product of his youthful indiscretion,” was raised by his grandmother. Northcliffe later apprenticed him to a carpenter. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“The Harmsworth brothers created the Daily Mail in 1896 and Alfred started the Daily Mirror in 1903.”:  The Mirror was originally a women’s newspaper and was launched with an offer of free gilt and enamel hand mirrors for all readers (it bombed, and had to be resurrected as a picture-led daily).

R. J. Mecredy – known to friends and family as Arjay – was a “pioneer among pressmen …”: Wheels of Fortune, Arthur Du Cros, Chapman and Hall, London, 1938. The R. J. stood for Richard James.

“The curator of the Royal Irish Automobile Club Archive described Mecredy as…”:  R. J. Mecredy: The Father Of Irish Motoring, Bob Montgomery, Dreoilin Publications, 2003.

” … Mecredy made a “handsome fortune” after the Dunlop company was sold to Terah Hooley …”: Cycle and Motor World, February 24th, 1897.

“The first game of bicycle polo was played in 1891 in Ireland between the Rathclaren Rovers …”: It was a sedate affair, reported Cycling magazine: “One would think that polo is a sport which would peculiarly gladden the heart of the bicycle repairer, but there was not even a bent pedal pin after the game on Saturday.”

“He persuaded a consortium of investors … to improve an important rural road.”: The road between Glengariff and Killarney.

“In April 1897, while not yet a motorist, Mecredy helped form the Irish Roads Improvement Association.”:  The Irish builder, Vol. XXXIX, No. 896, p. 81, April 15, 1897.

“An Irish newspaper said that this association …  “should meet with all practicable sympathy and support …”: The Freeman’s Journal opined that “an increase in taxation in the present circumstances is not lightly to be undertaken by any locality. But with a very slight addition to present expenditure … much could be done to make at least the main routes of the Irish counties what they should be.” The newspaper added that “the correspondence which has been appearing in Mr. R. J. Mecredy’s paper, the Irish Cyclist, from various County Surveyors throughout Ireland, suggests that an alteration of the law is desirable with the view of amending the system under which Irish roads are maintained at present.” The Irish Roads Improvement Association “should command widespread support, not only from the grand army of Irish cyclists, but from the many interested in tourist development.”⁠ The Freeman’s Journal, Dublin, April 27th, 1897.

“W. K. Kellogg, founder of the company, was a life member of the League of American Wheelmen.” W. K. Kellogg joined the League of American Wheelmen on May 28th, 1886. He became a life member in 1901.

The Motor was published in 1902 by Temple Press …”:  Another cyclist who contributed to Temple’s motoring magazines was Frank Patterson, cycling’s most celebrated artist. Today he’s known for his nostalgic line drawings of cycling in the 1920s and 1930s, with nary a motor vehicle in sight. He had started contributing to Dangerfield’s Cycling in 1893 and carried on until his death in 1952. He also produced motoring illustrations for The Motor.⁠

“Much to his father’s annoyance, Dangerfield Jnr. spent his wages on cycling.”:

“It was bright, it was readable, it bubbled with enthusiasm and nothing like it had been seen before …”: Bouverie Street to Bowling Green Lane, Arthur C. Armstrong, Hodder and Stoughton, 1946.

“Dangerfield remained a cyclist his whole life and saw no conflict with his interest in motoring.”:  He was a vice-president of the Bath Road Club until his death.

“[Dangerfield] opened a motor museum in Oxford Street, London in 1912, Britain’s first.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“Louis Baudry de Saunier … was the author of early motoring books…”: He was also the author of Histoire de la Vélocipéde of 1891. This contained a great many historical errors, many of which were repeated in the 1890s and into the 20th century. Some are still repeated today.

“Griffin wrote an annual that gave “full descriptions of all the principal makes of bicycles and improvements introduced this season.”:  Bicycles of the year, 1877.

” … many men in the early cycling days, who started to ride a bicycle as a sporting hobby …”: ““Who is H. O. Duncan?” Such a query would indeed be superfluous in the case of so universally recognised an authority on all phases of the bicycle and motor-car industries.” The World On Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“In 1900 The Automobile called Fernand Charron, the “First Chauffeur of France …”: The Automobile, July, 1900.

“Chevalier René de Knyff was a Belgian-born pioneer of motor racing.” Chevalier is French heraldic title. The English equivalent would be Sir René de Knyff.

“He and Barney Oldfield raced a motorised tandem bicycle against the clock.” Cooper was instrumental in the formation of the American Racing Cyclists’ Union in 1898.⁠ The American Racing Cyclists’ Union was a rival to the League of American Wheelmen, which had strict gentlemens’ rules on what constituted amateur and professional categories. Friend John Colquhoun told the Detroit Free Press about Cooper’s breakthrough race when he beat champion racer Eddie “Cannon” Bald in Battle Creek on July 22nd, 1895:

Cooper was a low salaried drug clerk at the time, fair and ruddy faced. He had no racing wheel [i.e. bicycle] of his own – he couldn’t afford it. As they were lining up for the pistol, Cooper could scarcely keep his admiring eyes off the great Bald. Finally Bald took offense at the individual ovation and asked the “kid” what he means.

“I was just thinking,” Cooper replied, “how fortunate I would be if I could finish second to you, Mr. Bald.”

“Get t’ell out of my way,” was all the satisfaction Cooper got, “or you’ll not finish at all.”

That inspired Cooper, who bested Bald. Afterwards Cooper was approached with a sponsorship deal.

“How would you like to sign for the rest of the season at $50 a week?”

“For $50 a week!” cried Cooper. “Come sign me for life.”

“By 1915 there was enough money to start paving short sections of the road, originally called the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway.”: Much of the supposed “new” road, as it’s still billed by the Lincoln Highway Association, was actually made up of existing stretches of road, including military roads and old Indian trails.

“I never was a champion … although I’ve taken the dust of the best of them, Eddie Bald, Earl Cooper, Fred Titus and Arthur Zimmerman.”  Mercedes and auto racing in the Belle Époque: 1895-1915, Robert Dick, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2005.

“I don’t see why the automobile can’t be made to do everything the bicycle has done.” The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Earl Swift, 2011.

” … he may have been a daredevil – the “Bart Simpson of the Belle Époque,” said a biographer in 2011 – but he was held by ropes and wore a padded suit, just in case …”: Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem and the Birth of the Indy 500, Charles Leerhsen, Simon & Schuster, 2011.

“He crashed often, as he had done on bicycles – his childhood nicknames alternated between “Crazy Carl” and, thanks to the injuries from running and cycling falls, “Crip”: Indianapolis News, February 7th, 1931.

“They were dying for two years,” remembered Fisher, with the auto racer’s penchant for uncaring aplomb.”: Blood and Smoke: A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem and the Birth of the Indy 500, Simon & Schuster, Charles Leerhsen, 2011.

“Fisher and Allison sold the Prest-O-Lite business to Union Carbide in 1911 …”: The Union Carbide infamous for the chemical leak at Bhopal in 1904.

“The “999” did what it was intended to do: It advertised the fact that I could build a fast motorcar.”:  My Life and Work, Henry Ford (with Samuel Crowther), Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1922

“In 1902 he started to manage the De Dion-Bouton motor agency in Britain and in the 1920s …”: Many automobile manufacturers started out as bicycle manufacturers: De Dion-Bouton did the opposite. The pioneer French engine and early automobile company started producing high-end bicycles from about 1909. The bicycles were sold alongside the company’s motor cars, and light motorbikes.

“Motoring pioneer Herbert Duncan called Stocks a “cycling lion.”: The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

” … Stocks said he took up motoring “after ten years of successful racing on the cycle path …”: Motoring Illustrated’s Motoring Annual and Motorists Year Book, 1903.

My old colleague of the road, J. W. Stocks, was once convicted of driving a motor tricycle at an excessive speed …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

” … where all the old and experimental types of vehicles could be preserved and kept on exhibition.”: The Horseless Age, March 1897, New York.

“The exhibition was moved to Crystal Palace in Sydenham, South London …”: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“The future 8th Earl De La Warr – a “great enthusiast of our pastime,” according to a high-society cycling journal …”: The Cycling World Illustrated, May 27th, 1896.

“Cantelupe had been parachuted into the position by speculator Terah Hooley.”:  Hooley had bought the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company for £3 million in 1896 and then floated it for £5 million, creaming off the profits to pay for his other speculative ventures, many of them bicycle related. Hooley also part-owned Bovril, the beef drink marque, and drinks manufacturer Schweppe’s. Hooley’s modus operandi was to dangle the possibility of huge, unearned profits in front of hard-up, wet-behind-the-ears aristocrats (or greedy, dumb ones) so they would front his speculations, giving them an air of respectability in order to impress naive investors. The soon-to-be Earl De La Warr persuaded the Duke of Somerset and the Earl of Albermarle to also sit on the Dunlop board, and the three later became known to the national press as the “guinea-pig Earls”, pocketing Hooley’s sweeteners, or as Hooley himself called them in his bankruptcy trial, bribes.

By the end of the 1890s, having a peer of the realm on a company prospectus had lost much of its lustre thanks to Hooley and the other bicycle speculator Harry Lawson, who went on to try the same tricks with motor car companies. But during the “bicycle bubble,” wheeling out a toff could be used, with devilish ease, to part fools from their money. When Hooley went bankrupt in 1898, De La Warr had to pay back the thousands of pounds Hooley had given him, damaging the Earl’s reputation and draining his strained finances.

“Other aristocrats taking up the invitation from Lady De La Warr included the Duke and Duchess of Teck.”:  Perhaps the Duke of Teck later modified his opinion about cyclists? In November 1896 the Home Secretary was sent a letter from the Duke of Teck, complaining about cycling “roughs” in Richmond Park: “We had a very curious experience yesterday … About 2,000 to 3,000 Bicycles through the Roads of the Park, not as if guided by sensible thoughtful People, but by Maniacs, Persons in a state of madness. They went about in a pace like Lightening, [sic], looking neither right nor left . … Many Groups, actually abreast, of from 10 to 20 or more, formed of Roughs and others apparently of members of Bicycle Clubs … ” Chilston papers u564 c107/11a

“In 1907, when the purpose-built Brooklands circuit was opened to great fanfare …”:  The Sussex Genealogist & Local Historian Vol.4 No.2.

“It was an early motor retail establishment but, because of the storage aspect, it was one of the first multi-storey car parks, probably the earliest in the world.”:  The Cooper’s building is “…a fine and virtually complete example of a purpose built multi-storey repository for horses, carriages, cycles and early motor cars of 1897. A rare survival and apparently unparalleled nationally, it is of particular interest as a building which anticipates the coming age of motor transport.” English Heritage letter from Samantha Amos to Tony Wyatt of Newcastle City Council, December 22nd, 2005.

“The first recorded parking garage in the United States was created, in 1897 [on Broaday], out of an old skating rink.” [This was a former bicycle academy, the ice rink came after the parking garage – “At Number 1684, the Metropolitan Roller Skating Rink has been in operation since 1906. The building which it occupies has been an armoury of one of the city batteries, a bicycle academy, and various other things during the past thirty years.” The Greatest Street in the World (The story of Broadway, old and New, from the Bowling Green to Albany), Stephen Jenkins, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1911. Next door to this building is the Ed Sullivan Show Theatre]. The earliest known multi-storey car park in American was built in 1918 for the Hotel La Salle in the West Loop area of downtown Chicago, Illinois. The Parking Garage: Design and Evolution of a Modern Urban Form, Shannon McDonald, Urban Land Institute.

McDonald: “On May 24, 1899, when W. T McCollough established the Back bay Cycle and Motor Company, in Boston – the first public garage on record – he advertised it as a ‘stable for renting, sale, storage, and repair of motor vehicles.’ Initially, bicycle repair shops were often used to store autos: many early automobiles were mechanized bicycles, and bicycle mechanics therefore had the expertise to maintain them. In Philadelphia in 1902, the Century Wheelmen bike club transformed a large portion of its wheel room – where bicycles were stored and repaired – into an automobile garage.” The world’s first private garage was probably the “motor stables” built by Sir David Salomons at his house in Tunbridge Wells in Kent in 1895. Salomons was a trustee and life-member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club.

“A sign on the plans spelled it out: “Coopers Horse Carriage Cycle & Auto Car Repository.”: James Cooper originally set up as a horse trader in 1878 at the Crown and Thistle Inn in Groat Market, Newcastle, with auctions every six weeks. Building plans were deposited on March 12th, 1897. The building was opened on October 16th, 1897. English Heritage listed building document, “Former Hertz Rent-a-Car Building, Westgate Road. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, December 15th, 2005. Cooper’s was the first Horse, Carriage, Cycle and Auto-car Repository but another had been planned and it’s possible he based his new building on the one planned. J Ramsay’s Horse, Carriage, Cycle, and Autocar Repository was planned to be opened on the Hammersmith road, according to the The Automotor and Horseless Vehicle Journal of 1896 but the plans didn’t come to fruition because “as only £350 was subscribed the company did not go to allotment.” Ramsay – with a colorful background of being a butcher, then a hosier and a gold miner in New Zealand and Australia – had sought capital of £60,000. The Automotor and Horseless Vehicle Journal, July 1898.

“… the toffs and toughs are long gone (as is the manure).”: Before Foster converted the building into smart offices the building had been used, appropriately enough, as a Hertz car rental office, with rental cars stored where the rental horses were once stabled.

“Every large town or city had at least one horse repository.”: Also called depository, mart or bazaar.

“There were livery stables similar to Cooper’s in Hull and Norwich …”: John Pollack’s livery stable, Red Lion Street, Norwich, circa 1902. Livery stable, Witham, Hull, circa 1900.

“Pre-1900 local newspaper adverts show that he advertised his bicycles for sale …”: “Cooper’s Horse Repository, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne: ad for Cooper’s Cycle Sale Mart: Sale by auction of Ladies’ and Gent’s bicycles [sic] will take place on Wednesday afternoon, July 20th, 1898, at 2 o’clock … Cycles received for this sale at any time. Storage free. Early entries respectfully solicited.”⁠ The Newcastle Daily Journal, July 18th, 1898. Two weeks later an ad in the same paper said “Great success of the cycle sales.”⁠ The Newcastle Daily Journal, August 2nd, 1898.

“In early 20th-century Britain, the Cyclists’ Touring Club had a formal relationship with Messrs Bartholomew, an Edinburgh-based map publisher …”: Take a hi-res digital ride around Edwardian England and Wales with the National Library of Scotland’s online collection of 1902-1906: Or have a play with the date-sensitive transparency slider on the Great Britain time-traveller, “a seamless mosaic of Bartholomew half-inch to the mile maps of Great Britain to be viewed and compared to modern maps, 1897 and 1907, forming a snapshot of Great Britain from just over a century ago. The maps are georeferenced so that they can easily be compared to each other and to modern maps and satellite images.”

“The crowd-sourcing enabled Bartholomew to update its maps every couple of years …”: The first of Bartholomew’s crowd-sourced maps was a “tourist and cyclist” map of the Lake District, published in 1903.

” … detail not on the stuffier Ordnance Survey maps.”: The dearth of tourist-specific information on Ordnance Survey maps of the period isn’t terribly surprising, ordnance means weaponry and Ordnance Survey was state-owned because it produced maps for military purposes, not to guide day-trippers.

“Major through routes … morphed into what Bartholomew listed as “motoring roads”, even though none had yet been built as such.”:  A handful of bypasses were built in the 1920s, some more in the 1930s but it wasn’t until the “motorway mania” of the 1960s before Britain really got roads that could be accurately called “motoring roads.”

“The example of the League of American Wheelmen in furnishing to its members systematic information …”:  The Automobile, December, 1899.

“There are many excellent guide and road books already in existence, but few of these have been issued since touring in motor-cars has become general.”: Preface from The Road Made Easy with Picture and Pen, Claude Johnson, 1907.

“(It’s highly likely Temple and the motoring-magazine writer – probably editor Angus Sinclair – spent time abroad together on a bicycle tour or two.)”: “Another of the old bicycle brigade is the alert Prince Wells, of Louisville, who was a successful bicycle agent and is now duplicating his bicycle success with the automobile. Prince is still a young man, this side of thirty, I believe, but he owns a beautiful home, and the store, which he also owns and in which he does business, is the largest of its kind in Kentucky,” wrote Sinclair: “As a fourth example of how the prominent automobile man is quickest made from the man who sold bicycles successfully, let me point to Harry Hearsey, one of the officers of the National Vehicle Company, of Indianapolis, president of the Hearsey Vehicle Company, which has large warerooms on the Circle, of that city. Mr. Hearsey commenced in the repair shop of the first bicycle agent in Boston, then went West to grow up with the country, and he has grown so fast that he is now one of the solid business men of Indianapolis, and yet he is only a young man. Mr. Hearsey was one of the most successful bicycle jobbers in the West …⁠” The Automobile Magazine, September, 1902.

“Why did so many motoring concerns choose to locate on or near Holborn Viaduct? It was because of the road’s earlier status as a “bicycle street.”: Other cities around the world had similar. In New York City, Warren Street was known as “Cycle Row”. The bike shop streets in other American cities included Columbus Avenue in Boston, Arch Street in Philadelphia, and Wabash Street in Chicago.

” … novelist and historian Sir Walter Besant said: “Holborn Viaduct is a favourite locality for bicycle shops.”:  Holborn and Bloomsbury, The Fascination of London, Sir Walter Besant & Geraldine Edith Mitton, Adam & Charles Black, 1903. Besant wrote the book – one of many on the history of London – sometime before his death in 1901.

“The first cycle retailer on Holborn Viaduct was Thomas Smith & Sons …”:  Founded 1848.

“An 1880 advert for the company stated that it made the “celebrated Viaduct Bicycles”: Icycles, the Christmas Annual of Wheel World, December, 1880.

“Nahum Salamon’s Bicycle and Tricycle Supply Association opened in May 1881 …”: Salamon’s cycles were made by Singer.

“Other bicycle manufacturers and retailers soon followed.”: Not all of the bicycle concerns below were situated on Holborn Viaduct at the same time. Some, such as Centaur and Royal Enfield, were still there in the 1920s.

No. 1 – Marriott and Cooper (started at No. 65 then moved to No. 9 before nabbing the prestigious No. 1)

No. 3 – London Cycle Mart

No. 5 – Hutchins Hamilton & Co., cycle engineers

No. 9 – Marriott and Cooper

No. 14 – Hillman, Herbert & Cooper, and later the Sparkbrook Manufacturing Company (a Hillman company)

No. 15–16 – Coventry Machinists Co.

No. 17 – Singer

No. 18 – London Cycle Mart, from 1899

No. 21 – Centaur of Coventry

No. 22 – West London Cycle Stores, a branch store, with its main shop on Oxford Street

No. 22 – James Vallentine and Co., maker of Spartan cycles

No. 27 – Bicycle and Tricycle Supply Association

No. 32 – Humber of Coventry

No. 38 – Sunbeam of Wolverhampton, from 1889

No. 41 – Raleigh⁠ Raleigh had a bike shop on Holborn Viaduct from 1897 to until just before the Second World War.

No. 48 – White Sewing Machine Co., makers of White Cycle and the Wincycle

No. 48 – Royal Enfield

No. 48 – Friswell’s Automobile Palace

No. 59 – Bamboo Cycle Co. of Wolverhampton⁠ – Patent No.8274, April 26th, 1894.

No. 61 – The Viaduct Bicycle Depot. Agent for Thomas Smith and Sons, Birmingham, makers of the “Viaduct” bicycle

No. 65 – Marriott and Cooper

No. 66 – Wilkins & Co., Cycle Fittings

“The motor-car shop was lined with French cycling posters.”:  The Autocar, February 18th, 1899.

“Charles Friswell had been “a racing cyclist of the early Paddington Track days”: Cycling, February 22nd, 1917.

” … the painted highway centre line, one of the world’s most important road safety features.”:  The Romans demarcated “lanes” with stones on some of the roads they built in Palestine. Archaeologists excavating along the Roman Via Egnatia – which crosses Albania, Macedonia and Greece – have found a central partition of large stones protecting wagons from other wagons, with similar barriers on the verges. There’s a similar idea at work at a road near Mexico City, created in c. 1600 and still in existence in 1949. Ways of the World, Maxwell Lay, Rutgers University Press, 1992.

“Hines died in 1938 but was honoured in 2011 with the first Paul Mijksenaar Design for Function Award.”:

“In 1899, Hines listed 20 reasons why cyclists in Michigan ought to join the L.A.W. …”

Drafted introduced and passed the Anderson Bicycle Baggage Bill compelling the railroads of Michigan to carry bicycles as personal baggage free of charge (1897)

Defeated the passage of a special tax of $1 a year on wheelmen in 1897

Issued a road book in 1897 and 1898

Secured a Supreme Court decision against the toll-road corporations, prohibiting them from charging wheelmen toll

Put an active and wide awake wheelman on the Park Board in Detroit

Secured the passage of an anti glass and tack law in Detroit

Secured the passage of a most liberal bicycle ordinance for Detroit – no lamps, no bells, 12 miles an hour speed limit, keep to the right for all vehicles, no riding hands off, no riding more than three abreast, and sidewalk riding permitted on unpaved streets

Prosecuted 23 “road hogs” in 1898 winning every case

Secured a more severe punishment for bicycle thieves

Secured an appropriation of $10,000 from the city of Detroit to build a bicycle pavilion for wheelmen on Belle Isle in 1898

Secured an additional appropriation of $2,500 to furnish up bicycle pavilion with pump repair outfit racks and other conveniences for wheelmen in 1899

Drafted and secured the passage through the state legislature in 1899, a bill to protect cycle paths and to provide for punishment of violations

Encompassed the defeat of a bill before the present legislature to prohibit wheelmen using sidewalks under all circumstances in all parts of the state

Secured a dry strip of five feet in width on all the principal sprinkled streets in Detroit

Arranged with the Board of Public Works in Detroit to remove glass or other hurtful substances, likely to damage bicycles or bicycle tires immediately upon notification

Secured the passage of some good roads amendments before the present session of the state legislature – not all we hope to secure in the way of a good roads bill, but an entering wedge

Have kept up a constant agitation for good roads is gradually bearing fruit

Have secured the repeal of a dozen local ordinances in various parts of the state which worked a hardship upon wheelmen

Has made cycle path building possible in Michigan

Maintains a sharp lookout on all legislative matters the rights and privileges of wheelmen and creates and stimulates wheeling enthusiasm

LAW Bulletin, May 11th, 1899. Via

“Hines was a member of the Wayne County Road Commission until 1938 …”:,1607,7-151-96201115441535-126420–,00.html

“It’s because the CTC was the first to erect such signs, back in the 1880s …”: The AA, the RAC and the CTC must seek permission from the highway authority to erect road signs, but they are exempt from any charges the authority might usually make for such permissions.⁠ “Section 65(3A) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 prohibits a local highway authority in England or Wales from making a charge for permission to erect a temporary traffic sign, if the sign is placed by a body that is prescribed for the purpose as being a body appearing to the Secretary of State to be representative of the interests of road users or any class of road users. These Regulations prescribe the Automobile Association, the Cyclists’ Touring Club and the Royal Automobile Club for this purpose.” The Temporary Traffic Signs (Prescribed Bodies) (England and Wales) Regulations 1998.

“The first signs read: “To Cyclists this hill is Dangerous.”:  In 1894, when the National Cyclists’ Union could no longer afford to help with signage costs the Cyclists’ Touring Club assumed full responsibility.

“By 1902, the roads of Britain were dotted with 2,331 “Danger” and 1,989 “Caution” boards.”:

“Whether M. Merckel saw the placard or not; he certainly approached the notorious descent of Handcross Hill with apparent indifference.”:  Automotor, November, 1896.

“On July 12th, 1906, an omnibus driver descending Handcross Hill lost control and ten people were killed …”: A MEMENTO OF THE HANDCROSS HILL MOTOR-BUS DISASTER, July 12th, 1906. By Edward Phillips

A band of friendly tradesmen, on a recent fateful day,

From little town of Orpington, likewise St Mary Cray,

Were on their way to Brighton, being all out on pleasure bent,

And just by way of novelty, by motor-’bus they went.


Their hearts were light as children’s, they were full of life and fun;

They revelled in their pleasure ‘neath the July morning sun;

They chaffed pedestrians on the way, while swiftly they shot by;

They’d planned a day’s enjoyment, and to have it they did try.

All petty rivalry in trade was banished for the day,


They joined as friends and neighbours, and intended to be gay;

Well pleased with everything around, the road they dashed along,

Not even thinking of mishap, or anything going wrong.

They talked of nature’s beauties, as they journeyed on and on.

And, just to crown their happiness, the sun more brightly shone;


But, oh, alas! How soon a change came o’er this jovial crowd,

And those who did not lose their lives, with grief were sadly bowed.

Everything went smoothly till they came to Handcross Hill,

The driver seemed a careful man, possessed of needed skill;


Yet, just as they had passed the brow, the car fast gained in speed,

And soon the pace it rushed along was terrible indeed.

The passengers were terrified, the ‘bus sped madly on,

The driver did his utmost, but, alas! Control had gone;


He tried to steer it down the hill—its pace he could not check;

But soon it dashed against a tree—became a total wreck.

And then those beings, who just before were full of fun and play,

A mass of human wreckage in the dusty roadway lay:


Some writhing in their agony, and praying release by death,

While others, more unfortunate, had ceased to draw their breath.

Oh! What a dreadful sight was here for human eyes to see–

Enough to move the stoutest heart, spectators all agree.

“REG: Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don’t they?”:

“The Competition for Horseless Carriages was created by Pierre Giffard …”:  At the time he was editor of Le Petit Journal.

“Salomons was a cyclist, and a trustee of the Cyclists’ Touring Club.”:  The Hub, June 10th, 1899.

“One of the all-French vehicles on show in Tunbridge Wells was a powered tricycle “exhibited by Monsieur Guedon for the Gladiator Cycle Co.”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“In 1895 the exhibition was staged in the Agricultural Hall, Islington …”: The Agricultural Hall is today’s Business Design Centre, still an expo hall.

” … a Roger fitted with solid-tyred cycle wheels and the Panhard-Levassor …”: The Engineer, November 29th, 1895.

“The pressure on the space available was so great, that the two sections hitherto devoted to photographic apparatus …”: The Engineer, November 27th, 1896.

“to the cycling enterprise in France must always remain the credit of assembling the first exhibition of autocars …”:  The Autocar, December 21st, 1895.

“To promote his show, Cordingley also founded, in 1899, the Motor-Car Journal …“:  It cost 1d. Autocar cost 3d and Automotor was 6d.

“In 1880, when he was just 18, Cordingley was editor of the Tricycling Journal …”: Who Was Who, 1897-1916, A & C Black Ltd, 1920.

“Later, Cordingley was one of the founder members of the Automobile Club …”: The Motoring Century: the Story of the Royal Automobile Club, Piers Brendon, Bloomsbury, 1997.

“London and the suburbs were literally plastered with posters, and glowing notices appeared in the press.”:  My Motoring Reminiscences, S.E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

” … Lawson either controlled their sales in Britain or owned their patents.”:  There were “road locomotives” from Daimler and De Dion Bouton.

“[Duncan] described himself as “One of the best known and most successful cycle and motor pioneers.”: The World On Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“Old men who had seen the advent of trains held aloft children who would witness the coming of spaceships …”:  The Motoring Century: the Story of the Royal Automobile Club, Piers Brendon, Bloomsbury, 1997.

“Contemporaries called it the “Magna Carta of motoring.”: The Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act 1878 relaxed the 1865 law that stipulated that road locomotives had to be preceded by a person waving a red flag abolished in most counties, but attendant still had to walk in front of vehicle. The 1896 act relaxed the restrictions even further.

“Thirty-three motor cars took part in the Run, on a damp, foggy November morning …”: “[Reigate] market-place was jammed with vehicles and cyclists. Never in its history, not excepting the memorable occasion when, in 1880, 40 cyclists essayed and 20 only succeeded in ascending Reigate Hill by the help of the stone tram line, has the retired coaching town been so busy.” The Automotor and Horseless Vehicle Journal, November 1896.

“Readers of The Autocar may take an old cyclist’s word for this …”:  The Autocar, November 21st, 1896. The mention of “thirty-five years” of cycling – i.e. being a cyclist back in the pioneering 1870s – pins this quote on Henry Sturmey.

“The Emancipation Run, now re-enacted each year by the Royal Automobile Club …”:  The Royal Automobile Club’s annual Veteran Car Run takes place on the first Sunday of every November.

“Whatever his motivations, Lawson’s Safety bicycle was ahead of its time …”: The name for his bike later became one of the French words for bicycle.

“One hears different opinions as to Mr. Lawson’s claim to be the credit for inventing the ‘Safety’ bicycle …”: “The New Diversion,” Vanderdecken, The Graphic, November 21st, 1896.

“The 60-mile Emancipation Run started outside London’s Metropole Hotel …”: The Metropole hotel opened in 1885, with an 88-page brochure which claimed that “the hotel’s location particularly recommends it to ladies and families visiting the West End during the Season; to travellers from Paris and the Continent, arriving from Dover and Folkestone at the Charing Cross Terminus; to Officers and others attending the levees at St James; to Ladies going to the Drawing Rooms, State Balls, and Concerts at Buckingham Palace; and to colonial and American visitors unused to the great world of London.”⁠ The Old War Office: a history, Ministry of Defence, 10 December 2012,

“I shall never forget the sight that met my gaze when I arrived on my bicycle, accompanied by R. J. Mecredy …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S. E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

“Car number 15 was a Daimler, driven by Charles T. Crowden …”: In 1884 Crowden took out a patent on a Safety bicycle along with Herbert J. Pausey, Birmingham Daily Post, March 20th, 1885.

“Jerome had a nephew, the racing cyclist Frank Shorland …”:  “Shorland, it may be noted, was the first man to beat the London to Brighton and back coach record single-handed, and this was in 1890.”⁠ The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“However, Shorland kept up his connections in the world of cycling  …”: Frank Shorland was multiple cycling record holder, on the road and the track. He broke the 12-hour record three times, and the 24-hour twice. Shorland’s most famous victory was winning the 24-hour Cuca Cocoa Cup race on the Herne Hill track in 1892. He rode for 423 miles.

Shorland was also in demand for his opinions. In 1895 he wrote an article for the first issue of The Windor Magazine, in which he praised cycling: “Cycling, as a pursuit, is probably the most pleasurable of modern pastimes, and every year is gaining in favour with all classes of the community … One great advantage of this pursuit is the infinite variety of pleasure obtainable on the wheel … The mere pleasure of riding is in itself a very great attraction … That pleasurable experience of movement is at its best in cycling, under favourable circumstances, when one’s craving for wandering about obtains the fullest and most delightful satisfaction imaginable in the easiest possible manner … There is no limit to the adaptability of the pursuit both to pleasure and to health, and indirectly to profit as a means of saving time.” “Cycling as a Pursuit,” The Windsor Magazine, F. W. Shorland, Ward, Lock & Bowden, January, 1895. – “I had a nephew who was once the amateur long-distance bicycle champion. I have him still, but he is stouter and has come down to a motor car. In sporting circles I was always introduced as “Shorland’s Uncle.” Close-cropped young men would gaze at me with rapture; and then inquire: “And do you do anything yourself, Mr. Jerome?” Idle Ideas, Jerome K. Jerome, Hurst and Blackett, 1905. The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926. Shorland’s Pickwick Bicycle Club sobriquet was “Slasher” . He was made president in 1925. Cycling, April 25th, 1925 Irish Cyclist, December 30th, 1925.

“Hewetson … said he had been the “first to ride a bicycle from London to Brighton.”: He wasn’t.

“Another “emancipator” was Frederic W. Baily … a captain of the Anerley Bicycle Club …”:

“Among the cyclists present were the Marquess of Queensberry …”: The New Beeston Cycle Co., a Lawson controlled company, was listed as a maker of cars from 1898. The Jelley brothers created a self-steering Safety bicycle. The Engineer, February 22nd, 1889. In 1918 and beyond they were still making bicycle saddles, including Jelley’s Patent Flexo Waterproof Saddle. The Wheelwoman and Society Cycling News, April 17th, 1897.

“He was the first president of the Detroit Wheelmen cycling club and was active also in the L.A.W.”: Metzger became a life member of the League of American Wheelmen in 1901.

“The breakdowns and the limp-homes “served simply to increase the scepticism …”: My Motoring Reminiscences, S. E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

” … Bartleet listed his hobbies as cycling and motoring …”: Motoring Annual and Motorist’s Year Book, 1904.

” … the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders created its own show …”: “The annual bicycle show at the Crystal Palace afforded motor promotors little opportunity for display this year. Owing to the extent of the cycle exhibits but a few secured spaces adjacent…” The Horseless Age, New York, December, 1896.

” … captain of the Anerley Bicycle Club between 1882 and 1890 …”:

“… knew every rideable inch of his native country years before the arrival of teuf-teuf …”:  Motoring Illustrated’s Motoring Annual and Motorists Year Book, 1903.

” … Agricultural Hall in Islington, venue for many cycle shows and expositions over the years.”: Including in modern times. The Royal Agricultural Hall opened in 1862 and is now part of the Business Design Centre in Islington. The Cycle Show was staged at the BDC from 2002.

“The vitality of the automobile industry is remarkable, and reminds one forcibly of the cycle boom …”:  The Engineer, May 2nd, 1902.

“It was founded in 1897 as the Auto-Vélo Club …”: Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Harmsworth, Sir Alfred C., Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904.

“It is interesting to note in the list of members the names of those who were formerly recognized … in the manufacture of bicycles …”: The Automobile Magazine, January, 1902.

“In the early days of the bicycle there was perhaps one factor more than any other which contributed to the great demand for wheels …”: The Automobile Magazine, December, 1900.

“The first organisation to suggest itself as the administrator of motor racing had been the National Cyclists’ Union.”:  “Considerable correspondence has recently appeared in automobile and cycle journals as to a proposal by the National Cyclists’ Union to control motor racing,” said The Automotor in 1899.

“The committee of the Automobile Club, after a conference with the representatives of the National Cyclists’ Union … arrived at the decision that as the mechanical element is undoubtedly the most important factor in the propulsion of motor-driven vehicles … it was resolved that the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland…constitutes itself as the recognised authority to regulate and control all automobile races…” The Autocar, May 20th, 1899.

“Brady King’s inaugural run on  March 7th, 1896 was followed by Henry Ford on his bicycle.”:  Olson, Sidney, Young Henry Ford: a picture history of the first forty years, Wayne State University Press, 1963.

“The A.M.L. was run by Isaac B. Potter …”: San Francisco Call, April 3rd, 1900.

“At a gala dinner, held in the Astor gallery in the Waldorf-Astoria hotel …”: The Automobile Magazine, May, 1900.

” … acrimonious election battle with Sterling Elliott …”: Sacramento Daily Union, March 14th, 1897.

“The campaign of the American Motor League to extend its membership through the country is being conducted upon much the same plan employed by the League of American Wheelmen …”:  The New York Times, June 28th 1903.

“Charles Ranlett Flint, the fabulously wealthy founder of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company …”

“Jefferson Seligman had been a L.A.W. consul in 1897 …”:  The New York Times, March 5th, 1902.

“Within just a few years, high-society members of the club had transferred their affections …”:  “To no metropolitan club is admission more eagerly sought. Its membership, limited to two hundred and fifty, has long been full, and there is already a lengthy waiting list. Entrance to its exclusive circle may be regarded as a social cachet of the most authoritative sort … The headquarters of the Michaux are at an uptown cycling academy, where it has elaborately appointed rooms … The Central Park Casino and the Claremont do not see a more goodly array of fair women and gallant men, year in and year out, than on the occasions of the Michaux [Spring] meet.⁠” Munsey’s Magazine, May, 1896. “The [Michaux] club has 200 members,” wrote a diary note in The New York Times, in March 1895, “among whom are Mrs. Wilbur A. Bloodgood, Mrs. McClusky Butt, Mrs. Fargo and Miss Townsend, who are noted for their excellent wheeling.”⁠ The New York Times, March 17th, 1895. A New York Times article of 1910 subtitled “Fashionable Women Demonstrate Technical Knowledge of the Automobile” reported that the Society day at the Automobile Show at Madison Square Garden “brought forth a large representation of the town’s fashionable set,” including Mrs. Wilbur A. Bloodgood and others who, fifteen years before, only had eyes for cycles.⁠ The New York Times, January 12th, 1910.

“Another high-society cyclist-turned-motorist was Colonel John Jacob Astor.”:  John Jacob Astor IV, not to confused with his opium-smuggling great-grandfather.

“[Astor] predicted that, by the year 2000, there would be high-speed magnetic railways …”: Astor’s inherited wealth also meant he had time on his hands; time in which to write a future-predicting novel about a Journey-to-the-Centre-of-the-Earth-style adventure of high-society chaps hunting mastodons on the lushly vegetated planets of Saturn and Jupiter and where, on Earth, “smart electric traps, or phaetons” are driven by chauffeurs (“A man in livery stood at the step of the phaeton. Ayrault got in and turned on the current, and his man climbed up behind.”)

A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future has its odd moments, such as riding on giant tortoises. And its Christian imperialism, mixed with a dash of spiritualism, is disturbing.

Astor’s story was set in the year 2000. The protagonists are soldiers, socialites and scientists working for the Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company, intent on adjusting the Earth’s axial tilt in order to equalise global temperatures. Astor’s spaceships are powered by “apergy”, a miraculous anti-gravitational energy force, as used by Jesus Christ to walk on water, postulated Astor, and a forerunner to H. G. Wells’ non-religious Cavorite from 1901’s The First Men in the Moon. According to an encyclopaedia of science fiction, Astor’s novel was the first to use the term “spaceship”.⁠ And no tubes of space food for our 21st century heroes: while in their wooden-panelled spaceship they feasted on “canned chicken soup, beef a la jardiniere, and pheasant.” When on Jupiter they grilled “thick but tender slices from the mastodon” but preferred “well-fed birds” which they would “roast, broil, or fricassee … to a turn.” Jupiter, it turns out, was a “sportsman’s paradise.”

I’ve included some of Astor’s predictions here because they’re (a) entertaining, and (b) illustrative of the transport-of-the-future dreams of a high society cyclist-cum-motorist.

Chapter four in his book has a scientist telling an audience about the advances in science that had been made from 1900 to 2000, with Astor extending the use of some existing technologies and imagining some of his own. The following headings are mine, the text beneath the headings is all his.



The several hundred square miles of land and water forming greater New York are perfectly united by numerous bridges, tunnels, and electric ferries, while the city’s great natural advantages have been enhanced and beautified by every ingenious device. No main avenue in the newer sections is less than two hundred feet wide, containing shade and fruit trees, a bridle-path, broad sidewalks, and open spaces for carriages and bicycles. Several fine diagonal streets and breathing-squares have also been provided in the older sections, and the existing parks have been supplemented by intermediate ones, all being connected by parkways to form continuous chains.



There is a gauge on every vehicle, which shows its exact speed in miles per hour … The policemen on duty also have instantaneous kodaks mounted on tripods, which show the position of any carriage at half- and quarter-second intervals, by which it is easy to ascertain the exact speed, should the officers be unable to judge it by the eye; so there is no danger of a vehicle’s speed exceeding that allowed in the section in which it happens to be; neither can a slow one remain on the fast lines.



Of course, to make such high speed for ordinary carriages possible, a perfect pavement became a sine qua non. We have secured this by the half-inch sheet of steel spread over a carefully laid surface of asphalt, with but little bevel; and though this might be slippery for horses’ feet, it never seriously affects our wheels … Our streets also need but little cleaning; neither is the surface continually indented, as the old cobble-stones and Belgian blocks were, by the pounding of the horses’ feet, so that the substitution of electricity for animal power has done much to solve the problem of attractive streets.

“Like Wells, Astor also painted a world where there would be a great many bicycle paths.”:

“John Jacob Astor used to be one of us …”:  Bassett’s Scrap Book, League of American Wheelmen, L.A.W. Publishing Company, Boston, May 1912.

“Astor joined the L.A.W. in 1896 …”:  The New York Times, July 12th, 1896; July 6th, 1900.

“It’s also clear that Astor was a cyclist long before 1896 for, in 1889, he patented a bicycle brake …”: Bad timing, Jack. Solid tyres would soon be thrown on the scrapheap of history thanks to the pneumatic tyre. Astor’s patent for a bicycle brake, no. 417,401, stated:

“Be it known that I, JOHN JACOB ASTOR, Jr, of the city, county, and State of New York, have invented a new and Improved Bicycle Brake … It is well known that the soft-rubber tire of a bicycle-wheel, which is circular in cross-section when first applied to the wheel, soon becomes worn in use, so as to present a flat zone to the bicycle-brake … To obviate this difficulty and to provide a brake which will adapt itself with equal advantage to either a new or a worn tire is the object of my invention.”

Four years later Astor submitted another patent application, no doubt inspired by his love of bicycling – a blower for pushing dust and detritus out of the way of road users, such as cyclists. The patent, no. 514,805, was granted in February 1894.

“My invention relates to an improvement in machines for cleaning streets or roads … leaving the road for a major portion of its width free from any loose material … as the machine is carried along the road, the bed of the road will be completely cleared of dust, or any light or loose foreign matter lying thereon, by means of the air blast emanating from the bellows. It is also evident that without injury to the road bed the light foreign matter or loose particles of dust lying thereon may be blown from the road bed in [the] direction of or into the shrubbery or over the fences along the line of the road, leaving the road bed intact, and that the operation of cleaning is accomplished both expeditiously and conveniently.”

Strangely, Astor didn’t relate how his shrubbery-defiling dust-blower would be powered. It had neither pedals nor an engine. It was probably never built. It’s not as though Astor needed his inventions to be commercially successful: his inherited wealth saw to that.

“Astor, an inventor, author and builder of deluxe hotels, and one of the wealthiest men in the world, was, by 1907 …”: The New York Times, April 14th, 1907.

” … Batchelder … had been the official L.A.W. handicapper …”:  Official Bulletin and Scrap Book of the League of American Wheelmen, May 1920. Buffalo Courier, January 23rd, 1898. According to The New York Times Batchelder was for “many years the Executive Secretary and virtual leader of the American Automobile Association.”⁠ The New York Times, July 17th, 1921. He was described by the editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Motor, as “America’s foremost highway enthusiast.”⁠ Automobile Club of Oregon, 1921.

“According to author Frank Parker Stockbridge …”:  Stockbridge was author of Yankee Ingenuity in the War, 1920. New York Times, December 29th, 1927.

“To Batch belongs the chief credit for the national appropriation of $75,000,000 for highways …”:  Bulletin and Scrapbook of LAW, July, 1921.

” … American Road and Transportation Builders Association website, the influential organisation was created in 1902 to “articulate the need …”:

” … but Earle would have none of this, writing in his autobiography …”:  The Autobiography of “By Gum” Earle, Horatio Sawyer Earle, The State Review Publishing Company, Lansing, Michigan, 1929.

“Earle’s formation of American Road Makers …”: American Road Makers became the American Road Builders Association in 1910, and since 1977, has been known as the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

“He was an organiser … “a hustler.”:  Detroit Free Press, November 29th, 1899.

“One of his opening gambits, when meeting new people, was to talk to them about the League of Genial Lights …”:  Earle was “Chief Genial Light.”

“He had business cards printed to give to people, who would become “life members” of his organisation.”:  The cards had a poem printed on the reverse – a “Walk right up and say Hullo!” poem written by New Hampshire’s “Poet of the People”, Sam Walter Foss.⁠


W’en you see a man in woe,

Walk right up and say “Hullo!”

Say “Hullo” and “How d’ye do?

How’s the world a-usin’ you?”

Slap the fellow on the back;

Bring your hand down with a whack;

Walk right up, and don’t go slow;

Grin an’ shake, an’ say “Hullo!”


Is he clothed in rags? Oh! sho;

Walk right up an’ say “Hullo!”

Rags is but a cotton roll

Jest for wrappin’ up a soul;

An’ a soul is worth a true

Hale and hearty “How d’ye do?”

Don’t wait for the crowd to go,

Walk right up and say “Hullo!”


When big vessels meet, they say

They saloot an’ sail away.

Jest the same are you an’ me

Lonesome ships upon a sea;

Each one sailin’ his own log,

For a port behind the fog;

Let your speakin’ trumpet blow;

Lift your horn an’ cry “Hullo!”


Say “Hullo!” an’ “How d’ye do?”

Other folks are good as you.

W’en you leave your house of clay

Wanderin’ in the far away,

W’en you travel through the strange

Country t’other side the range,

Then the souls you’ve cheered will know

Who ye be, an’ say “Hullo.”

“Twenty-five replied and the three who turned up at the Cadillac Hotel in New York City …”: The other three who turned up were the deputy state engineer of New York, Albany; president of the Connecticut Valley Highway Association; and the editor of Municipal Journal and Engineer of New York. The Autobiography of “By Gum” Earle, Horatio Sawyer Earle, The State Review Publishing Company, Lansing, Michigan, 1929.

“The motoring side to ANWB was started in 1900.”:

” … radical campaigning organisation, a thorn in the side of the Government …”: The Automobile Club added the “Royal” thanks to King Edward VII’s membership and who, in 1907, said that “the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland should henceforth be known as The Royal Automobile Club.”

“Anyone interested in automoblism is eligible for membership …”: The Motoring Century: the Story of the Royal Automobile Club, Piers Brendon, Bloomsbury, 1997.

“Many of the committee members of the Automobile Club had held similar positions with Britain’s first motoring organisation …”: The Self-propelled Traffic Association was founded by Sir David Salomons, trustee and life-member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club.

“The extraordinary stability of the bicycle at high speed depends largely on the gyroscopic action of the wheels …”: “Bicycles and Tricycles in Theory and in Practice.” Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 1884. In the same year, Boys also extolled the virtues of cycling in Scientific American: “The bicycle, which surpasses all other machines in simplicity, lightness, and speed, will probably, for these reasons, always remain a favorite with a large class. The fact that it requires only one track places it at a great advantage with respect to other machines, for it is common for a road which is unpleasant from mud or stones to have a hard, smooth edge, a kind of path, where the bicyclist can travel in peace, but which is of little advantage to other machines…The bicycle well ridden presents a picture of such perfect elegance that no one on anything else need expect to appear to advantage in comparison.⁠” Scientific American Supplement, No. 447, July 26th, 1884.

“He joined the CTC – along with his elder brother, Henry Bernard – in December 1880 …”: CTC membership records, National Cycle Archives, Warwick University.


Notes for iPad edition and post first edition books and Kindle books …

“The Automobile Club de Monaco was founded in August 1890 as the Sport Velocipédique de la Principauté.”:

“His Serene Highness H.S.H. Prince Albert 1st of Monaco became honorary president of the club …”:

“Fittingly, the first event was won by a former racing cyclist, Henri Rougher.”: “Rougier,a famous French cyclist and automobilist,” Scientific American 102, 342, 1910.

“As a young man he lived in Bath …”: MotorSport, March 2007

“This afternoon such a pleasant [horse and carriage] drive with the Queen.”: Life with Queen Victoria – Marie Mallet’s Letters from Court 1887-1901, Victor Mallet, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1968.


“Cycle journalist Pierre Giffard was also a founding member …”:  Automobile Biographies: An Account of the Lives and the Work of Those Who Have Been Identified with the Invention and Development of Self-Propelled Vehicles on the Common Roads, Lyman Horace Weeks, The Monograph Press, New York, 1904.

” … automotive and related industries, as well as their dependants,” says the charity’s website.”:

“Wilson was honorary secretary and treasurer of the charity for many years.”:  In 1914, a newspaper report said: “For a few shillings a year, everyone in the cycle or motor trade above the rank of mechanic, may become a member of this fund … If there is one feature more than another which makes cycling and motoring distinct from other pastimes, it is the readiness to extend help to fellow cyclists or motorists one overtakes in distress. The commonest greeting one hears on the road, when detained by anything from a punctured tyre to a broken axle, is “Can I do anything for you?” And the Cycle and Motor Trades’ Benevolent Fund is exactly the passing comrade to brother cyclists and motorists who may have had a breakdown on the road of commercial life.” Cambrian Daily Leader, January 8th, 1914.

“In 1938, The Cyclist magazine said that Faed had made the world’s first puncture repair kit.”: The Cyclist, July 20th, 1938.

“The IAE was originally the CEI, the Cycle Engineers’ Institute …”: Nature, December 10th, 1932.

” … motor-car engineers were likely to join the Cycle Engineers’ Institute because the “automobile branch of engineering has no representative body …”: The Autocar, December 22rd, 1899.

“The Cycle Engineers’ Institute was renamed the Automobile and Cycle Engineers Institute …”:  Proceedings, Institution of Automobile Engineers, 41, 1941.

“At the time of his death in 1923 he was the organisation’s vice-president.”: Proceedings, Institution of Automobile Engineers Vol 16. 1922-23.

“He had been a council member since 1899, when the organisation was still the Cycle Engineers’ Institute:”: The Cycle Engineers’ Institute ceased to exist in 1906 but a modern Cycle Engineers’ Institute was created in the mid-1980s. This was the invention of Dr. Dick Swann, a larger than life character with a colourful history as an “ex-racing cyclist, Christian priest, American race organiser, and luminary of the Cycle Engineer’s Institute [sic].” The reborn CEI didn’t live much longer than its founder: Dr Swann died in 2003 (the doctorate was said to be in divinity). Members of the modern Cycle Engineers’ Institute included noted British framebuilders George Longstaff and Bob Jackson. Sources: Swann on Wheels – Dick Swann’s Picture Book No 1, self-published, c.1985; Bob Damper, A Brief History of the Cycle Engineers’ Institute, The Boneshaker, Winter 2013.

“Leechman had been a bicycle designer since the 1880s …”: Leechman’s British patent no 16723 of December 5th 1887 was for an improvement to Safety cycle frames. Leechman’s 1895 book had a foreword by cycling – and later motoring – journalist, Henry Sturmey of Sturmey-Archer hub gears renown. In 1902, seven years after becoming the editor of The Autocar, Sturmey read a paper in front of members of the Cycle Engineers’ Institute in Birmingham on variable gearing for bicycles.

“This is to commemorate the work of John Kemp Starley …”: The award is made for the best original paper dealing with “The Development of Road Locomotion” published by the Institution during the year. The subject matter covers the “design or improvement in details of mechanically propelled road vehicles of all descriptions whether on wheels or track-laying or mechanical appliances for the construction or maintenance of roads.”

“In the early 1890s, Goff built a cycle track …”: Beauty Spots in the South-East of Ireland and How to See Them By Car or Cycle, Cornelius P Redmond. Irishmen Or English Soldiers? The Times and World of a Southern Catholic, Thomas P. Dooley, 1995.

“I have them all now. The collection includes eight gold and six silver medals …”:  Lincolnshire Echo, July 24th, 1894.

“Broadbent was a champion bicycle racer …”:  The Australian Cyclist, October, 1893. Broadbent held most Victorian and Australian cycling road records at various times and at various distances. He set long-distance records on high-wheelers and on a Safety bicycles. He won the five–mile Australasian championship for 1893-4 and the five-mile Victorian championship in 1894–5.

“It became Victoria’s standard road map …”:  G. F. James, “Broadbent, George Robert (1863–1947)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published in hardcopy 1979.

“Robert Broadbent succeeded his father as tourist manager of the RACV …”: R. A. Broadbent-Tourist Publications, created in 1963.

“Cycling is more than a sport and a pastime, it is healthful …”:  The Argus, 15th June 15th, 1932.

“You can see more, and enjoy the scenery more, from a bike …”: The Argus, August 24th, 1946.

“The founder was Sir David Salomons, an electrical engineer …”: About 1874-5, he attached an electric motor to a tricycle but abandoned the project because of the unreliability of batteries. “In the year 1874′ I constructed my own automobile, propelled electrically and made out of a tricycle with an electro-motor of 2 h.p. attached, worked by a large Bunsen battery. Accumulators were not then in existence, and the trouble of recharging the cells, combined with the damage to one’s clothes, necessitated the car being given up.”

A History of the First Ten Years of Automobilism, 1896-1906, ed. Lord John Scott Montagu, London, 1906 . “To ordinary people Sir David is known as one of the pioneers of motor-car traffic. Those who are fully convinced that the advent of the modern motor-car has been an unmixed blessing may hail him as a public benefactor. So far back as 1875 he saw something of the possibilities of an industry which appealed so strongly to human laziness. His first experiments were with electricity, and he succeeded in making a tricycle driven by a primary battery [but] Sir David remains convinced that carriages driven by electricity have a very limited sphere of usefulness.” Vanity Fair, 1908.

” … Salomons was “numbered among that small band of men in England who foresaw the future of the horseless carriage.”:  My Motoring Reminiscences, S. E. Edge, Foulis & Co, London, 1934.

” … Salomons had a “gift for influencing the wielders of power …”: The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97 volume 3, T. R. Nicholson, Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

“One of the five rooms was used as a cycle house.”: Motors and Motor-Driving, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, ed., Harmsworth, Sir Alfred C., Longmans Green & Co, London, 1904.

“Cyclists and cycle manufacturers played a major part in the manufacturing, design and sale of the first motor cars …”: As well as Adler, Durkopp and Opel, mentioned in the text, other German cycle manufacturers to make motor cars included Fahrzeug Eisenach, Falcke, and Rissmann. The Autocar, May 20th 1899.

“[A] large number of men who, having made their names in the sport and trade of cycling, are now engaged in the making, selling or driving of light cars …”: From  “Who’s Who in Light Cars?”, Motor Cycling, December 3rd, 1902:

S. F. Edge the enthusiast; enthusiastic over whatever may be the matter in hand; doing nothing by halves … A cyclist from the early days; winner of the first Westerham Hill Climb, and a one-mile tricycle championship of the National Cyclists’ Union … Now director of S. F. Edge, Ltd; director of De Dion Bouton, Ltd; the United Motor Industries, and other concerns connected with the motor trade. Winner, for the A.C.G.B. and I., of the great Gordon-Bennett Cup race last year – a success which we hope he will repeat in 1903.

J. H. Adams the man who won more N.C.U. Championships than any other rider, having passed the post first in ten of these classic events. The man who began his cycling career by going for 24 hour records on the road, and finished up ten years later by winning a half-mile track race … To-day he controls the destinies (as far as this country is concerned) of the Germain cars.

F. R. Goodwin, winner of a Cuca 24 hours race at Herne Hill; in the palmy days, hero of many a hard-fought race on road and path. Afterwards salesman in the ill-fated Griffiths Cycle Corporation; now manager of the Star Motor Co.’s London Depot …

Opel, the German, who came to London with August Lehr in 1890, and competed in the 25 miles high bicycle championship at Paddington that year. Now largely interested in the manufacture of the Opel car, one of the best in Germany.

Farman, one of the finest drivers of a racing car in France. The Brothers Farman are now as prominent in the motor world as they were in the cycling firmament a decade ago …

W. Williamson, speed-man on a bicycle; winner of two Catford hill climbs; successful seller of cycles. Now managing director of the Rex Motor Manufacturing Co, of Coventry …

S. D. Begbie. What old cyclist does not remember the Hadley bicycle made by the firm of Snelling, Begbie and Twentyman? This is the same Syd Begbie who, having passed through the trial and turmoil of cycle making and record breaking, has settled down to the quiet and more congenial occupation of making motorcars. He is manager of the Century Motor Co, of Willesden …

H. T. Arnott, once captain of the famous Bath Road Club; a cyclist of the old school; also a cycle trader of long standing, having run a depot in Newgate Street ten years ago. Now the leading light in the Princeps Autocar Co, Northampton.

G. W. Houk. To admit that you don’t know George “Washington” Houk is to confess yourself unknown. The man who introduced the Morrow hub to the English trade … Now pushing American steam cars over here, particularly the Prescott.

H. Wait, a well-known man in the provinces; designer of the Clyde voiturette, and manager of the Clyde Cycle and Motor Co, Leicester. A clever mechanic, and an old cyclist.

J. W. Stocks. What a wealth of memories the name brings back! The Hull youth, invincible on the high bicycle, especially on grass, and a popular star at all the East Riding race meets. When the safety came in, Stocks took to it readily; won an N.C.U. championship at 25 miles … Started motoring … Is manager of the De Dion Bouton Co in England.

Charles Friswell first came into prominence as a racing cyclist in the old Paddington days. Afterwards he went into the cycle trade; thence into the motor business; and now he pushes that popular little car, the Baby Peugeot, and runs the enormous Garage outside Portland Road Station, where you can store your car free.

R. Burns, the much-travelled manager of the Swift Motor Co. We remember the day when he first flashed across the racing horizon. It was at a meeting on the old Crystal Palace cinder track … Was with the Wenham Cycle Co, and has twice been to Africa.

W. Munn, well known in cycling circles south of the Thames. An old Bath Road man who, after selling Ritter road skates, pushed the Lamplugh saddles with considerable vigour. Has now found his natural level in the motor trade, being Secretary of De Dion Bouton, Ltd.

H. H. Sturmey, a schoolmaster by profession, but a cycling journalist by inclination; a mechanical genius of great ability, but ponderous tone. Universally respected by his confreres of the Press, from which he has now retired to interest himself in the Duryea car, in which he has great faith.

“The regular meeting of the “Old Guard” … was held in Madison Square Garden Tuesday, Jan. 17, and nearly 200 of the veterans gathered …”: Bassett’s Scrapbook, November 1911.

“Not only had the cycle manufacturer “brought the science of road-carriage construction to [the] point of perfection …”: The Autocar, November 2nd,1895.



15. From King of the Road to Cycle Chic


My bicycle, my bicycle,

That standest idly by,

With silvered spokes, and plated hubs,

And gear extremely high.

No more shall I a-scorching bend

Above thy handle-bar.

Farewell, farewell, my bicycle,

I’ve got a motor-car.


My bicycle, my bicycle.

By light of sun or lamp

We’ve covered many thousand miles.

We’ve sped through dry and damp;

But never more at dawn or eve

Shall I thy tyres inflate;

The times are changed, my bicycle,

Thou art not up-to-date.


They tempted me, my bicycle.

My swift and silent steed,

With tales about a new machine

That goes at lightning speed;

And still serenely shall I go

Careering through the land,

Though thou art sold, my bicycle,

A bargain, second-hand.


My bicycle, my bicycle,

’Twill be no longer mine

To chase the flying pedals round,

No more I’ll curve my spine;

But sitting idly at my ease,

I’ll travel with the best,

For I shall turn a handle, and

The car will do the rest.


My bicycle, my bicycle,

It makes me smile with glee

To think how often we have made

The slow pedestrian flee.

With sudden swoop we’ve come full speed

Upon him from afar;

I’ll do the same, my bicycle,

Aboard my motor-car.


Farewell, farewell, my bicycle;

Where flies the wayside dust

I’ll haply chance to pass thee by

(Unless my boilers bust);

For wheresoever on the road

I journey, near or far,

It’s my intent to make things hum

With my new motor-car.

Hardware Trade Journal, June, 1897.

“Weetman Dickinson Pearson expanded the firm founded by his grandfather …”: Pearson’s building company still exists today as Pearson, one of the world’s biggest book publishers. Geoffrey Jones, ‘Pearson, Weetman Dickinson, first Viscount Cowdray (1856–1927)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“In 1897, the bohemian artist Walter Crane …”:  An Artist’s Reminiscences, Walter Crane, The Macmillan Company, 1907.

” … the fabulously wealthy couple are shown riding bicycles.”:  There’s no proof that the couple are Sir and Lady Pearson but it’s extremely likely. The depiction of the gent’s bicycle show that it is nothing special, which would have been normal for a high-status individual of the time. It was highly unusual for Lady Pearson to own such an ostentatious machine – in fact, it would have been positively frowned upon as gaudy and in bad taste by others of her class.

” … weekend residence is now part of Worth Abbey, home to an order of Benedictine monks …”:

“This is a lifelike representation of the silver-plated bicycle that her husband bought from Tiffany & Co. of New York  …”:  Country Life of December 1992 said the “silver bicycle” was bought from Tiffany’s in 1894. There’s no proof for this and it’s more likely to have been in 1896, at the height of the bicycle boom. The bicycle is part of the treasures of Lord Cowdray’s Scottish estate at Dunecht House in Aberdeenshire, now home to Charles Pearson, younger son of the 3rd Viscount Cowdray.

“Crane, an illustrator of socialist publications, was given free rein on the artwork …”:  Pearson was a progressive employer and valued the working man.

“… Sir Weetman Pearson, who visited New York regularly …”: His world-dominating construction company built New York’s Hudson River tunnel and later the four East River tunnels connecting New York with Long Island.

“It was one of a number of similar high-society bicycles stocked by New York’s top jeweller …”: The actress Lillian Russell was bought a Tiffany bicycle in 1895 by her boyfriend “Diamond” Jim Brady, the corpulent railroad tycoon (in order to lose weight he also bought a fleet of Columbia bicycles, and had them gold-plated). Tiffany & Co. was still making its silver-plated bicycle in 1897. The Tiffany Blue Book of that year described it so: “The latest models of the best manufacture, mounted in sterling silver, with silver bell, cyclometer, lamp, watch holder and watch, and silver-trimmed tool bag.” It’s also possible that Sir Weetman Pearson bought the bicycle in Britain: a Gormully and Jeffrey jewel-encrusted bicycle was displayed at the National Cycle Show in 1896.

“The bicycle was now “the great leveller …”: “Ravages of the bicycle craze,” appeared, without a byline, in the New York Evening Post on June 2nd, 1896. It was soon repeated, slightly edited, in Scientific American, then in the weekly magazine of the League of American Wheelmen, and as extracts in newspapers around the US. The article wasn’t from the bicycle section of the newspaper – most newspapers of the 1890s had such sections, much like the motoring pages in today’s newspapers – it was an editorial and was run on the same page as an op-ed about the financial calamities of the day, advising President McKinley on what he should be doing about the silver standard, a contemporary fixation.

“It has been discovered simultaneously by the leaders in various branches of industry, business and amusement that the real cause of the hard times is not the tariff, not the currency, not the uncertainty about McKinley’s financial position, but the bicycle. Theatrical managers say they have had the poorest season for many years, and that after patient and anxious search for the cause they have found it in the bicycle craze. They say that not only do young men and maidens but older men and women save up their money in order that with it they may buy wheels. This of itself is disastrous to the theatres, but worse remains to be told; for having bought the wheels they ride them in the evening instead of going to places of amusement. They ride also on Saturday afternoons, and in Chicago they ride so universally on Sundays that the theatres, which formerly gave successful performances on that day, have discontinued them. The Sabbatarian might find encouragement in this fact were it not true that the churches are suffering almost as severely as the theatres from the same cause.

“Business men are as loud in their complaints as the theatre managers. The watchmakers and jewellers say they are nearly ruined; that all pin money which the young people saved formerly with which to buy watches and jewelry now goes for bicycles; that parents, instead of presenting a boy with a watch on his twenty-first birthday, now give him a bicycle, and that all the family economy is now conducted with the object of equipping every boy and girl, as well as father and mother, with a wheel. The confectioner cries “me too” to this complaint, declaring that about all the business he does is in chewing-gum, ice-cream, and soft drinks, while his candies find few customers. The tobacco manufacturer says he is the worst hit of all, since few riders care to smoke on the road – for which there is reason for profound gratitude – and the journals of the trade see it is a fact that the consumption of cigars is decreasing at the rate of a million a day, the total decrease since the craze became general averaging no less than 700,000,000 a year. Instead of sitting idle and smoking most of the day, hundreds of men now ride, and smoke only when they are resting.

The tailor, the hatter, the bookseller, the shoemaker, the horse-dealer, and the riding-master, all tell similar tales of woe. The tailor says that so many men go about half the time in cheap bicycle suits that they do not wear out their good clothes half as rapidly as formerly. The hatter says so many of them wear cheap caps, in which there is no profit to the maker, that their hats last them twice as long as heretofore. The shoemaker says he is even worse off, for while they buy cheap shoes for the bicycle, they do not even wear these out, and they refrain from walking much in any kind of shoes whatever, so that his loss is almost total. The bookseller says people who are rushing about on wheels, days, nights, and Sundays, no longer read anything, and his business has become practically worthless. As for the horse-dealer, stable-keeper, and riding-master, it is notorious what has happened to them. They are no longer “in it” and, like the horse, are a drug in the market. Even the saloon-keeper groans, for he says that while many riders drink beer, the number who take “soft drinks” is much the larger, while the number who take “hard drinks” is constantly diminishing, which must be the case in the pursuit of a pastime which cannot be followed with an unsteady head.

“Who are the gainers? An indignant “American Hatter” writes to his trade journal that the only beneficiaries are the bicycle-manufacturers, “who invest in land and government bonds, and send their families to Europe, there to spend the money that should be distributed upon this side among our own people.” He thinks Congress should come to the rescue of the hat trade and “pass a law compelling every bicycle fiend to wear a felt hat and buy at least two a season.” McKinley will, in all probability, lend a willing ear to that proposition when he gets his millennium in operation. But there are other occupations than bicycle manufacturing which prosper. Butchers and grocers are said to be doing more business than ever because of the increased appetites and rejuvenated digestions which riding has caused, and the wayside tavern-keepers of the land have awaked from a sleep of half a century almost, to find prosperity once more rolling in at their doors.

“But the greatest gainer of all is the American race. An eminent physician is quoted as saying that “not within 200 years has there been any one thing which has so benefitted mankind as the invention of the bicycle,” and that “thousands upon thousands of men and women, who till within a few years never got any outdoor exercise to speak of, are now devoting half their time to healthy recreation, are strengthening and developing their bodies, and are not only reaping benefit themselves, but are preparing the way for future generations which will be born of healthy parents.” There is no doubt about this. As a people the Americans have never taken sufficient outdoor exercise. We have been a nation of dyspeptics, simply because we did not take sufficient physical exercise to develop and strengthen our bodies. The bicycle is a wonderful builder up and purger of the system. It not only abolishes indigestion and dyspepsia, but rids the system of that curse of middle and old age, rheumatism, and thus adds enormously to the national good nature as well as to the sum of national happiness.

“As a social revolutionizer it has never had an equal. It has put the human race on wheels, and thus changed completely many of the most ordinary processes and methods of social life. It is the great leveller, for not till all Americans got on bicycles was the great American principle, that every man is just as good as any other man, and generally a little better, fully realized. All are on equal terms, all are happier than ever before, and the sufferers in pocket from this universal fraternity and goodwill may make up their minds to the new order of things, for there will be no return to the old. The true philosopher under the new conditions was the watchmaker of the rural New York village who, when he found the demand for watches falling off, gave up dealing in them and went into the bicycle business.”

“In a 1969 study it was concluded that the mobility provided by the bicycle …”: “Working-Class Isolation and Mobility in Rural Dorset, 1837-1936: A Study of Marriage Distances”, P. J. Perry, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, No. 46, March 1969. In the days before the large-scale uptake of motoring, the bicycle extended people’s horizons. Today, bicycle advocates almost argue the opposite: that bicycles are necessary for compact, dense cities.

“The bicycle has broken the barrier of pernicious differentiation of the sexes and rent the bonds of fashion …”: “Fifty Years of American Science,” W.J. McGee The Atlantic Monthly, September 1898.

“In 1930 John Galsworthy … wrote of the bicycle’s social significance …”: Galsworthy was brought up in Kingston upon Thames, close to the start of the “most famous cycling highway in the world.” Born in 1867, he would have been in his mid-twenties when the Ripley Road was at its peak of popularity. Galsworthy was therefore intimately familiar with the rise and rise of cycling.

“Writing about the joyful physicality of cycling in an 1889 book, American engineer Robert Pittis Scott …”: Cycling art, energy and locomotion: a series of remarks on the development of bicycles, tricycles, and man-motor carriages, Robert Pittis Scott, J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1889. Petrol-powered locomotion started its world domination at the end of the 1890s (in 1913 an American magazine billed it as “The Motor Conquest”.)⁠ Earlier, many other forms of powered locomotion had been trialled, and found wanting. Regency experimenters toyed with road-going vehicles powered by steam – some became reasonably practical, with (short-lived) steam-powered stagecoaches offering journeys free of rails. In the Victorian era there were many attempts to power tricycles and quadricycles with electricity but there were limits to the amount of energy that could be stored in the batteries of the day. “The Motor Conquest, a Survey of the Twentieth Century Revolution in Transportation,” Henry Farrand Griffin, The Outlook, March 22nd, 1913.

“No one would care to own an automatic gymnasium in which the Indian-clubs would swing themselves.”:  L.A.W. Bulletin, March 10th, 1899.

” … the whole world was awheel … Ramblers with their copper rims, Columbias, Victors with their spring forks …”:  “An Echo of Wheels,” Rollin Kirby, The Nation, Vol 132, No. 3422, 1931.

” … it came about that the bicycle could not satisfy the demand which it had created.”:  Horseless Carriage Days, Hiram Percy Maxim, Harper and Bros, New York, 1936.

“In these days … few people walk much in towns…”: The Hub, May 27th, 1899.

“Why do we note a decline in wheeling? We think it has its root in the laziness of mankind.”: L.A.W Bulletin, May, 1901.

“There were 103,293 members of the L.A.W. in its peak year of 1898.”:


1885: 4,739

1890: 12,500

1895: 26,140

1898: 103,293

1900: 50,572

1905: 2,874

1910: 1,240

1915: 1,023

1920: 912

“It would be hardly too much to say that in April of 1895, one was considered eccentric for riding a bicycle …”: The Hub, April 9th, 1898.

“In shady bypaths, elderly countesses, perspiring peers …”: My Life and Times, Jerome K. Jerome, 1895.

” … the brotherhood of the wheel has increased a hundredfold within the last two or three years …”: Quoted in Cycling in Victorian Ireland, by Brian Griffin, Nonsuch Publishing, 2006.

“How nice to have the merits of the paper discussed by Johnny the Shoeblack …”:  Irish Cyclist, September, 1888.

“In Coventry, which may be looked upon as the peculiar home of cycling …”: Cycling, Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, Right Hon. the Earl of Albemarle and G. Lacy Hillier, 1887.

“Upwards of 300,000 cycles were sold in 1889 …”: Souvenir of the Pneumatic Tyre Majority Celebration, 1888-1909, The Cycle Trades Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1909.

“Cameras and cycling went very well together …”: Henry Sturmey started to publish Photography in 1888 (it still exists, as Amateur Photographer). Walter W. Welford was the founder and editor of The Junior PhotographerPhotographic Life, and Cycle & Camera. Welford was the first paid secretary of the Cyclists’ Touring Club. His wife, Jeanie A. Welford, was also a cycling photographer. She was the first woman member of the CTC. The close links between 1890s cycling and photography was captured beautifully in the Ealing black comedy “Kind Hearts and Coronets” of 1949. Cyclists who carried fragile photography equipment would have been most desirous of smooth surfaces upon which to ride.

“In general, working people had neither the money nor the leisure time …”: The transformation of cycling from a transport mode of the elite to that of the working man can also be discerned in Canada. Historian Glen Norcliffe has documented the declining social prestige of the Montreal Bicycle Club between 1885 and 1895 by tracing the conversion of the names on its annual group portrait from Anglophone to Francophone. The Ride to Modernity: The Bicycle in Canada from 1869-1900, Glen Norcliffe, University of Toronto Press, 2001. “Acts of exclusion: the highwheel cavalry of the Montreal Bicycle Club, 1878-1890,” Glen Norcliffe, Conference on Acts of Citizenship, York University, Toronto, March 2004.

“The National Clarion Cycling Club, established in 1895, was ostensibly a socialist club …”: Robert Blatchford’s socialist paper, The Clarion, was launched in 1891. The Clarion cycling club in Birmingham was founded in 1894. The club slowly became more for the working man. It still exists.

“(Motoring was even less so, with 48,000 motor vehicles in use).”: The Motor Car and Politics, William Plowden, 1971.

“The Act is inducing people to spend their half holiday cycling …”: Cycling, August 1st, 1912.

“By the mid-1930s, exploring the countryside by bicycle had become a popular leisure pursuit for workers …”: “Who Put the Working Man on A Bicycle?” Proceedings, John Pinkerton, 8th International Cycling History Conference, 1997.

“The time will come,” predicted coroner Oddie …”: Time, December 03, 1934.,9171,929993,00.html#ixzz2cjBIDRTU

“Cycling was still the majority mode of transport, but moneyed motorists portrayed it …”:  In 1937, every third resident in the Netherlands had a bicycle, closely followed by Sweden (every forth), Denmark, Switzerland, and Belgium (every fifth), Germany and France (every sixth), Britain (every seventh), and Italy (every thirteenth). In America there was just one bicycle for every seventy citizens. Der Radwegebau in Deutschland, Hans Joachim Schacht, Schriften des Seminars für Verkehrswesen and der Martin-Luther-Unversitaet Halle-Wittenberg, 1937.

“London-based American artist Joseph Pennell … but even he had his nose put out of joint …”: UK-based Americans Joseph and Elizabeth Pennell mixed with high society and their travelogues in a wide variety of books and magazines were read by millions. Their first articles in the 1880s – Elizabeth writing, Joseph providing sketches – were travel pieces on tandem tricycle touring. Later they toured Europe on Safety bicycles. (Many other progressive couples copied them, including Beatrice and Sidney Webb and the physicists Maria Skłodowska and Pierre Curie.) Pennell became a motor cyclist and, much later, a motorist.

“It is only since the coming of the automobile that I have known what it is to be poor …”:  “Motors and Cycles: the transition stage,” Joseph Pennell, Contemporary Review, Volume 81, February 1902.

” … Hercules mostly made utilitarian bicycles …”: Raleigh later bought Hercules and became the largest cycle manufacturer in the world. In the 1920s Raleigh promoted its bicycles to working people but did so largely with imagery harking back to the 1890s. Here’s some copy from a 1923 Raleigh catalogue:

“Is your life spent among whirring machinery, in adding up columns of figures, in attending to the wants of often fractious customers? Don’t you sometimes long to get away from it all? Away from the streets of serried houses … only a few miles away is a different land, where the white road runs between the bluebell-covered banks crowned by hedges from which the pink and white wild rose peeps a shy welcome.

“Sheltering amongst the trees you see the spire of the village church-beyond it that quaint old thatched cottage where the good wife serves fresh eggs and ham fried ‘to a turn’ on a table of rural spotlessness, for everything is so clean in the country … Rosy health and a clear brain is what Raleigh gives you …”

The 1920s saw the start of the production of “lightweight” bicycles for mainly leisure use.

“A faction within the Cyclists’ Touring Club – including club secretary E. R. Shipton …”: It’s probable that Shipton had tried to admit motorists to the CTC previously. In the CTC Gazette of July 1896, a writer – highly likely to have been Shipton, or C. L. Freeston, the assistant editor, acting on Shipton’s orders – editorialised: “That we are on the eve of a remarkable development in our means of locomotion is admitted on all hands. The moment the restrictions imposed upon self-propelled vehicles are repealed by the passing before Parliament the horseless carriage movement will make an irresistible advance. This being so it behoves the C.T.C. to consider the position in all its bearings, and decide whether or not it is desirable that the constitution of the Club shall be so broadened as to admit to membership users of the new style of vehicle. There is much to be said on both sides, and the Committee appointed by the Council at their last meeting will afford a willing ear to the communications we invite from membership generally.”

Another attempt was made in 1903 but was turned down by a postal vote of members. Shipton’s hand can be seen in all these attempts. This is not surprising as Shipton was associated with the Self-propelled Traffic Association and the Automobile Club. In 1904, he was fined for speeding – an inglorious accolade for the secretary of the Cyclists’ Touring Club.

“However, the CTC was structured as a company …”: Companies (Memorandum of Association) Act, 1890.

“The judge dismissed the application.”:  The club did not appeal the decision, mainly because the issue had caused a split with the CTC. Despite the vote at the AGM, a significant number of members had shown themselves opposed to the change, forming a clique called the Reform Party. In a postscript, the Reform Party demanded an inquiry into office expenditure and, via a further court case, the long-servicing Shipton, now more of a motorist than a cyclist, was ousted.⁠ Rex v. Cladish and associated cases 1883-1908.

“In the 1880s and 1890s Lucas of Birmingham made a cycling lamp called “King of the Road” …”: “The man of the day is the Cyclist. The press, the public, the pulpit, the faculty, all discuss him. They discuss his health, his feet, his shoes, his speed, his cap, his knickers, his handle-bars, his axle, his ball-bearings, his tyres, his reins, and everything that is his, down unto his shirt … the cyclist is the man of the Fin de Cycle – I mean Siècle. He is the King of the Road.” A.M. Thompson, The Clarion, October, 1897.

“While Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party gets the credit for building autobahns …”: I realise that by introducing Nazism into this chapter I will be feeding those who will claim I’ve fallen foul of “Godwin’s law.” Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies is a “handy rhetorical hammer” asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Or, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or the Nazi Party. It was first used in 1990 by American attorney and author Mike Godwin. “Meme, Counter-meme”, Wired. October 1994

“The first cycle paths in Germany had been wide …”: Bremen, Hamburg, Luneburg, Hanover and Magdeburg all had extensive, leisure-oriented cycle path networks by the early 1900s, created by such organisations as the Hanover Radfahr-Renn-Verein and the Magdeburger Verein für Radfahrwege.

“In the Netherlands it was the other way round – a 1920s tax on cyclists paid for the construction of roads meant only for motorists.” “Contested Spaces: Bicycle Lanes in Urban Europe, 1900-1995.” Oldenziel, Ruth, and Adri A. de la Bruhèze. Transfers 1, no. 2, 2011.

“The cycle paths called for in 1926 by the Research Association for the Construction of Automobile Roads (STUFA) …”: STUFA – Studiengesellschaft für Auto-mobilstraßenbau – was a private research association.

“Ironically, STUFA had grown out of the work started by municipal engineer Dr. Henneking …”:  The Magdeburg cycle paths wound their way through scenic parks and the countryside but they were also placed on roads, separated from other traffic by kerns. STUFA published ambitious plans for a motorway network, far more than eventually got built.

“400 kilometres of these paths had been constructed in the early 1900s by the Magdeburger Verein für Radfahrwege …”: In 1926, Dr. Henneking – by then retired – wrote in Verein Deutscher Fahrrad-Industrieller an article headlined “Bicycle traffic: Its Economic Importance and the Construction of Cycle Paths.” In 1927, the creation of cycle paths was still for the comfort of cyclists, after this date these paths, if provided at all, were for the comfort and speed of motorists, pushing cyclists to the margins of the road at best.

“The new and inferior cycle paths were referred to as “the roads of the little man.”: The German name for cycle path changed from “Radfahrweg” (bicycle riding path) to “Fahradweg” (bicycle path), a deliberate diminution.

“Use of cycle paths, when provided, became mandatory from October 1934 …”: “Road Traffic Regulation of the Reich” (Reichs-Strassen-Verkehrs-Ordnung ), introduced on October 1st, 1934, restricted the highway rights of cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians: “Where a road is assigned to a particular type of traffic (Footpaths, Cycle Track, Bridle paths), then this traffic is restricted to that part of the road assigned to it.” The later Radwegebenutzungspflicht was stricter, forcing cyclists to use the inferior cycle paths.

“From Cycling Lanes to Compulsory Bike Path: Bicycle Path Construction in Germany, 1897-1940,” Volker Briese, Proceedings, 5th International Cycle History Conference, 1994. Also: “Cycle track construction before the second world war – back to the future”, *Radmarkt, May, 1993. “Cycle tracks, Opium for the cyclist,” Radfahren, January, 1994. “Cycle tracks. Automobile associations determine bicycle policy,”, Radfahren, February 1994. All Prof. Dr. Volker Briese.

“Nazi-controlled … German Bicycle Association …”: While much of the impetus behind the creation of bicycle paths was totalitarian and done in order to get cyclists off roads so cars could go faster there were also plans to include walking and bicycle networks in “New Towns”. Many of the former residents of these towns wouldn’t have had any say in these plans: they were either dead or had been carted off to concentration camps. Heinrich Himmler’s Planning and Design of the Cities in the Annexed East (Allgemeine Anordnung No. 13/II) of 1942 included bicycle path networks. This plan from the SS leader was meant to raze those Polish cities deemed to be Russian in nature and adapt those deemed to be Germanic.

“Let us show the marvelling foreigners proof of an up-and-coming Germany …”: Opposition to the Nazi regime was quelled through road building, believe many academics. The successful creation of major highways showed how the Nazi party had organisational skills compared to the weak and incompetent Weimar Republic. In those regions where autobahns were constructed, opposition to the Nazi regime reduced significantly. Highway to Hitler, Nico Voigtländer and Hans-Joachim Voth, Center of Economics in Society; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), May 2014.

“A cinema news snippet from British Pathé described the Western Avenue cycle track …”:

“In 1934, British motorists owned 1.3 million motor cars – at the same time, there were 12 million cyclists.”: At the time, motorists paid road tax. In 1936, this hypothecated tax was abolished and roads were paid for wholly out of general and local taxation. Road tax had been collected since 1909 but only ever paid for a few short stretches of new “motoring” roads. It was mostly used for resurfacing work but “raids” on the Road Fund by successive Governments meant less and less was spent on roads and the duty was abolished.

“A large crowd witnessed Leslie Hore-Belisha … cutting the ribbon …”: The dedicated track disappeared years ago and cyclists, where provided for at all on this stretch of the A40, are expected to share the slim footway with pedestrians

” … when Viscountess Astor asked whether a “system could be devised to prohibit pedal cycling in very crowded areas”:

” … Hore-Belisha described cyclists as “hysterical prima donnas … “:

” … when most of the famous Coney Island Cycle Path was converted to a motor road after 1911 cyclists had nowhere they could legally ride …”: “Bicycle Riding – it shall be unlawful for bicycles to be ridden upon the main driveway at any time.” Order of Timothy L. Woodruff, Park Commissioner, May 2nd 1896. The comment about not interfering with wheelmen’s needs was made by President Angell of the Good Roads Associaion of Brooklyn. The New York Times headlined the news of ordinance, “Must Ride on the Cycle Path: Cyclists Ordered to Keep Off the Main Roadway of the Ocean Parkway. “Although this appears to be contrary to the Liberty Bill, which gives to bicycles the free use of the highways the same as other vehicles, yet there will probably be not the slightest objection from the wheelmen. They have the finest path to ride on …” The New York Times, May 5th, 1896.

“Eric Claxton, then a junior engineer in the Ministry of Transport …”: Later to become the chief designer of the New Town of Stevenage.

“They were too narrow. They were made of concrete and suffered from either cracking or construction joints.”:  The hidden Stevenage: the creation of the substructure of Britain’s first new town, remembered, Eric Charles Claxton, Book Guild, 1992.

“The AA, the RAC, the police and many others also said the experimental cycle path was poorly executed.”: William Rees Jeffreys admitted the Western Avenue cycle paths were sub-standard – “neither here nor elsewhere can they be called an unqualified success.” Cocking a snook at the then leadership of the CTC, he added, “a certain type of cyclist … imagines that by using [cycle paths] he is jeopardising his lawful right to the public highway in general.” However, he recognised that what had been provided was inadequate and that “cycle tracks have their drawbacks.” The Western Avenue cycle paths were separated only on straight stretches of the road, but not where it mattered most – where traffic met. “At roundabouts and junctions cycle traffic is diverted into the carriageways, giving rise to dangerous situations,” he said in his autobiography.

“When the committee’s report was published …”:  Report by the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the Prevention of Road Accidents, 1939.

“The Automobile Association submitted plans to the committee with underpasses and other cycle-path features …”: Edward Fryer, deputy secretary of the Automobile Association (an organisation with 680,000 members), gave evidence to the committee, admitting that “the only time I was ever fined for committing a road offence was for cycling on a pavement many years ago.”

Fryer: “The cycle tracks on the Great West Road are not only too narrow but they were too rough, they were too full of manholes, there were too many crossings where the cyclist had to go up and down … Our submission has been for many years that if special tracks are made, they should be of the right type, so as to attract the cyclist. The width of the cycle track should be 12ft…excepting where cycle tracks are provided for big works, 12ft would be insufficient…under the existing law, the cyclist and the pedestrian cannot be excluded from the King’s Highway.”

Lord Alness: “If the cycle track is there, and is of suitable dimensions, and the cyclist deliberately neglects to use it, and uses the carriage-way instead, would you favour the imposition of a penalty?

Fryer: “I think it must come.”

Fryer also went on to show a diagram of a road of the future which included Dutch-style cycle underpasses. “The [cyclist] would pass under the carriage-way, come up on to the bank and join the other cycle track which goes continuously along the arterial road.”

AA recommended the taking of 300ft for designing such roads, giving plenty of space for anticipated rise in motor traffic as well as protected tracks for cyclists and pedestrians. “You can get complete segregation of these three kinds of traffic … [but] it requires more land … more land than is the present policy of the Minister of Transport.”

“[Where] cycle tracks and footways are sometimes going over and sometimes going under, if you are going to continue to have those at a reasonable gradient, looking to the future, instead of being really steep, it does require this extra width for getting into the swing.”

Lord Alness: “A considerable time must elapse before all the road junctions in the country can be redesigned and reconstructed?”

Fryer: “We appreciate that.”

Lord Alness: “But if you are going to make it compulsory, you get the possible weekend time when between large towns you have droves of cyclists …”

Fryer: “[By] that time I hope that the extra provision of land by the side of the roads, and in certain cases even footpaths, may be used as cycle tracks … [so] the carriageway is left free for vehicular motor traffic.”

“The case for the fair-minded motor driver has been put forward admirably.”: Commercial Motor, 14th April, 1939.

“Six million more people had taken to riding bicycles since 1928 …”: Professor Raymond Clements, chairman of the Roads and Traffic Committee of the RAC, and a member of a great many other technical committees, gave evidence to the Alness committee. He said the rise in number of private motor cars between 1928 and 1938 was an increase of 103 percent, from 884,645 to 1,798,105. On class 1 (busy) roads, a government traffic census showed an increase between 1931 and 1935 an increase of 34 percent in motor vehicle movements, and on class two roads, between 1929 and 1938 there was an increase of 55 percent in passenger vehicles.

Clements: “The census of pedal cycles is the most startling. The census taken on class 1 roads in 1935 shows the number of pedal cyclists recorded as 95 percent higher than in 1931. In the class 2 roads census taken in 1936, the aggregate number of pedal cycles enumerated at over 3000 comparable points was 10,123,000 compared with 5,343,000 in 1929.”

Lord Alness: “These are very arresting, if not staggering figures?”

Clements: “They are indeed, my Lord; those are the most impressive of all, I think.”

Impressively high and indicative of mass cycling on the roads of Britain but as cyclists were considered to be anti-progress and proletarian this majority use was ignored.

“The following exchange between the peers and CTC secretary George Herbert Stancer …”:  In 1926, under the pen-name of “Robin Hood”, Stancer wrote in the CTC Gazette: “Those of us who oppose the construction of cycle paths alongside English country roads firmly believe that any such paths would be inferior in quality to the roads, and would generally be neglected, on the ground that ‘anything will do for push-bikes’; that the presence of such paths would imply…that cyclists were banished from the carriage-way; that coroners, judges and jacks-in office everywhere would be inclined to censure a cyclist who was involved in an accident on the road when a path has been provided for him; and that in the end we should forfeit the rights that were won for us by the pioneers of the pastime in days gone by. All these fears may be groundless, but they will not be easily removed. The advocates of cycle paths, with few exceptions, are the most violent enemies of cyclists … ”

“Pedestrians were also to be fined for daring to cross the road …”: Similar to US-style “jaywalker” laws. These laws were introduced in America after concerted anti-pedestrian campaigns by the all-powerful motor lobby.

“The Alness report – derided by one Labour MP as a “tale of deaths and manglings … “: William Leach, the Labour MP for Bradford Central.

“The meagre efforts made to separate cyclists from motor traffic have failed …”: Mixed blessing; the motor in Britain, Colin Buchanan, L. Hill, 1958.

“Cycle use in the 1950s fell off a cliff.”: Between 1951 and 1957, the sales of bicycles and cars flipped. In 1951, just over 4 million bicycles were made in Britain (many for export). In these years about 1 million bicycles were sold per year. In 1957, 4 million cars were sold in Britain. In 1969 there were just 563,000 bicycles sold in Britain against 9 million motor cars. Annual mileage by cycle decreased from 14.7 billion miles in 1949 to 11.9 billion miles in 1955 to 2.5 billion miles in 1971. It is now 3.1 billion miles. Road cycling: statistics, Department for Transport, June 2013.

” … it is a moot point how many cyclists there will be in 2010 … “:  Traffic in towns, Great Britain. Ministry of Transport. Steering Group & Working Group on the Study of Long Term Problems of Traffic in Towns, Penguin in association with H.M.S.O., 1964.

“The Buchanan report was one of the guiding influences behind Dutch town planners …”:  The Buchanan Report was commissioned by transport minister Ernest Marples, a touring cyclist and CTC member.

“While in the UK Professor Buchanan’s ideas were used to build more urban motorways …”:  The “woonerf” concept was developed by Niek De Boer, professor of urban planning at Delft University of Technology and the University of Emmen. The idea was later adopted in the UK and renamed Home Zones. “Shared space” uses similar concepts.

“Traffic engineers in the Netherlands tamed the car (and improved the existing and extensive cycle path network) …”:  The Netherlands was not a nation of cyclists in the 1890s but in the early 1900s the bicycle quickly became a Dutch national icon. By 1920, the country was veined with cycle paths and cycle use was already the highest in the world. In German cycle trade magazine Radmarkt Charles Paul Engel wrote in 1920: “The increasing use of bicycles naturally created the desire for good bicycle roads. We have to thank the efforts of the Algemeene Nederladsche Wielrijders Bond for the extensive network of good bicycle roads that exist along the main highways of the country. There are equally good bicycle roads leading the highways into all remote places.” These bicycle roads were built by the Government.

“The bicycle’s status as “poor man’s transport” was vividly demonstrated in 1975 on the front cover of …”: Class in a Capitalist Society: A Study of Contemporary Britain, John Westergaard and Henrietta Resler, Heinemann Educational, 1975.

“These roads often have speed limits of 50 miles per hour, making them hazardous for road users not able to reach such speeds.”:  Radical cyclists and pedestrians don’t wish to saunter along in the middle of these A roads claiming their “birthright to the road”, but some motorists assume this to be the case. Such concerns are not new. In 1939, during the House of Lords debate welcoming the Alness report, the Marquess of Reading worried:

“I find it extremely difficult to accept the doctrine put forward on behalf of the cyclists that in some peculiar way segregation and degradation are synonymous words. You have a highway, and the cyclist says, “It is my right to use that highway.” Does the highway consist only of that part of the road upon which motor cars proceed, or does it include that part of such roads as may be reserved for cyclists and that part reserved for pedestrians? Does any sane pedestrian expect … that he should be allowed to walk upon the middle of the Great West Road on Sunday morning, and say that unless he is allowed to do so he is being deprived of the right to use the King’s highway? One wonders what would be the attitude of cyclists if, in a place where there was a cycling track, a motorist suddenly took it into his head to proceed along that cycle track. Yet, if the cyclists have a right on the motorists’ road, why, on similar terms, have not the motorists a right on the cyclists road?”

The use of the term “motorists’ road” is telling. Today’s “cycle roads” in Britain are often blocked with parked cars, and motorists routinely park and drive on the sidewalk, disregarding the parts of the public highway they are not supposed to use.

“The streets of our cities and towns … ought to be for everyone …”:

“The movement was suggested in 2003 by Barbara McCann …”: Completing our streets : the transition to safe and inclusive transportation networks, Barbara McCann, Island Press, 2013.

“The National Complete Streets Coalition … roped in a number of influential and mainstream non-cycling organisations.”: Such as the American Planning Association, the American Public Transportation Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Heart Association and the YMCA.

“McCann became Executive Director …”: McCann is Director of the Office of Safety, Energy and Environment at the Department of Transportation.

“The car-free, or car-lite, lifestyle can be characterised, perhaps unfairly, as middle class, elitist and white …”: See Richard Florida’s

“… bikes, for them, are toys, cycling is for children …”: Similarly, in America Melody Lynn Hoffmann and Adonia Lugo have argued that “[cycle] advocates and policymakers who frame bicycle facilities as amenities that will attract a creative class population ignore and potentially undermine bicycle mobility by those who do not fit into this desired group of citizens … Bicycle advocacy illustrates the trend toward high quality public spaces being sold as luxury amenities.” “Who is ‘World Class’? Transportation Justice and Bicycle Policy,” Melody Lynn Hoffmann and Adonia Lugo, Urbanities, Vol. 4. No. 1., May 2014

“… from Critical Mass to World Naked Bicycle Rides, and from cycle chic to bike blogs …”:  Cycle chic was coined by Mikael Colville-Anderson of

” … but the numbers of “middle-aged men in Lycra” …”: MAMIL was a term coined in 2010 by Michael Oliver of the British market-research firm Mintel. Oliver claimed that growth in high-end road bike sales was being propelled by 35- to 45-year-old middle class men with families, turning to cycling instead of golf or buying a sports car. “Middle aged men in Lycra” also owned expensive cars but choose to ride for leisure and to commute to work. Oliver said: “Thirty or 40 years ago, people would ride a bike for economic reasons, but our research suggests that nowadays a bicycle is more a lifestyle addition, a way of demonstrating how affluent you are.” Bicycles, Mintel, June, 2010.

“Oddly, there’s no settled name for the female equivalent of the MAMIL …”: Mawils? “In 1986, when I first turned professional, you were viewed as some sort of freak if you rode a bike … but now there are Mamils and Mawils (Middle Aged Women In Lycra) everywhere.” Paul Kimmage, “Pedalling your way to paradise in Majorca,” Sunday Independent, June 15th, 2014.

“… at least partially, manifestations of middle-class lifestyle choices.”:  The call for bicycle infrastructure often drowns out the calls for the mix of measures that are required to boost cycle use. John Pucher and Ralph Buehler’s report Making Cycling Irresistible says that “The most important approach to making cycling safe and convenient … is the provision of separate cycling facilities along heavily travelled roads and at intersections…” However, they add: “separate facilities are only part of the solution. Dutch, Danish and German cities reinforce the safety, convenience and attractiveness of excellent cycling rights of way with extensive bike parking, integration with public transport, comprehensive traffic education and training of both cyclists and motorists, and a wide range of promotional events intended to generate enthusiasm and wide public support for cycling … The key to the success of cycling policies in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany is the coordinated implementation of [a] multi-faceted, mutually reinforcing set of policies. Not only do these countries implement far more of the pro-bike measures, but they greatly reinforce their overall impact with highly restrictive policies that make car use less convenient as well as more expensive.”

“London, Paris and other world cities are planning to spend billions on catering to an “out-group” …”: It’s not yet a take-over of the streets as some motoring zealots would have it. In New York City there are about 6000 miles of streets – only 300 of them have bike lanes.

” … a jaw-dropping 38 percent to 13 percent, in fact …”: London Travel Demand Survey, 2011, Transport for London.

“Our roads are here for people to get around …”: New York Post, July 11th, 2012 Bloomberg and his transport team, led by Janette Sadik-Khan, prioritised quality of life and an improved “public realm”. One of their most high-profile successes is Times Square. Until 2009, 356,000 daily visitors to Times Square had been penned into just 11 percent of the space, despite outnumbering cars by more than four to one. Pedestrians were being squeezed out of Times Square, leading to a likely degeneration of the area. The New York City Department of Transportation implemented a pilot pedestrianisation of the strip of Broadway that forms Times Square’s “Bow Tie”, placing tables and chairs, and pop-up gardens, on parking spaces. Overnight, these changes in priority attracted more people to meet, eat and enjoy themselves. Pedestrian movement grew by 11 percent, incidents involving injuries were reduced by 35 percent. The shops are booming. Office occupancy is up. A 2011 economic impact study showed that Times Square, while taking up just 0.1 percent of New York City’s total land area, was a vital powerhouse for the city, responsible for 11 percent of the city’s economic output and 10 percent of its jobs. The district’s $110 billion of economic activity had risen by 22 percent since 2007, outpacing growth elsewhere in the city by 9 percent during the same economic downturn.

“To most politicians … the place elements of roads and streets …”: Place – “The best way to create the true paradigm shift away from our oil dependence therefore is to create places that people want to be, places that support vital local economies, healthy, safe, active lifestyles and strong communities.” Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to “helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.” PPS was founded in 1975 to expand on the work of William (Holly) Whyte, author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces.

“Roads must be designed with all users in mind …”:





“Never has there been a more exciting time to be alive, a time of rousing wonder and heroic achievement …”: President Ronald Reagan, Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the State of the Union, February 4, 1986

“He would be utterly amazed that people on the lowest incomes felt they had to spend so much of their disposable income on motor cars they can ill afford.”: “Poorest households sink deeper into transport poverty”, RAC Foundation, February 6th, 2014. Around 800,000 car-owning households spent at least 31 percent of their disposable incomes on buying and running a vehicle in 2012. In the previous year they spent 27 percent. These very poorest families (with the lowest tenth of household incomes in the country) had a maximum weekly expenditure of £167. Of this £167, £51.40 (31%) went on the purchase and operation of a car. Data from the Office for National Statistics’ “Living Costs and Foods Survey.”

“In 1895, Lady Jeune wrote that cycling as an exercise was “a very delicious one.”: Badminton Magazine, October, 1895.

“When cars can be made [cheaply] then we may talk of the social effect of motoring on modern life …”:  In 1905, Lady Jeune compared motoring to cycling:

“There was a social side, I suppose, to bicycling : it enabled young people to go out in large parties, unencumbered by the inevitable chaperon, and it fostered, while it lasted, the growing spirit of independence among girls; it enabled one to see more of country neighbours, often a doubtful advantage, and it undoubtedly increased the facilities of locomotion, which, we are told, is the great and inestimable blessing of modern life, an article of faith about which I claim to be unorthodox. Now we hear much of the social side of motoring, and we are told one of its great advantages is that it will give us still greater opportunities of seeing people in the vicinity in which we live, and that it will foster and strengthen that neighbourly feeling which is so delightful, and will add so much to our enjoyment of the country by the ease with which we shall get about. It will undoubtedly enable us to go long distances and penetrate to places otherwise inaccessible; and no doubt we shall be brought into warm contact with many people hitherto strangers. It sounds very nice, very kind, and an ideal picture of what our country life should be. I think, however, that the great charm of the country is being destroyed by that very increased facility of getting about. The great and inexpressible charm of the country is always its peace, more often its solitude, and we are destroying both. There are no longer days when one can sit in the garden dreaming, sleeping, what you will, listening to the whisper of the wind in the trees, the droning of bees, the song of the birds, and the mysterious language of Nature. Such days are a waste of time. There is a monster in the stable who has to be exercised, and from time to time you hear his brothers hooting to him as they rush past along the road, while the irresistible feeling grows on you that you must obey their cry, and start on your ride answering with Valkyrie-like cry the invitation which has been wafted on the sweet summer air. Then, indeed, the fascination of motoring begins to exercise itself, and the enjoyment, which is a purely selfish one, the consciousness that you are getting away from your fellow-creatures, that every man, woman, child, village, hamlet, or town is a landmark passed on the journey which you would like to lead to perfect solitude – a solitude in which none of the modern necessities of life and society exist – become overpowering.” The complete motorist, A. B. Filson Young, McClure, Phillips & co., Methuen & co., New York/London, 1905.

“And nor am I the first to fret about a world where automobile dependence is leading inexorably to … climate change.”: In April 2014 the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a practical guide for what the world can do to reduce the impacts of climate change. Among the densely scientific recommendations were calls for Governments to reduce reliance on individualised motor transport and, instead, prioritise walking, cycling and public transport. Criticising roads built for motor transport the panel’s report said: “Established infrastructure may limit the options for modal shift and lead to a greater reliance on advanced vehicle technologies … For all economies, especially those with high rates of urban growth, investment in public transport systems and low‐carbon infrastructure can avoid lockin to carbon‐intensive modes.” Summary for Policy Makers, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC WGIII AR5, 13th April 2104,

“When reading his words, delivered at a TED conference in 2011 …”: Technology, Entertainment, Design conference.

“And yet before this invention there were no laws or societies for preventing the desecration of rural England by this mass invasion …”: Not strictly speaking true. The Commons Preservation Society – early members included John Stuart Mill, William Morris and Octavia Hill – was founded in 1865. The Peak & Northern Footpaths Society was founded in 1894 but evolved from The Manchester Association for the Preservation of Ancient Public Footpaths founded in 1826. The National Trust was founded seven years after the patent application for the Dunlop’s pneumatic tyre but some years before the advent of mass motoring.

” … one wonders whether, if … Dunlop in his Belfast stable-yard or Welch in his father’s workshop …”: Wheels of Fortune: A salute to pioneers, Sir Arthur Du Cros, Chapman & Hall, London, 1938.

“We must have an infrastructure that’s designed to support [a] flexible future.”:  Bill Ford: A future beyond traffic gridlock, March 2011. Ford Motor Company’s Blueprint for Mobility, launched in 2012, is planning for a world of smart cars and smart roads but it’s also planning, 25 and 30 years into the future, for a “radically different transportation landscape where pedestrian, bicycle, private car, commercial and public transportation traffic will be woven into a single connected network to save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety.”




History of roads timeline


“1285 … Edward I’s Statute of Winchester codifies the “right of way”, specifies … some roads have to be maintained to a width of 200 feet.”: These were not roads in the modern sense of the road but were more like corridors, with rights of way over a wide area.

“1835 … English Highway Act … prevents carriages from “driving” or parking on footways.”:

“1879 … Taylor v Goodwin results in cycles becoming classified as “carriages” thereby “legalising” cycling in Britain.”:  Taylor v Goodwin was an important case but the cyclist’s “right” to the road wasn’t formally achieved until the passing of the Local Government Act 1888. Section 85 declared that “bicycles, velocipedes, and other similar machines are hereby declared to be carriages within the meaning of the Highway Acts.”

“1896 … Locomotive Act of 1878 was further amended … “: Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act 1878 relaxed the 1865 law that stipulated that road locomotives had to be preceded by a person waving a red flag abolished in most counties, but attendant still had to walk in front of vehicle.


Appendix – Motor marques with bicycling beginnings


“Kia Motors of South Korea started life as Kyungsung Precision Industry …”: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 29. St. James Press, 1999.

ADLER “[Adler’s] Heinrich Kleyer of Frankfurt-am-Main …”:

“[Kleyer] had been inspired to do so while working in America as an engineer for a textile machinery maker.”: Sturtevant Mill of Boston.

“He arranged a meeting with Pope at his Boston bicycle factory …”:  87 Summer Street, Boston.

“He also secured the agencies for Singer and Starley Bros.”: The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“He opened Maschinen & Velocipede Handlung in Frankfurt …”: 8 Bethmann Strasse.

“In April 1881 he created the Frankfurter Bicycle Club, which organised races.”: Many of which he won.

“Kleyer also built a riding school and a racing track.”: The track was in the Palm Gardens at Forsthaus. The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“Also in 1881 he commissioned engineering company Spohr & Krämer …”: The first German manufacturer of cycles was Dissel & Proll of Dortmund, founded in 1879. The company didn’t outlive the 1880s.

“After four years of steady growth, Kleyer had prospered enough to buy land on Gutleutstrasse and he built Haus des Fahrrades …”: The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“Next door to the Haus des Fahrrades was Germany’s first indoor cycling track.”: By-laws in many German towns restricted the speedy use of cycles to either very early in the morning or late into the evening: building an indoor track circumnavigated this restriction.

“… Kleyer built a larger store on the outskirts of town.”: This nine-storey, 18,000m² factory – Adler Werke – is still standing. Hoechster Strasse was renamed Kleyer Strasse and Adler Werke is now a theatre.

“The ICA was created by Henry Sturmey …”:  The ICA’s role was taken over by the Union Cycliste Internationale in 1900.

“Adler diversified into typewriters …”: British playwright and columnist Keith Waterhouse wrote with an Adler typewriter. Authors Kingsley Amis and Joe Orton also used Adler typewriters, as did movie maker Stanley Kubrick.

“Without its motorbike division, Adler focused on the manufacture of office equipment …”:

ALLARD & Co. “By 1899 the company was making the Allard Rapid motor car.”: The Autocar, July 28th, 1900.

ARGYLL MOTORS “Scotland’s biggest car marque was Argyll Motors …:” The company made a bicycle called the Royal Enfield – “Made like a gun” – after it won a contract to make rifles for the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield.

ARIEL MOTORS  “Sangster’s career started when he was apprenticed to the maker of Whippet cycles …”: Linley and Biggs of Clerkenwell Road, London.

“In 1893, he left to join the long-established New Howe Machine Co. …”: Selwyn Edge was a general manager at New Howe Machine Co.

” … this was the Ariel, under the direction of Sangster.”: The name was historic, one of the first Starley and Hillman high-wheelers had been called the Ariel.

“Ridden to victory in the world championships of 1897 by J. W. Stocks …”: “STOCKS, J. W., 28, Brook Street, London W. After ten years of successful racing on the cycle path, turned his attention to motoring, in the autumn of 1897. His first cycle race was at Hull, in 1888, and from 1896 and 1897 he held all records from one mile to one hour, and in the latter, his final year on the path, won the 100 kilometre championship, at Glasgow. On the occasion of his last appearance on the track, he covered 32.75 miles in the hour (then the world’s record). In 1899 covered 434 miles on an Ariel tricycle inside twenty-four hours, a record which he has not yet beaten. Took up the management of the de Dion business in 1902. Drove a Napier car in the 1903 Gordon Bennett race, but mistook the road, and ran into a wire fence, disabling the car.” Motoring Annual, 1904

“The company made motor cars and motorcycles until its collapse in 1932 …”: Ariel made bicycles for up to 700 other marques. Cyclist Trade Review, June 30th, 1904.

ASTER “It was a luxury marque, a favourite of the Duke of York …”: Luxury car marques suffered during the Depression of the late 1920s and Aster went out of business in 1929.

“Among Begbie’s world records was the 100-mile tandem tricycle record …”: Cycling, Badminton library of sports and pastimes, William Coutts Keppel Albemarle, Earl of; Lacy Hillier, Longmans, Green, and co., London 1899.

ASTON MARTIN  “The Aston Martin company was founded in 1913 by …”: Martin and Bamford were inducted into the prestigious Automotive Hall of Fame in 2013, one hundred years after founding Aston Martin.⁠

“Both were … members of the Bath Road Club.”: Another member was Montague Napier who converted his family’s engineering business into a motor car manufacturer, with the help of Selwyn Edge, another racing cyclist, and another member of the Bath Road Club.

“Martin, a rider since 1891 when he started at Eton College …”: Martin’s parents were rich, thanks to family-owned China clay mines in Cornwall. After a private education at Eton, Martin joined Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1897 and was a member of the Oxford University Bicycle Club. In 1911 he set the tricycle record for the fastest journey from Edinburgh to York: a record that lasted until modern times.

“The Aston Martin name came from a hill-climb race at Aston Clinton …”: Close to the modern day Aston mountain-bike course in the Wendover woods.

” … Martin drove a modified Singer car very fast up this climb …”: Singer cars were produced by a company that had started life as a manufacturer of bicycles. George Singer’s bicycle company was one of the earliest, having been founded in Coventry in 1874, and produced high-wheelers at first and Safeties later. George Singer, while still a maker of bicycles, was Mayor of Coventry three years in succession from 1891–1893.

“He was killed in October 1945 …”: Warboys Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 7LS.

AUTOBIANCHI  “Autobianchi … was created in 1955 …”: The Bianchi family had a 33 percent share in the business.

“F.I.V. Edoardo Bianchi S.p.A was founded in Milan in 1885 …”: And maker of surgical instruments and other products.

“Company founder Edoardo Bianchi …”:  Bianchi’s first shop was at No 7 Via Nirona. Five years later, success required a move to bigger premises on Via Borghetto. In 1895, via royal decree 969, King Umberto I made Bianchi an Official Supplier by Appointment to the Royal Court. In 1897, Bianchi attached De Dion engine to a tricycle. The company’s first motorbike was made commercially available in 1901. In 1989, the Autobianchi brand was rolled into Lancia but was marketed in Italy as Autobianchi until 1996.

“Pope Pius XI was driven in a Bianchi.”: Pope Pius XI got his Bianchi in 1926. Pope Pius XI was the good pope, the pope before Pius XII, the Nazi-apologist.

“Il Mantovano Volante, “the Flying Mantuan”…”: Nuvolari won his first motor car race at the Circuito Golfo del Tigullio in 1924, driving a two-litre Bianchi. In 1926, he raced only on motorcycles, riding a Bianchi 350, the legendary “Freccia Celeste” (turquoise arrow). Alfa Romeo was formed with the help of bicycle maker Alexandre Darracq of France. In 1909 Società Anonima Italiana Darracq became Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, or ALFA.

“Nuvolari’s father was also a top cycle racer …”: Tazio Nuvolari museum.

“Picasso had a Bianchi bicycle …”: Edoardo Bianchi: 1885–1964, Antonio Gentile, Giorgio Nada Editore, 1993.

BANKER BROTHERS “Banker Brothers … made a short-lived electric car for children …”: The Banker Juvenile was one of many small cars at the time to be marketed as suitable for “junior drivers.”

 ” … it was George who did the most to spread the popularity of the Victor bicycle …”: The Lost Cyclist, David V. Herlihy, Mainstream Publishing, 2010.

” … Brownsville, 35 miles from Pittsburgh.”:  Western Pennsylvania, Winter 2004.

” … returning to the pro circuit in 1898 when he won the world sprint track championships …”:

Banker’s palmares:

1892 Brownsville, Pa. USA high-wheeler

1894 Grand Prix de Paris

1895 GP UVF, France

1895 Grand Prix de Antwerp, Belgium

1895 Grand Prix de Roubaix

1895 Austrian Derby

1895 World track championships, Köln, Germany (silver medal)

1898 World track championships, Vienna, Austria (gold medal).

BINKS  ” … mid-1880s partnership with Alfred Lilwall …”: London Gazette, May 19th, 1885.

BOSCH:  ” …said a Bosch corporate history.”:

BRITISH GERMAIN MOTOR COMPANY  ” … by far the biggest thing ever done in the history of cycling …”: Quest for Speed, A History of Early Bicycle Racing, 1868-1903, Andrew Ritchie, 2011.

BRITISH MOTOR SYNDICATE  “One of them was a cycle factory and is now an Ibis hotel …”: This is the former Quinton Works on Quinton Road and Mile Lane in Cheylesmore, Coventry. It was built in 1890 for cycle manufacturer S & B Gorton.

” … the fees secured from royalties and manufacturing and selling licences would cause a continual flow of dividends …”: The World On Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“Few of them had any business sense …”: Lawson was also associated with E. Terah Hooley, a bigger crook than he.

” … in 1904 Lawson was sentenced to a year’s hard labour …”: Lawson was indicted with Hooley for conspiring to defraud. Hooley was defended by a top barrister; Lawson conducted his own case, and lost.

BROWN BROTHERS  “In the early 1900s it was based in London and made motor cars …”: It was based at 7 Great Eastern Street, London. The motor department was at 22 Great Eastern Street.

“The company was founded in 1889 by Ernest and Albert Brown …”: By 1892, the firm had opened a branch in Paris.

“Four Brown-branded motor cars were listed in the Brown Brothers catalogue …”:

“Via leading women’s rights campaigner Myra Sadd …”: “Cycling to Suffrage: Bicycles and the Organised Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain, 1900-1914,” Cycle History, Sheila Hanlon, Spring 2013.

“Myra Sadd married Ernest Brown …”: Myra Sadd became Myra Sadd Brown. She became a member of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, was arrested and imprisoned in 1912. She went on hunger strike and was forcibly fed. An Australian museum has her “hunger strike” medal.

CADILLAC  ” … Harry M. Leland, then busy with his machine shop …”: Master of Precision: Henry M. Leland, Ottilie M. Leland, ‪‪Wayne State University Press 1966/1996.

“ … immense trade in bicycles.”:  The turning wheel; the story of General Motors through twenty-five years, 1908-1933, Arthur Pound, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., New York, 1934.

CALCOTT BROTHERS  “… making the X.L. range of Safety cycles.”:

“A large graphic in a downstairs window …”: Callice Court student halls of residence, Far Gosford Street. Coventry.

CAMERON BROTHERS  ” … Everett and Forrest Cameron, originally from Nova Scotia …”:

” … the Cameron brothers built their first car, the Eclipse Steam Buggy …”: They were made by a machining company in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

” … by 1906 the brothers had their own factory in Beverley, Massachusetts …”: Silver Donald Cameron, a relative of the Cameron brothers, wrote in 2000: “During their glory days, between 1908 and 1910, they were producing ten or more cars a week and promoting them at races and hill-climbs all over the country. In July, 1908, they competed with Henry Ford’s Model S – the predecessor of the famous Model T – in fuel economy tests and hill-climbs, and won both.⁠” Sunday Herald (Nova Scotia), July 12th, 2000. The company limped on until 1917 although Cameron engines were used in other cars into the mid-1920s. Everett Cameron then moved into aviation where he spent the rest of his career. He died in 1965, aged 88.

CHAMPION SPARK PLUG  “(He also move to avoid conscription.)”:  The Fast Times of Albert Champion: From Record-Setting Racer to Dashing Tycoon, an Untold Story of Speed, Success, and Betrayal, Peter Nye, Prometheus Books, 2014.

“Today the brand is known as ACDelco.”:

” … Champion Spark Plugs was a headline sponsor of six-day cycle track racing …”:  “During the preparatory period for the Race I have been asked many times, why the head of the Champion Sparking Plug Co., is involved in organising a 6-Day Cycle Race. This was answered by my pointing out, that apart from being one of the Vice-Presidents of the British Cycle snd Motorcycle Industries Association … my forefathers were in at the beginning.” Huppert G. Starley, brochure for Skol International 6-Day Cycle Race, Earls Court, London, September 18-23 1967.

CHEVROLET ” … Chevrolet and his brothers Gaston and Arthur created their own brand of bicycle …”:

“The Frontenac Motor Corporation made racing parts for Henry Ford’s Model T.”: The Louis Chevrolet Adventure, Pierre Barras, Chevrolet, 2004.

CLÉMENT-PANHARD “Frenchman Adolphe Clément …”: Adolphe Clément was also known as Adolphe-Clément-Bayard. Clément added the Bayard to celebrate Pierre Bayard, a 15th century French knight, “the knight without fear or reproach.”

“… started and built up a bicycle manufacturing establishment which, in 1894, was considered one of the finest in France.”: Automobile Biographies: An Account of the Lives and the Work of Those Who Have Been Identified with the Invention and Development of Self-Propelled Vehicles on the Common Roads, Lyman Horace Weeks, The Monograph Press, New York, 1904.

“He also had a hand in making pneumatic tyres, motorcycles, aeroplanes …”: And bicycle disc wheels … “The steel disk wheel is, however, though very satisfactory in service, a rather heavy construction … A drawback of such wheels when applied to very light automobiles such as motocycles would certainly be the resistance offered by the wheel to a quartering wind, this being the direct cause of their abandonment when introduced in 1891 or 1892 for bicycles. A wheel of this kind was experimented with by the great French cycle house of Clement et Cie. in an attempt to produce a bullet proof cycle for war purposes …” The Automobile Magazine, July, 1902.

“Arthur Du Cros … called Clément, “the Dick Whittington of Paris.”: Wheels of fortune, a salute to pioneers, Arthur Du Cros, 1938.

“In 1877, he moved to Lyon and began manufacturing bicycles …”:

“In a company prospectus published in 1901 for a London motor-car firm …”: Motor Power Company Ltd. of London. Company Number 65098, BT31-8855.

“His fellow directors in this company were ex-racing cyclist and pneumatic tyre promoter Harvey Du Cros …”: Cycling, Lord Bury and Lacy-Hillier, Badminton Library of Sport.

” … Derek Keppel, Equerry to the Prince of Wales, was a keen cyclist …”: The Wheelwoman, August 13th, 1898.

“Among the anti-Dreyfusards were motoring pioneers …”: Many of the anti-Dreyfusards were anti-Semitic.

“Comte de Dion was jailed …”: The title of Compte, or count, was more honorific than real. Aristocratic titles had been swept away by the French Revolution.

“The industrialist owners appointed as editor Henri Desgrange …”: In 1893, Desgrange set the first World Hour record, of 35.325 kilometres.

“L’Auto-Vélo was an all-sports newspaper majoring on motoring …”: L’Auto is still published although its name was changed to L’Equipe, meaning the team.

CLULEY CARS “The company was also making motorcycles by 1901 but, according to trade directories …”: Spennell’s Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13.

CLYDE MOTORS ” … Wait was “a clever mechanic, and an old cyclist … ”: Motor Cycling, December 3rd, 1902.

CRYPTO CAR  “… he believed in “the courteous consideration of other users of the road.”: “1904 JAMES, William Gilbert, 29, Clerkenwell Road, London, E.C.; Caldecott Hill, Bushey Heath, Herts. Is managing-director of the Crypto Works Co., Ltd., which was established in 1872. Car: Crypto tri-car. Commenced motoring in 1900. Has driven 8,000 miles. Hobby: Cycling. Was at one time a successful cycle-racer, contemporary with Mr. S. F. Edge. Is a strong believer in the lighter type of motor-vehicle, and in the courteous consideration of other users of the road. Clubs: Bath Road, Herts Automobile (Committee).” Motoring Annual, 1904.

GOTTLIEB DAIMLER & WILHELM MAYBACH ” … creating the world’s first motorbike, albeit one with …”: There are other contenders for the first motorbike and the first automobile. In 1882 Enrico Bernardi made a petrol-engined tricycle and Siegfried Marcus is thought by many to have made the first automobile.

“In 1886, Daimler and Maybach placed an improved version of their engine on a modified horse carriage …”:

“Similar to the first Benz Patent Motorcar of 1886, this vehicle would be unthinkable without bicycle technology …”: World History of the Automobile, Erik Eckermann, Society of Automotive Engineers, Pittsburgh 2001.

“In the Meyers encyclopedia … Daimler’s automobile was listed in the bicycle section.”: Meyers Konversationslexikon, Book 16, 4th edition, 1885–90.

DARRACQ  “He is now the engineer and manager of one of the biggest factories in the world.”:  Automobile Biographies: An Account of the Lives and the Work of Those Who Have Been Identified with the Invention and Development of Self-Propelled Vehicles on the Common Roads, Lyman Horace Weeks, The Monograph Press, New York, 1904.

“Thomas Charles Willis Pullinger, who was a cycle racer and cycle maker.”:  1891 Census of Great Britain.

“Pullinger constructed one of the first (if not the first) small cars with … tubular frame …”: “In the old days, Pullinger was an eminent cyclist. He was good enough to try his pace against that of riders like Edge, Mills and Stocks … His next move was to start a bicycle repair business in Brockley Road, London…The bicycle repair business was closed down and works at New Cross, London, equipped for the manufacture of ‘Parade’ bicycles under the name of Pullinger & Company. M.D. Rucker [general manager of Humber] sent Pullinger to France in 1891 to learn all he could with a view to managing the French Humber works that never materialised. The following year he became designer and assistant to Mr. Darracq of Aucoc & Darracq (makers of Gladiator cycles) at Pré St. Gervais. He also looked after Mr. Darracq’s racing stable (including Nicodemie and Huret) and did a little road racing himself. ’T.C.P.’ Made another change in 1894, this time was works manager for Duncan & Suberbie were manufacturing D.S. Bicycles and motor-cycles under the patent of Hilderbrant & Wolfmüller, and Pullinger constructed one of the first (if not the first) small cars with … tubular frame and two seats side by side.” The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

DE DION-BOUTON  “Originally it made steam cars …”: Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886–1930, G.N. Georgano, Grange-Universal, 1990.

“To those interested in motoring, “H.O.D. is a household word …”: The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926. Duncan’s book may have been privately published but it was produced in a number of different versions, including single and two-volume editions. In the mid-1950s, H.O. Duncan’s son gave permission for a reprint of the work and this two-volume version of the book can often be found on the secondhand book market. First editions of the work are rare, and expensive.

“The Véloceman, first published in 1885 …”: L’Entraînement à l’usage des vélocipédistes, coureurs et touristes et des amateurs des Sports athlétiques, Herbert Osbaldeston Duncan, Louis Suberbie, Paris, 1890; Vingt ans de cyclisme pratique. Étude complète du cyclisme de 1876 à ce jour, Herbert Osbaldeston Duncan, Paris, 1898.

“Grandson of a Master of the Quorn Hunt in Leicestershire …”: “Squire” George Osbaldeston (1786–1866) was a colourful relative who won a great deal of money on sporting gambles and lost even more. Expelled from Eton, he was for a short time a politician. In his autobiography, Osbaldeston wrote: “There was a general election and my mother, in her political enthusiasm persuaded me to stand. I did so much against my inclination and was returned, but not without paying dearly for the distinguished honour, as it is deemed. I did not consider it an honour at all; I thought it a great bore.” He much preferred sport, especially flat, steeplechase horse races and carriage races. He was also a fine all-rounder cricket player but his passion was fox hunting. He had his own pack of hounds from the age of 16, and was later master of nine hunts, including the Quorn. Another sport of sorts, he no doubt felt, was that of seduction: staying at the house of a friend he seduced both his daughters on the same night. Thomas Seccombe, ‘Osbaldeston, George (1786–1866)’, rev. Iris M. Middleton, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

” … he met and befriended a fellow gentleman rider, Baron Frédéric de Civry …”: Duncan said de Civry was connected to the “Duke of Brunswick who died in 1873 and left the whole of his fortune (estimated at over £500,000) to the town of Geneva.”⁠ De Civry never saw a centime of his family’s money, despite a lengthy court case in the 1890s.

“On the Continent we were styled ‘the celebrated trio of champions’.”:  In an eight-year run starting in 1880, de Civry became one of the top racers of the day, both in England and on the Continent. He won the British 50-mile time trial championship in 1883, and recorded 210 other victories in 331 races.⁠ French Cycling: A Social and Cultural HistoryHugh Dauncey, Liverpool University Press, 2012.

“Duncan won the 50-mile time trial championships in the following three years.”:  In the mid-1880s Duncan raced against Fernand Charron, who would become a racing driver.

“Thanks to his friendship with de Civry and Médinger, Duncan settled in France …”: De Civry and Médinger died in 1893 and 1895, respectively, still young men. Duncan died at the age of 82, in France, sheltering in his girlfriend’s house, where he spent the Second World War.

DENNIS  “Dennis Specialist Vehicles Limited …”: “Bicycles, Motor Cycles, and Fire Engines”, World of Automobiles, Orbis, 1974.

DODGE  ” … based on a dirt-resistant ball-bearing assembly the brothers had patented the year before.”: US Patent No. 567,851, 1896.

“Leland went on to establish the Cadillac Motor Car Company …”

“Only later did the Ford factories make almost everything on site.”:  Far from being a genius move as is often portrayed, this was to prove Ford’s biggest mistake, locking him in to his own supply chain when other auto makers could pick and choose their suppliers, switching to better quality suppliers when necessary.

“The brothers were still visiting the Detroit Wheelmen’s  clubhouse in 1908.”

DURYEA   “Two bicycle mechanics built the first motor car to splutter along Washington D.C’s Pennsylvania Avenue.” Bicycle mechanics Frank and Charles Duryea brothers are recognised by the American Automobile Association as “Fathers of the American Automobile Industry.” Henry Ford said: “The Duryea car was a masterpiece. It did more to start the automobile business than any other car ever made.”

“The motor car was upstaged by eight baby elephants …”: Glory Road: Pennsylvania Avenue Past and Present, Marjorie Ashworth, Link Press, Washington D.C., 1986.

” … he worked in H. S. Owen, a bicycle shop in Washington, D.C.”: The 1893 Duryea Automobile In the Museum of History and Technology, Don H. Berkebile, 2009.

“A new motor carriage, which, if the preliminary tests prove successful as is expected …”:  The Springfield Evening Union, September 16th, 1893.

“It featured parts from a Columbia tricycle …”:  The 1893 Duryea Automobile In the Museum of History and Technology, Don H. Berkebile, 2009

“From the dawn of history to the present, civilization and roadways …”: LAW Bulletin and Good Roads, July 1894. “During the past summer Mr. O Lilienthal, of Berlin, has been practicing with aeroplanes of his own construction and with fully successful results in that he starts, soars and alights in an easy, safe and pleasant manner and with his machine under full control.” He revealed he had been working on flight experiments. “America should come to the front in this matter. Let energetic young men form a soaring club, build an aeroplane and practice with it till thoroughly proficient. Let them equip it with motor and note the results. Who will start the first soaring club and be first to use our universal roadway?” Little did he know it would be fellow bicycle builders, the Wright brothers.

“This was not a claim made by Duryea.”: “Mr. Duryea stated that they started near the last, but made better headway through the crowded London streets than the other vehicles, owing to the superior lightness and control of their vehicle. At … Reigate, 22 miles out, he had passed all the other vehicles. Here he halted, according to the official programme, took luncheon and waited for the other excursionists. The several Bollée tricycles, which had left London before him, came up soon after and passed on immediately toward Brighton, one of them reaching that place before him. After stopping for over an hour at Reigate Mr. Duryea continued on his journey, not, however, until the pilot carriage of President Lawson had led the way. Both the Duryea wagons reached Brighton, the second being somewhat retarded as compared with the first, by the fact that its passenger was a man weighing about 250 pounds. Mr. Duryea speaks enthusiastically of English roads. He says he could as easily make 20 to 25 miles an hour there as as 15 here.⁠” The Horseless Age, New York, December, 1896.

“It is interesting to speculate what such an amalgamation …”: The World on Wheels, H.O. Duncan, Paris, 1926. There was a later cycling connection for Duryea: long-time cycling journalist and motor pioneer Henry Sturmey formed an English company making Duryea cars in Coventry, in 1901. It lasted for six years, without huge success.

DÜRKOPP  “The company still exists today …”:

E.M.F. “While in Detroit the other day, I paid a visit to W. E. Metzger …”: The Automobile Magazine, September, 1902.

FORD  “Ford’s car was practically a remodelled bicycle …”: David T. Wells, writing in 1907, said: “Ford’s car was practically a remodelled bicycle. The engine which drove it was originally built from a bicycle, and the car itself … was mounted on bicycle wheels.” “The growth of the automobile industry in America,” David T. Wells, The Outing Magazine, November, 1907

” … Ford was still riding on the bicycle he had bought in 1893 …”: Because Henry Ford kept all his receipts we also know the exact date: February 10th 1893. He bought it from William Clifford’s bicycle shop in Detroit.

” … 77-year-old automotive billionaire …”: Ford was also a megalomaniac and deeply anti-Semitic, and reminisced over the “good old days”; Adolf Hitler idolised him. The feeling was mutual. The New York Times reported that a portrait of Henry Ford graced Hitler’s Munich office in 1922. Hitler praised Ford in Mein KampfThe New York Times, December 20th, 1922. According to Prince Louis Ferdinand, Hitler told him over lunch in 1933 that he was “a great admirer of Ford’s” and would do his “best to put his theories into practice in Germany.” Prinz Louis Ferdinand von Preussen, Als Kaiseren-kel durch die Welt, Berlin, 1952. In 1938, Ford accepted the Hitler-awarded “Grand Cross of the GermanEagle” from German diplomats at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn. There is a similarity between Ford’s anti-Semitic book The International Jew and Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Some passages are almost identical. Hitler also read Ford’s supposed ‘autobiography’, My Life and Work, a work compiled from interviews with Ford, which was published in 1922 and was a best seller in Germany. “Rethinking the Ford-Nazi Connection,” Stefan Johannes Link:

GARRARD ” … bold claim that this would be “The Carriage of the Future.”:  The Cyclist, June, 1894.

“He was tenth in the 100-mile national championships …”: Held at Leicestershire Cricket Ground in April 1882.

“The electric car was ahead of its time and didn’t gain traction.”:  Quoted in The Birth of the British Motor Car, 1769-1897: Last Battle, 1894-97 volume 3, T.R. Nicholson, Palgrave Macmillan, 1982.

GEORGE & JOBLING ” … the company occupied part of the factory that had previously been used by locomotive engineers Robert Stephenson …”: The first purpose-built locomotive works in the world was at 20 South Street in Newcastle, started in 1823. George & Jobling occupied Stephenson’s famous factory for over 60 years.

“In 1926, he went on a cycle tour across Morocco, during the Rif war …”: The Rif war, 1920-1927.

“For his 72nd birthday he piloted a plane and went on a cycle ride.”: “But flying has been only one of Mr George’s many accomplishments. I knew him first as a cyclist racing at 17 years of age, and later as a pioneer motor engineer and businessman in Newcastle and a racing car driver with experience all over the Continent.

“His cycling also extended abroad, after racing on local tracks at Newcastle, Ashington, Wallsend, Byker, Jarrow, Alnwick and Gosforth, and he was one of the district home team who won for Newcastle in a tournament that took the riders to various parts of the country.

“He won the NCU mile championships at North Durham in 1897, and in his travels in America, Canada and South Africa he came to represent the latter country in a world championship in Montreal in 1898. He met with varying success on the American circuit.

“His ideal cycle track is such as the Paris Velo of several laps to the mile with steeply banked sides whereon such spectacular riding can be witnessed, as it is never possible on the bigger circuits of our arenas.

“Beginning in motorcycling on tracks he went into the car business and in a racing career that included some of the most trying courses in Europe he drove an Itala car on the Brescia circuit in 1908 and took part in the Prince Henry Trials around the Alps in 1914.

“He had the distinction once of setting up a lap record in the TT car race in the Isle of Man, and was second one year and third another.

“And through all his varied career Mr George did extensive travelling until the war began and is acquainted with many countries.

“He admits that one of his most interesting tours was in 1926 when, during the Riffian war, he push biked through Morocco to the Great Atlas Mountains, where, on mule tracks, the only possible mechanical locomotion was on a cycle.” Weekly Chronicle, July 31st, 1948.

GMC  “This is when the corporate history of the brand starts but …”:

” … based at 380 Woodward Avenue, Detroit.”:  Business and professional directory of Detroit and surrounding towns, 1899.

“The brothers were keen cyclists and in 1896 Morris was on the entertainment committee of the Detroit Wheelmen …”: Detroit Free Press, March 8th, 1896.

“The clubhouse had an auditorium, a bowling alley …”: The clubhouse was situated on 53 E. Adams Street (where the Comerica Park stadium is today).

HILLMAN  “… the manufacture of which made Hillman a millionaire, enabling him to buy a Coventry mansion …”: Abingdon House, Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry.

HOUPT-ROCKWELL  ” … the downhillers that morphed into mountain bikers.”:  Famously, these coaster brakes had to be repacked with grease on every racing descent of Mt. Tamalpais and the impromptu race series became known as the “Repack”. This race series is the key founding event in the creation of the mountain bike. The coaster brake was “antiquated” by the 1970s and was soon replaced but in the early 1900s, the New Departure brake was lauded as “the brake that brought the bike back.” Joe Breeze, one of the original Repackers, told me by email:

“On Repack we used the kind of brake developed by New Departure. In fact, New Departure brakes are most responsible for the Repack name. Those old brakes were not up to test. By the bottom of the two-mile, 1300-foot-vertical downhill the grease in the hub would be vaporized into a contrail of smoke. After repacking new grease into those old New Departure Model D hubs so many times, we deemed them ‘parade level’.

“The Morrow coaster brake was the best. It was made by the Eclipse Machine Division (of Bendix) in Elmira, New York. The Morrow had a larger diameter body, which gave it more runs between repacking. Most all the brake hubs used in the early Repack races were of the coaster type. They were all designed, if not made, in the 1930s, and based on the first New Departure hubs of 1898. Other common brands were Muscleman and Bendix.”

“In 1912, Rockwell incorporated the Yellow Taxicab Company …”: The turning wheel; the story of General Motors through twenty-five years, 1908-1933, Arthur Pound, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., New York, 1934.

HUMBER   “At first, Humber made these in a shed at the back of his house …”: 65 Northumberland Street, Nottingham.

“In the same year, Humber entered into partnership with T. Harrison Lambert …”: It’s believed Lambert was the first purchaser of a Humber bicycle.

“When it started to make Beeston-Humber motor cars at the turn of the century …”:  In 1907, the works was transferred to Coventry.

“In 1905, a company advert showed 62 members of royalty, nobility and high society on Humber cycles.”:  1905 advert for Humber:

A few riders of Humber Cycles.

As is well known, many members of our Royal Family are fond of cycling. But it is not so commonly understood that His Majesty the King, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Connaught, Princess Louise, The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, The Duchess of Fife, and Princesses Maud and Victoria of Wales, unite in honouring the world-famous ‘Humber Cycles’ by riding them.

HM King Edward the IIV

HRH Prince of Wales

General Baden Powell

Rt Hon A. J. Balfour

Lady Randolph Churchjill

Earl of De La Warr

Countess of De la Warr

“Chrysler acquired the Humber brand from the Rootes Group in 1967 …”:

IVEL MOTOR WORKS  ” … which he manufactured in the outbuildings of the Ongley Arms.”:  His parents were the sitting tenants; Albone had been born in the inn; the outbuildings became known as the Danneries.

“In the following year he produced a women’s Safety bicycle …”: “Some sensation was caused in the High Street, Bedford, on Tuesday by Dan Albone of Biggleswade on a Pneumatic Safety with a wicker chair in front, in which was seated his little boy. At two or three stopping places crowds assembled around the machine and took stock of the little voyager.” Bedfordshire Times, May 23rd, 1891.

“The Ivel Cycle Company was employing almost 100 men by 1887 …”: Dan Albone: cyclist, inventor, and manufacturer, L. Irvine and R. Miller, 2011.

“ … whose cheery nature is proverbial, …”: Wheel World, October 1886.

“… the roads in good condition …” as this was “the haunt of record-breaking cyclists.”: The Autocar, April 29th, 1899.

” … Albone’s meet …”: In 1964, the Albone glacier in Antarctica was named for “Smiling Dan”, the cycling, motoring and farming pioneer.

JEEP  “Toledo was America’s bicycle capital …”

“… there’s no disputing that Toledo was one of America’s foremost bicycle manufacturing centres …”: Bike brands in Toledo included Gendron, Yost and Lozier and many accessory brands.

“… Toledo’s auto factories were set up by bicycle businesses …”:

” … a former bicycle man, John North Willys …”: His name is pronounced ‘Will-iss’.

LEAMINGTON MOTOR CAR WORKS  “It is only two months since Mr. Charles Crowden got to work at Coventry …”: The Autocar, January 1897.

” … Crowden left the Motor Mills in 1898 and by the following year was described as a motor car manufacturer …”:

LEWIS  “Lewis started his business in 1893 as Ormonde Bicycle Depot …”:

“One of the novelties of cycle building has recently been turned out by Mr. Vivian Lewis …”: The Critic, March 11th, 1899.

MORRIS  “William Richard Morris admired English fascist leader Oswald Mosley …”: Morris put up £50,000 to help found Mosley’s New Party in 1930. Once Mosley became more extreme, Morris withdrew his support.

” … the many cycling trophies Morris had won took pride of place in his spartan office.”:  The life of Lord Nuffield, P.W.S. Andrews and Elizabeth Brunner, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1955.

“Everyone knows something of the story of the apprentice in a bicycle repairing shop …”: The life of Lord Nuffield, P.W.S. Andrews and Elizabeth Brunner, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1955.

“For his benevolence … he was later ennobled as Viscount Nuffield.”:  In the 1930s, Morris funded the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research, and Nuffield College. In the 1940s he funded the Nuffield Foundation for medical, scientific and social research. Morris/Nuffield helped establish a network of provident societies that became the British United Provident Association (BUPA). He established a medical school in Oxford and a university college, too.

“His first enterprise was a bicycle repair shop, started in 1893 …”: 16 James Street, Cowley, Oxford. Google Streetview:

“Through graft and guile Morris built up a successful bicycle business, with rented premises …”: 48 High Street, Oxford.

OPEL  “He did not live to see the company’s first automobile.”:  In 2013, at the opening of Eurobike, the world’s biggest bicycle show, held annually in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor quoted Adam Opel. She said he wrote: “The bicycle combines what is pleasurable with what is useful like no other invention.” Shortly before his death he said about the automobile in general: “This kind of stink box (Stinkkasten) will never be more than a toy for millionaires who can’t think of better ways of throwing away their money.”

“Wilhelm took over the company after his father’s death …”: German TV documentary on the Opel “dynasty”:

“As in other countries, the cycle played an amazing part in launching many men into the automobile industry …”: The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

“Friedrich … was the most successful cyclist among the Opel brothers, winning more than 180 races …”:

“Wilhelm founded the Academic Cycling Club … which later became the Corps Franconia Darmstadt, a right-wing student fraternity …”: Wilhelm Opel joined the Nazi party in 1933. It was Wilhelm and Fritz who were in charge of the automobile company, although it became part of General Motors in 1929. While under GM ownership Adam Opel AG made engines for the Luftwaffe’s JU-88 bomber and also built land mines and torpedo detonators. GM’s links to the Nazi war machine is well-documented in Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives, Edwin Black, Dialog Press, 2006.

ORIENT  “It is one of history’s givens that Henry Ford’s Model T sold in its millions …”: The Model T cost $850 when launched in 1908.

“In fact, like much of the received wisdom concerning Ford, it’s plain wrong.”:  Any colour you want so long as it’s black? In the first six years of its existence, the Model T was available in grey, green, blue or red, but not black. “History is bunk.” Actually, Ford did say that, and he also said “History is more or less bunk.” But he later disputed he meant the phrase to disparage history per se. “History is more or less bunk.” Crawfordsville Review, June 6th, 1916. “History is bunk, says Henry Ford,” The New York Times, October 28th, 1921.

” … Orient had been one of America’s best-known brands of bicycle throughout the 1890s.”: An Orient bicycle was immortalised in a famous advertising poster by Edward Penfield, the leading artist of the “Golden Age of American illustration.”

” … buying into Waltham Manufacturing Co. in order to exploit the technical expertise of Waltham’s precision engineers …”:  Waltham Manufacturing Co. started life in 1854 as the Waltham Watch Co.

“He was granted more than 20 patents for his bicycle innovations …”: The patents of Charles H. Metz include: Bicycle Pedal Improvement Patent 546071 September 10th, 1895; Wheel Setting Machine Patent 557,002 March 24th, 1896; Design for a Pedal Shaft Patent 25,336 March 31st, 1896; Jack invention for Truing Wheels Patent 557,001 March 24th, 1896; Curley Crank Pedal Patent 604,919 May 31st, 1898; Design for a bicycle frame Patent 29,478 October 11th, 1898; Design for a Gear-Case Member Patent 30,409 March 28th, 1899; Design for a Gear Case Member Patent 30,410 March 28th, 1899; Design for a crank shaft member Patent 30,537 April 11th 1899; Design for a bicycle shaft October 18th 1898; Design for bicycle handlebar extension Patent 31,007 June 13th, 1899; Bicycle Patent 660,488 October 23rd, 1900; Bicycle Gearing Patent 660,449 October 23rd, 1900

“Metz certainly had the salesman’s touch – [producing] a ten-seater cycle in 1898, the Oriten.”: This still exists. It was acquired by The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

” … the first vehicle of this sort to be made in this country, and is the product of French ingenuity …”:  Automobile also said that Orient “[would] occupy an entire block of space” at the Automobile Exhibit at Madison Square Garden taking place in December: [Orient’s] exhibit is to be a complete and varied one, consisting as it will of motor bicycles, autogos, runabouts and victoriettes … The Orient autogo, in the three-wheel model, has, during the past season, shown its superiority over French and American racing machines by winning most of the events and making new world’s records at the Automobile Exposition at the Fair at St. Louis and at the Chicago tournament. The autogo which made the world’s records and which was ridden by Albert Champion, will occupy a place in the exhibit, and is sure to be an object of much interest.⁠” Automobile, November, 1900.

” … Waltham Manufacturing Co. wasn’t very profitable and Metz was charged with turning round its fortunes.”:  He came up with the “Metz Plan”, selling the component parts of a full automobile in 14 do-it-yourself parts. Each kit sold for $27 and many such “kit cars” were built around the US. It was also possible to buy the kit car whole, for $600.

OVERMAN AUTOMOBILE  “In the 1890s, both were funding the Good Roads campaign spearheaded by the League of American Wheelmen.”:  “Money is needed for this work and we can use to splendid advantage a fund of $50,000 during the present year. Let us begin at once to raise this amount. The splendid contributions of Colonel Pope ($4,000), and President Overman ($6,000), and The George R. Bidwell Cycle Co. ($1,000), show that a few broad-minded citizens are appreciative of the League’s work and are willing and anxious to aid it. Every manufacturer of or dealer in bicycles and carriages, every FARMER and MERCHANT, EVERY WHEELMAN AND EVERY CITIZEN WHO USES THE PUBLIC HIGHWAYS SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THIS FUND. ISAAC B. POTTER, chairman, POTTER BUILDING, NEW YORK CITY” LAW Bulletin and Good Roads, February, 1893.

PEUGEOT  “The peculiar adaptability of the cycle trade for the construction of [autocars] …”:  The Autocar, November 23rd, 1895.

PIERCE-ARROW  Pierce-Arrow motor cars … were … favoured by pashas, princes and presidents.”:  In 1909, US President William Howard Taft ordered two Pierce-Arrow cars, the first official White House automobiles. Pierce-Arrows served as presidential vehicles from Taft to Roosevelt. Foreign royals, diplomats and business tycoons, including John D. Rockefeller, the Shah of Persia, J. Edgar Hoover, the secret service, and many more all drove Pierce-Arrows.

“By 1888 the firm was making cycles …”:

“It didn’t give up making two-wheelers when it started to make automobiles, and carried on making bicycles until 1915.”:

PUCH  “Company founder Johann Puch … made his first cycles in 1889 in a small workshop in Graz.”:  Fahrradfabrikation Strauchergasse 18a

RAMBLER  “Wherever in the world a bicycle is ridden there is the name of Thomas B. Jeffery known.”: The Automobile Magazine, March, 1902.

“Jeffery was born in … England …”:  He was born at 3 Mill Pleasant in Stoke, Devon, England.

“As a maker of scientific instruments …”: Jeffery also patented the “clincher” method of attaching wire-beaded bicycle tyres to wheel rims. This is the ancestor of all today’s clincher tyres.

“The Rambler name was applied to Gormully & Jeffery’s first Safety bicycle.” Was it based on Rover, the Safety bicycle produced by John Kemp Starley of Coventry, England?

ROLLS-ROYCE  “Rolls grew up in the age of the bicycle …”: J. Jeremy, ‘Rolls, Charles Stewart (1877–1910)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

“Like all prominent motorists, [Rolls] was a speedy cyclist.”: The World on Wheels, H. O. Duncan, Paris, 1926.

ROOTES  “The roots of the Rootes Group can be traced to Goudhurst  …”: Church House and Church Cottage are now one and it’s a listed building: Postcode: TN17 1AJ  The Trusty name was a popular one in the 1890s. Other Trusty bicycles were made by Brighton Cycleries of Brighton; Lindsay Brothers of Milwaukee, USA; and Robert Middlemiss of Gateshead.

“In 1898, he moved his bicycle business to the nearby village of Hawkhurst …”:  A plaque on this shop says: “William Rootes (1870–1955) Pioneer of the motor industry traded from these premises in the early 20th century. The business was developed into the Rootes Group.”

ROVER  “John Kemp Starley … designed an early motor car …”: Because of tight restrictions on motor car use in Britain, Starley had to test his prototype electric car in France. He spent some time with it in the resort town of Deauville in Normandy.

“… his greater claim to motoring fame is for using the name Rover.”:  The Motor Car and Politics, 1896-1970, William Plowden, 1971.

“The 1885 Rover Safety went through a number of important changes …”:  The first Rover Safety – with a 36 inch front wheel and bridle rods not a raked front fork – was far from perfect and Starley, with the help of Sutton, modified the design, creating the second Rover in 1885, a bicycle with nearly equal sized wheels and, critically, direct steer forks.

” … based in Coventry thanks to John Kemp’s uncle, James Starley …”:  John Kemp Starley lived with his uncle’s family when he was apprenticed to James Starley’s business.

SIDDELEY   “He joined the riders at some locations, pacing them …”:  George Mills in 1891 and Tommy Edge in 1892. During the Edge ride, Siddeley rode 90 miles of the 874 as pacemaker.

“In 1897, he became managing director of the Clipper Pneumatic Tyre Company …:” The Morning Post, March 10th, 1897.

SINGER “In 1878, Singer patented a type of raked fork …”: Most bicycle front forks have a “rake”, or offset, that places the fork ends forward of the steering axis. This is achieved by curving the blades forward, angling straight blades forward, or by placing the fork ends forward of the centreline of the blades. This makes the bicycle more stable and allows for a self-centring castor action to the steering.

“The makers of cycles and their component parts … are at the present time enjoying a period of entirely unexampled prosperity.” The Cycling World Illustrated, May 27th, 1896.

STAR MOTOR COMPANY  ” … racing driver Selwyn Edge said in 1900 that the Star was “the best car of its class …”: Wheeling, March 28th, 1900.

“In 1898, engineers at the Star Cycle Company disassembled and copied a Benz Velocipede …”: British Car Factories from 1896, Paul Collins & Michael Stratton, Michael, Veloce Publishing, 1993.

SUNBEAM  “The Sunbeam 350hp established land-speed records in 1922 and was bought by Malcolm Campbell …”: Campbell bought the car from fellow racing driver Kenelm Lee Guinness. It is now on display at the Beaulieu Motor Museum in the New Forest.

“Sunbeam was founded in 1887 by John Marston …”: Marston was mayor of Wolverhampton in 1889 and 1890.

“Sunbeam bicycles were nearly twice the price of other bicycles …”:  The most expensive Sunbeam bicycle – the “Golden” – featured real gold leaf trims. Other frame colours were also available but black remained the top seller. The Royal Sunbeam was also available in olive green, dark cherry, or dark navy blue.

“It was Villiers … that made the first Sunbeam motor cars.”:  Wolverhampton Cycles and Cycling, Jim Boulton, Brian Publications, 1988.

“Each morning an employee in uniform would set off to Marston’s house …”:

TRIUMPH MOTOR COMPANY  “The company was founded in 1886 by a German …”: Bettmann moved to England in 1884, founding the S. Bettmann & Co. Import Export Agency, in London. This imported bicycles and bicycle parts from Germany.

“Triumph motorbikes sold well in America …”: Marlon Brando rode a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird in the 1953 movie, The Wild One.

WINTON MOTOR CARRIAGE COMPANY  “The 1898 coverage in Scientific American worked: Winton sold 22 hand-built cars that year …”: The first purchaser, in March 1898, was industrialist Robert Allison of Port Carbon, Pennsylvania.⁠

“Alas! Poor equine.”: The Autocar, April 17th, 1897.

” … Winton was described as the mechanical superintendent at the Winton Bicycle Company …”:  The Horseless Age, November, 1896.

” … he started making his own bicycle parts, some of which used his improved and patented means of installing ball bearings.”: US Patent No. 511,228. granted Dec. 19, 1893. “This wedging and angular revolution of the balls is increased greatly in the rear driving wheel when climbing hills, owing to the increased pull upon the hub of the wheel.”

“With cash support from his brother-in-law Thomas W. Henderson …”:  Winton traded from premises at 130 Perkins Avenue, Cleveland.

“He patented a number of bicycle innovations, one of which … was cited in a patent by Cannondale Bicycle Corporation …”: US patent US500177

“Winton would use shaft-drives in his early motor cars.” He also used cycle-style chain drives.

“… people tend to equate Henry Ford with all the major automotive accomplishments, but … Winton held the groundbreakers …”: Famous but Forgotten: The Story of Alexander Winton, Automotive Pioneer and Industrialist, Thomas F. Saal and Bernard J. Golias, Golias Publishing, Inc., 1997.

“In a second race the following year bicycle racer Barney Oldfield raced a Ford against Winton …”:

“Bud the dog didn’t like the dust thrown up from the roads …”: Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Charles B. Shanks became Winton’s advertising manager. Bud the dog is the cartoon mascot of the Smithsonian’s “America on the Move” exhibition, a permanent exhibition at Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

“… substantially built, exceedingly easy to ride in, and well calculated to stand the rough work of American roads.”: The Autocar, October 28th, 1899.

“Winton’s first cars used tillers to steer; in 1900 he started to use steering wheels …”: