Bicycle Sports in Sheffield (1869)

Bicycle Sports in Sheffield

The curious have had ample opportunities during the week of witnessing at the Artillery Practice Ground the art of riding the bicycle. The champions of the Liverpool Velocipede Club, Mr H Brown and Mr C Brown the younger, apparently about nineteen years of age, were the principal riders. The sports commenced on Monday by several of the Sheffield amateurs trying their hand and some of them managed round the uneven ground at a good speed and to maintain their equilibrium without much difficulty. Others, whose skill was not so great or experienced so long, occasionally came to a dead stand by the machine falling on one side, and the rider finding his legs as best he could. There was a marked contrast between the riding of the Sheffield amateurs and the two gentlemen from Liverpool. The ground on which they rode was much against them showing their complete control over the bicycle, as it is small, on an incline and very uneven. They were only able to describe a circle of about twelve yards in diameter. The younger of the two was the principal rider in the morning, his brother saving himself for the Chesterfield athletic sports. After trying the ground at a rattling pace, Mr C Brown worked his bicycle with one foot, steering it with the bar. He next worked it slowly with both feet, without using the steering apparatus, a feat very difficult of accomplishment. He then lifted one foot to the fore part of the machine, resting it on a bar on a level with his body and in that position he worked the machine with the other foot, at the same time using the apparatus. After he had again set the bicycle in motion he placed both feet on a level with his body and then sent his bicycle round the ground. The two then ran their machines side by side, each rider holding the steering apparatus of his brother’s bicycle and in his novel way they went round the ground two or three times with the greatest ease. To jump off and on the bicycle whilst the machine was in motion was like child’s play. It is quite enough for ordinary riders to keep the machine erect, but Mr C Brown, after having gained a good speed, rose from the saddle, and by a quick movement stood on the top of it with one foot, the other being in the air and in this way he went nearly two-thirds round the circle, and then regained his seat without stopping the machine. Another feat was that of riding side-saddle and working the bicycle with one foot. The greatest feat with the bicycle, as all learners know, is being able to go slowly as to move almost at a snail’s pace and now and then he almost stood still. The smallest circle which he described was  5ft 1 inches in diameter, but on good ground, it is said, he has made a circle the diameter of which was only equal to the length of the machine. Mr H Brown, we believe, has done a mile in two minutes and a half and he succeeded on Monday in pulling off the prize in the bicycle race at Chesterfield. He then started for Sheffield, in company with Mr Adams, on their iron horses, Mr Brown carrying the prize he had won at the head of his bicycle. They did the distance, which is twelve miles, with some uphill work, in about an hour and twenty minutes. This included all stoppages. Messrs Brown again exhibited their skill on the bicycle, on Tuesday, at the Artillery ground, to a large number of spectators. In addition to the feats already described, they tested the bicycle in riding over clogs of wood, 4 ½ inches high, 3 inches across, about a yard long and placed about four yards apart and succeeded in riding over them several times without being dismounted. They next tried to mount a plank five inches high, by an incline and managed to travel a distance of twelve yards, the width of the plank being only eight inches. One of the spectators put a penny in the ground edgeways and asked the younger brother (Mr C Brown) to ride over it, which he did at the first attempt. Since the brothers have been in Sheffield they have tried to mount some of our hills and have succeeded in getting up Snighill, Pond Hill and have gone from Norfolk Street to Broomhill. On Thursday, at the Queen’s Hotel Ground, a velocipede tournament was held. There was a large assemblage of spectators and the affair cannot fail to be a paying speculation to its promoters.

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, May 22, 1869; pg. 11

Leave a Reply