The net practical value of the velocipede (1862)

The net practical value of the velocipede is not yet settled. The next six weeks will go far towards it. Riders who have made the experiment have always ascertained that it is quite one thing to ride at the rate of twelve or fifteen miles an hour – even better time has been made – on a smooth, hard floor and quite another to take even the best of roads, with their occasional inequalities and an inch or two of dust or sand here, and again an inch or two of damp soil or mud. Walter Brown has travelled fifty miles, in about four hours and forty minutes in a hall, including some stops for rest and he made a mile in three minutes and fifty seconds. Let us see, by and by, if anyone can make even thirty miles a day on the best stage road that can be found, with less labour than he could walk with. At the Union Course on Long Island last Tuesday, the track was in “fair” condition for trotting horses, but for about a quarter of a mile it was soft and heavy, the velocipede wheels sinking into the sand about two inches. William Pickering made the best time, coming in exhausted after a mile in five minutes and fifty-seven seconds. We shall be glad to hear from our velocipedists and there are some superior riders in Hartford, the results of their experiments, as the roads grow hard and smooth.

Supplement to the Courant, 1862, Volume 35, p.92

Leave a Reply