Cycle Training with Friends - in 1887!
The CTC (Cyclists Touring Club) was a bright young thing when this was written!
I have in my posession an 1887 copy of the Badminton Library's 'Cycling' book. This is a substancial volume covering all aspects of cycling at that time and is utterly fascinating - both to see the changes that have taken place and the things that have stayed the same. Here are a few short pieces lifted from this age where the Penny Farthing Bicycle was king, where there were no cars and when 'Gentlemen' rode bikes:-)
Except in the cases of some few peculiarly constituted riders, a solitary trip is a very slow performance, and the presence of at least one companion brightens things up materially; yet the rider had better go alone than journey with a disagreeable companion (though this is a truism appli- cable to every step in life), or a man very much slower than himself. Two fairly equal riders greatly assist one another in maintaining a good rate of progression, as when one is a little tired the other brings him along, and when this man tires the other has perhaps again got into his stride.
Large parties are scarcely so satisfactory, especially where club rules are rigidly enforced, as the men are then required to keep together, and this of course means that the whole party proceeds at the pace of the slowest rider, which after a few miles becomes very irksome to the faster riders. Under such conditions loose riding should always be permitted, and, if possible, the slower men should be persuaded to start somewhat earlier than their more speedy companions.
If a man can find no one to travel with him among his immediate friends, and if he is so bent on companionthip as to be willing to take his chance of finding a congenial spirit, a notification may be put in the ' C. T. C. Gazette,' asking for a consort. It is always well for riders who put in such a request to state as clearly as possible their social position, so that the associate chosen may be suitable. Under these circumstances many a pleasant tour has been made and many a hearty friendship established.
The first step a tourist should take after he has acquired a sufficient knowledge of his vehicle and confidence in himself is to join the Cyclists' Touring Club, an association formed especially to promote the interests of tourists in every way. The subscription is but 2s. 6d. with an entrance fee of is., and the rider having filled up a form will have to wait a longer or shorter time for his ticket. He should then purchase the ' C. T. C. Handbook,' which contains an infinity of valuable information. This preliminary is given a foremost place in the present chapter as there is some delay in election, owing to the name of the candidate having to appear in the monthly gazette of the club, and it is therefore highly desirable that the intending tourist should lose no time in putting up for election.
A Small Favour
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