More NCU Material (1883)

Sir – Your interesting leader in The Times of today marks a new departure in the fascinating pursuit of cycling. For the first time you demonstrate that a wide distinction should be drawn betwixt the tricycle and the bicycle. Hitherto there has existed a curious confusion in the minds of most people on the subject. Only the other day, when I appeared on my Humber tricycle at the Wimbledon Rifle meeting, I was ordered to dismount at the entrance door and so had to push my tricycle ignominiously to Lady Brownlow’s tent, for nearly half a mile over a dusty road way between multitudinous cabs, carriages and four in hands. Now, in reality, logically speaking, it would have been much more reasonable to have made the drivers of these carriages get down and lead their horses, for, beyond doubt, a well made tricycle is much more under control than a horse and carriage. So much, however, cannot be said for a bicycle; unless when in actual motion it lacks stability and thus becomes a source of danger where the space is limited, as is the case of a crowded thoroughfare. Yet, notwithstanding this great and very obvious difference, the powers that be place both machines in the same category and under the same restrictions. One glaring instance of this will suffice:- Because Richmond Park had been closed to bicyclists, therefore Mr Shaw Lefevre declines to allow tricyclists to pass through it. Some horses, I admit, do not at first like the look of a tricycle, but horses can be accustomed to anything in the way of sight-seeing; witness the manner they work at railway stations; therefore, without going so far as to advocate the admission of tricycles to a place like Hyde Park, I do think the time has arrived for removing the disabilities they at present labour under, so as to give them the same privileges as those accorded to carriages drawn by horses.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

A Campbell-Walker

Ashley House Walton on Thames, Sept 8

The Times, Tuesday, Sep 11, 1883; pg. 10

Sir – I observe that the police have issued a notice cautioning riders of bicycles and tricycles against racing on the highways and threatening to prosecute any persons guilty of such conduct. As the secretary of the National Cyclists’ Union, a body which was founded in 1878 for the protection of the interests of all cyclists and which is the governing body in cycling affairs, I would desire to call attention to the fact that the National Cyclists’ Union has throughout discountenances to the full any such violation of the law as that referred to in the police notice and has, in fact, incurred some odium among a certain number of cyclists by its refusal to be a party to any such breach of the law.

The Union feels that the true interests of cyclists will be best served by its being shown to the general public that riders of bicycles and tricycles are law abiding and the Union feels very strongly that any attempts to violate the law in the direction indicated would necessarily lead to restrictions of a harassing character being placed upon the riders of such machines. The Union hopes that all riders will to the utmost support the constituted authorities in preventing any such unlawful conduct.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Robert Todd, Hon Sec

National Cyclists’ Union, 17 Ironmonger Lane, EC Sept 27

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