The General Bicycle Meet (1879)

The General Bicycle Meet

Phoenix Park was en fete upon Saturday, when the first general meet of Irish bicyclists was brought to a most successful issue, the afternoon being beautifully fine. The affair created an immense amount of interest and probably not since the memorable Sunday of the Park riot has there been so large a company on the same ground. The sport of bicycle riding is rapidly on the increase in these parts and for the one steel horse in use five years ago there are certainly twenty today. The idea of the general meet cannot be deemed original, for in London the example was first set and the gay capital of France has followed suit. The re-union does obvious do good and we trust that Saturday’s was but the forerunner of many brilliant assemblies to come. A ten mile race and a grand procession proved most attractive and whilst croakers might grumble with the marshalling of the cortege there was really nothing to condemn when one recollected that this was a first attempt. The rendezvou was a point nearly opposite the Phoenix Cricket Club Ground, and much credit is due to Mr J B Hurford for the manner in which he worked to put to rights his vast array of wheelers. Mr Charles Matthews, too, the secretary, did not spare himself in the cause of the sport, to which he is so much attached. The going, roundly speaking, was heavy, and at places it was uncomfortable “woolly.”

Ten Mile Handicap

Each competitor wore on his left arm a corresponding number to that which prefixed his name on the programme. The course was from cross-roads near the Wellington Testimonial, by R I C Depot, back of Viceregal, across main road near Castleknock gate, by R H School, Powder Magazine, to starting point. Same course half round again and down the straight, winning at a point nearly opposite Phoenix C C ground.

R Hassard, I C B C and D U B C (scratch)                                       1

E Ross, P B C (2 mins 00 secs)                                                           2

J D’ Arcy Evans Clontarf (2 mins 50 secs)                                         3

A Spring (30 secs)                                                                               0

R Berry (1 min)                                                                                   0

B D Dickson (1 min)                                                                           0

A M Toomey (1 min 20 secs)                                                              0

F W Knox (1min 20 secs)                                                                   0

R J Adcock (1min 20 secs)                                                                 0

F T N Clarendon (1min 20 secs)                                                         0

T Berry (1 min 50 secs)                                                                       0

M O’Reilly (2min 20 secs)                                                                  0

G P Glenn (2 min 20 secs)                                                                  0

H A Lawson (2min 30 secs)                                                               0

A H Rutherford (2 min 30 secs)                                                         0

R Clifton (2 min 50 secs)                                                                    0

J J Grayson (3 min 10 secs)                                                                 0

W O N Lindsay (3 min 40 secs)                                                         0

J Bell (3 min 40 secs)                                                                          0

R Kilkelly (3 min 40 secs)                                                                   0

F Wilson (3 min 40 secs)                                                                     0

J H Mellor (4 min)                                                                               0

R Baker (5 min)                                                                                  0

J Coghlan (5 min)                                                                                0

They had not gone very far when the company began to become select and at the turn into the straight line for home R Hassard (scratch) took command and won most meritoriously by about 150 yards, amidst great cheering. Time – Hassard (net). 41½ min; Ross, 46¾ min; D ‘Arcy Evans, 47¼ min; Spring, 50 min. The procession moved off in the following order, viz –

Dublin University Club (27 strong), Phoenix Club (26), I C B C (23), the Ixion Club and the Eglinton Club and then came the provincial men, including representatives from Cork, Tralee, Limerick and Dungarvan and unattached riders. There were in all 137 bicycles and the tricycles numbered 10 The lot was marshalled at 4.30 and the route taken was up the main road to the first turn on the left after the Phoenix monument, when it left the main road and regained it a short distance further on, returned straight down and proceeded to the starting point, where there was a general dismiss. On the return excellent order was maintained, the riders being four abreast and proceeding with almost military precision. The procession was loudly cheered at several points along the route. In the evening there was a dinner at the Gresham Hotel, at which upwards of eighty sat down. Dr Traill, F T C D, presided and was faced by Mr J S Hurford. After the usual loyal toasts had been duly honoured, the toast of “bicycling in Ireland” was proposed by the chairman and responded to by Mr R Hassard, the hero of the day’s proceedings. The chairman then presented the winner with his well-won trophy – a very handsome piece of plate and the second and third were also the recipients of valuable prizes. The evening was a most enjoyable one and the company broke up at 11 o’clock.

Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, June 23, 1879

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