State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bicycle Racing Comes to New Kent . . . A Hundred and Twenty Years Ago


Bicycles racing up and down the county roads has a longer history than most expect . . .



            Bicycle Record Broken

There have been numerous bicycle parties of late organized to make the run between this city and Richmond in one day. For one reason or another they have all become discouraged and returned home. Mr. Winder, the well known long distance rider, reached Norfolk Saturday night, and reported that the path along the Chesapeake and Ohio railway was in good condition. Nevertheless it required portions of two days for him to reach Norfolk from Richmond.
Dr. George D. Levy, the optician, and Mr. D.L. Jackson, a printer, determined to break the record, and on Sunday morning went via steamer Louise to Newport News. There they mounted their wheels and reached Richmond Sunday night. They describe their trip as being very fatiguing but seem to derive a great deal of satisfaction in being the first to make the run in one day.
Just before reaching Morrison's the pedal of Mr. Jackson's wheel was sprung by an unobserved stump. On reaching that station it gentleman whose residence was directly opposite, kindly gave the wheelmen valuable assistance. The pedal was straightened, and the bicyclists proceeded on their way. Willamsburg was reached at noon, and Mr. Spencer, the genial proprietor of the hotel, had dinner served an hour before the regular time so us not to delay the wheelmen. After doing justice to this repast they departed in the direction of Richmond. At Windsor Shades the bicyclists were furnished with a pitcher of cold butter milk. Which was greatly enjoyed. They were also offered lodging for the night by the very hospitable people,living at that place. This was declined with thanks.
At Providence Forge occurred the only unpleasant incident of the entire trip; The telegraph operator and station agent refused to give the wheel-men a glass of water, and informed them that he could not send a telegram to their friends until 7 o'clock. Roxbury was reached at half-past 5 o'clock and eighteen miles more had to made, it was impossible to do this before dark, but the wheelmen were too near Richmond to give up. At Fort Lee the railroad path was left and the Willamsburg road taken towards Richmond. After plodding through the sand on this road for nearly three miles the splendid road from the National Cemetery to Richmond was reached. Coasting down this road was a great relief after so many hours of hard riding. Soon Richmond was reached, and what had hitherto never been done was accomplished.

-The Norfolk Virginian, 29 October 1895

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