Grand Velocipede Tournament in Dundee (1869)

Grand Velocipede Tournament in Dundee

Since the appearance of the bicycle in our streets many persons have begun to use it and it is now a common thing to see numbers of young men practicing upon it on an evening. Those who have been trained to work and guide the bicycle properly state that is not only a most excellent means of accomplishing a long journey in a comparatively short time, but highly conducive to muscular development and therefore beneficial to health. For this reason performances on the bicycle have been taught at the Gymnasium in the Drill Hall for some time past and now form a branch of the gymnastic education, conveyed to the pupils under Mr Herbert. Mr Herbert is himself very expert in the use of the bicycle and is therefore highly competent to instruct those who wish to learn how to manage it. A considerable number of young men are at present under his tuition and last night, in order to excite greater interest in the gymnasium, as well as to show the value of the bicycle as a means of conveyance, a grand velocipede tournament took place in the Drill Hall, which was witnessed by a pretty large audience. The whole area of the hall, with the exception of a few yards at the sides for the accommodation of spectators, was set apart for the tournament. The following is the programme:-

                        1.         Grand March

                        2.         Tricycle Performance

                        3.         First lesson on the bicycle

                        4.         Steeplechase

                        5.         Fancy Riding

                        6.         Follow my Leader

                        7.         Tilting

                        8.         Broadsword Combat

                        9.         Catch Me who Can

                        10.       Voluntary Practice

In the Grand March Mr Herbert and five of his pupils appeared and were welcomed with loud applause. The square of the Hall was first described by the velocipedists, when they passed up the centre in pairs, dividing at the top and again meeting in pairs at the bottom. The bicycle performance was more fitted to show the advantage of that machine for boys than for grown-up persons and was very successfully executed by Master Chalmers. The “first lesson” afforded great amusement and many a hearty laugh was enjoyed at the expense of the “beginner,” who was represented by Mr Herbert himself, the “master” being Mr George Warrall, Mr Herbert showed the awkwardness with which a learner generally commences his exercises, the difficulty experienced in guiding the machine and keeping proper balance; and the many zig-zag courses made, the contortions of the body and the repeated falls on the floor, were provocative of the greatest laughter. The steeplechase was very exerting. Mattresses, to represent fences, were placed round the hall at intervals of forty feet and over these the velocipedists ran with great rapidity and without much apparent difficulty. Perhaps the most interesting feature in the programme was the “fancy-riding” as shown by Messrs Herbert and Duncan, who seemed to be able to do almost anything which it is possible to do on the bicycle. While both showed how the machine could be guided without using the feet or the hands, as well as the different ways in which it can be used by ladies, Mr Herbert performed what was looked upon by all as extraordinary feats. That gentleman fired a gun juggled first with two and then with three balls and lastly showed how a velocipedist on a journey might take a quick “nap.” The second part of the programme was no less entertaining and amusing. The broadsword combating and tilting were perhaps the most exciting while “catch me who can” – in which it was the aim of the velocipedists to pick a rose from the shoulder of Mr Herbert was exceedingly laughable. The whole tournament came off most successfully; and from the interest which seemed to be taken in it by those present, there is every likelihood that the use of the bicycle in Dundee will soon be very greatly extended. The proceedings were under the patronage of the officers of the Artillery and Rifle Volunteers and among those present were Lieutenant-Colonel Alison and Colonel Sandeman. The band of the Rifle Volunteers, under the leadership of Mr Warren, added much to the pleasure of the entertainment by playing in admirable style a selection of classical music. In the Grand March Mr Herbert and five of his pupils appeared and were welcomed with loud applause. The square of the Hall was first described by the velocipedists, then they passed up the centre in pairs, dividing at the top and again meeting in pairs at the bottom. The bicycle performance was more fitted to show the advantage of that machine for boys than for grown-up persons and was very successfully executed by Master Chalmers. The “first lesson” afforded great amusement and many a hearty laugh was enjoyed at the expense of the “beginner,” who was represented by Mr Herbert himself, the “master” being Mr George Worrall, Mr Herbert showed the awkwardness with which a learner generally commences his exercises, the difficulty experienced in guiding the machine and keeping proper balance; and the many zig-zag courses made, the contortions of the body and the repeated falls on the floor, were provocative of the greatest laughter. The steeplechase was very exerting. Mattresses, to represent fences, were placed round the hall at intervals of forty feet and over these the velocipedists ran with great rapidity and without much apparent difficulty. Perhaps the most interesting feature in the programme was the “fancy-riding” as shown by Messrs Herbert and Duncan, who seemed to be able to do almost anything which it is possible to do on the bicycle. While both showed how the machine could be guided without using the feet or the hands, as well as the different ways in which it can be used by ladies, Mr Herbert performed what was looked upon by all as extraordinary feats. That gentleman fired a gun juggled first with two and then with three balls and lastly showed how a velocipedist on a journey might take a quick “nap.” The second part of the programme was no less entertaining and amusing. The broadsword combating and tilting were perhaps the most exciting while “catch me who can” – in which it was the aim of the velocipedists to pick a rose from the shoulder of Mr Herbert was exceedingly laughable. The whole tournament came off most successfully; and from the interest which seemed to be taken in it by those present, there is every likelihood that the use of the bicycle in Dundee will soon be very greatly extended. The proceedings were under the patronage of the officers of the Artillery and Rifle Volunteers and among those present were Lieutenant-Colonel Alison and Colonel Sandeman. The band of the Rifle Volunteers, under the leadership of Mr Warren, added much to the pleasure of the entertainment by playing in admirable style a selection of classical music. In the Grand March Mr Herbert and five of his pupils appeared and were welcomed with loud applause. The square of the Hall was first described by the velocipedists, then they passed up the centre in pairs, dividing at the top and again meeting in pairs at the bottom. The bicycle performance was more fitted to show the advantage of that machine for boys than for grown-up persons and was very successfully executed by Master Chalmers. The “first lesson” afforded great amusement and many a hearty laugh was enjoyed at the expense of the “beginner,” who was represented by Mr Herbert himself, the “master” being Mr George Worrall, Mr Herbert showed the awkwardness with which a learner generally commences his exercises, the difficulty experienced in guiding the machine and keeping proper balance

The Dundee Courier & Argus, June 19, 1869

 

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