The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
56. Cycling accidents and some rather alarming advice on bike management from Swiftsure.
Following the extensive reporting of the first Easter Meet [see episodes 44-55] in the Clarion 20 April 1895 it is not surprising that Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes' got squeezed out the following week in what was essentially the May Day issue with lots of fraternal greeting type messages from around the world. But he was back on 4th May.
There have been at least six fatal accidents to cyclists during the past few weeks, and if it were not that cycling is almost universal with all who can afford to indulge in it, there would surely arise an outcry against it similar to the periodic tirades against the evils and dangers of football.
There can be little doubt that many accidents - even minor ones - are preventable. The novice who cannot control his machine to a few yards is sure to be seen in the midst of traffic. The man who has seldom tested his powers of back-pedalling is almost certain to go touring in hilly districts without a brake. In fact, it is just those who ought not to risk these accidents to whom they most often happen.
Too much stress cannot be laid upon the necessity of a beginner learning to control his mount under all circumstances. Never mind speed; devote yourself to acquiring what may be termed a pocket edition of trick riding. Learn to dismount on either side of by a backward spring; learn to keep your machine erect whildst almost stationary, to swerve rapidly out of the path of danger, to dart forward or slow up suddently at will; in fact, learn to ride with your head, control your nerves, and move your machine as though it were part and parcel of your whole being; and the accidents which are only too frequent, will be fewer.
Next time - More on accidents and how to avoid them