Teaching Cleveland

Lesson 13


The Wheels and Those Who Ride Upon Them.


All sorts of Bicyclists and Bicycles on Euclid Avenue.

More Than Six Thousand of the Noiseless Steeds Owned in This City -- The Dude and the Scorcher -- Bells and Lights.

Six thousand bicycles are owned in Cleveland and if an estimate made by a leading dealer, yesterday, is accurate. Ninety percent of them are safety bicycles with pneumatic tires, and their value exceeds $500,000. Three hundred Cleveland women own bicycles and the number is rapidly increasing. More women are making inqueries, indicating possible purchases than ever before. It is estimated that two thousand children have been pro-vided by doting parents with the steeds that don't balk or cause their owners anxiety as to the state of the hay crop. Fashions in wheels are changing constantly, but the leading question for debate at present is the weight best suited for ordinary uses. Formerly forty pounds was considered a good weight for a road wheel. Last year thirty pounds was considered the correct thing, but the greater number of those who invest this year will select wheels varying from twenty-four to twenty-seven pounds in weight. The lightest road wheels manufactured weigh twenty-one pounds. The ordinary racing weight is from eighteen to twenty-two pounds.

So many of the six thousand travel along Euclid avenue that the daily parade there has be-come on the sights of the city. They are most numerous after work-hours on a pleasant day, but those bound toward the business district in the early morning outnumber even Coxey's conquering host. While the trips down town are spread over several hours, however, the homeward jour-neys of the wheelmen are nearly all undertaken between 5 and 6 o'clock. Their presence pro-mises to make Euclid avenue, east of Erie street, quite a popular promenade. People have found that a review of the flying wheelman is of the greatest interest. Costumes and attitudes catch their attention. A study of the individuals of the "bikes", shows such a wide range from the admirable to the grotesque that the street cars are losing patronage because of the attraction....

A man of dignity managed to excite a great deal of com-ment last evening. He sat bolt upright, his fingers resting gingerly on the handle bars, which were breast high. He wore a silk hat and the flowing tails of his frock coat floated in the breeze. Perhaps he regarded exertion as undignified and the slow and steady manner in which he manipulated the pedals of his low geared wheel indi-cated that he did not propose to make work of the trip. Near Huntington street he exchanged disdainful looks with a "scorcher." The latter was a youth of seventeen, of athletic build and no extra clothing. He wore a close-fitting cap. A sweater, knickerbockers, black stockings and canvas shoes. He hustled along as though he expected to overtake Zimmerman at the next block. His handle bars were lowered and his back had a two minute class curve. An occasional brush with other speedy young men seemed to please him, but the upright dude made him weary. He excited similar sentiments in the dude and they did not speak nor salute as the scorcher passed.

Many of the young men of business wore their everyday clothes, and some had their dinner boxes strapped to the handle bars....

Young ladies with glowing cheeks and sparkling eyes spin along in the daily avenue parade. They seem to enjoy the sport immensely. Some of the spectators are wondering when the first of them will appear in the feminine uniform which had been adopted by radicals of the sex in the East-bloomers. The bloomers are growing in favor in the East, and half the lady bicyclists of France are said to wear them. There may come a day when somebody in Cleveland will boldly adopt the innovation, but becoming costumes with skirts have proved quite satisfactory up to the present.

Bells and lanterns must be attached to bicycles this year. Riders must shun the sidewalks and limit their speed to 15 miles per hour.

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