Velocipede Schools (1869)

Velocipede Schools

The nightly scene at Burnham’s and Witty’s schools in Brooklyn constitute quite an interesting entertainment. The expert riders of Brooklyn are multiplying rapidly and at both the above velocipede areanas the displays of skill and daring are numerous. The funny side of the picture is also exhibited nightly in the form of the collisions, falls, narrow escapes and the wabbling movements of the tyros in the art. Yhe attendance of spectators each night  is such as to crowd botyh halls, the gallery at Burnham’s being specially devoted to the use of ladies and those of the other sex accompanying them, while at Witty’s hall the ladies have the front seats. Mr Burnham has introduced velocipede riding as a feature of the exercises of his lady classes and Mrs Burnham already rides with a degree of modest ease and skill surprising to those who imagine that ladies cannot ride a two-wheeled velocipede without objectionable exposea. The exercise is especially adapted for ladies and it is simply as an exercise that Mr Burnham has introduced. None but ladies are admitted to the hall during the ladies’ class exercise and those who have seen Mrs Burnham ride are in a fever to learn the art themselves. The ordinary dress used by ladies in these calisthenic exercises is just suited for use in riding the bicycle, not half as much expose of the nether limbs being made as in the ordinary walking attire. Never before in the history of manufactures in this country has their arisen such a demand for an article as now exists in relation to velocipedes. They are manufactured now at the rate of 1,000 a week and that is about the tenth part of the number of orders received for them. One contract was made this week for the manufacture of 5,000 boys’ bicycles. – New York Times.

The Times, Mar 10, 1869; p 5

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