No Gay 90s Spandex

March 26th, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Granted plastics emerged during WWII and spandex in 1959. Yet, square modern cyclists with the 1890s version in Hyde Park.Hyde Park Cycle Club c. 1894

The embedded images are a few of the gems from the Hyde Park library’s archive room.  I’ll occasionally grab some history from there and cite it.

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The history room has many document, map, photographic and bound periodical artifacts back to the early 18th Century life of HP as part of Dedham and Milton. Of great aid in familiarizing myself was a huge binder Historic Boston and intern workers created. These scans came from there.

Until I opened the binder, I was not aware that Hyde Park has one of the nation’s earliest and most active biking groups, the Hyde Park Cycle Club. Those stout lads at top are members.

Clothes aside, their bikes aren’t that dissimilar to today’s mountain or commuter versions today — if a little short on gears. That photo’s donor, Jim O’Brien of HP, annotated that photo, including:

  • Back row, second from left is John McCormick, my Mary’s grandfather.
  • Last one on the right is my grandfather, John Crowley.
  • His son was Msgr. Edward F. Crowley, teacher at St. John’s Seminary and pastor at Most Sacred Blood.
  • Two of their favorite rides were to Lake Massapoag (Canton) and Pearl Lake (Wrentham) .

I’ve done those rides, but I bet they are a lot easier on my modern road bike.

Hyde Park tandem cycists c. 1890

The binder has a few other bike images, including the two young men on a tandem. It also included a flier for a HPCC fund-raiser.

That was nearly 111 years ago, April 14, 1899. I’m not sure whether they were rowdy and the event unsuitable for ladies, but the entry for gents was 35¢.

Hyde Park Cycle Club fund-raiser dance 1899It was in Magnolia Hall, which does not appear on any HP map I could find.  However a turn of that century advertisement listed the halls in HP. Its address would put it where the present municipal building is at 1179 River, where Fairmount begins.

That’s now Logan Square, but was then Edward Everett Square, named for the illustrious politician, diplomat and educator, whose birth house was there.

The HPCC started in February 1886, according to Prominent Wheelmen and Bicycle Club Director of Massachusetts of 1894.It noted that Theodore Walker was the first president. The initial club name was the Hyde Park Ramblers.

They seemed to be active enough. For example, the spring 1892 Sporting Life newspaper reported:


The Hyde Park Cycle Club on Saturday afternoon held a ten-mile road race for three gold and silver medals, given by the Hyde Park Times and the Norfolk county Gazette.

The start was made from Everett Square, and the course was over East River street to dams street, Dorchester, and return to the tarting point.

Every member of the club entered and started. They got away in good shape on the second trial, and ten finished in the following order and time:

P. G. Alexander, 34m. 17s.; A. W. Corbett, 6m.; C. F. Corbett, 36m. 56s.; Otis Edgarton. 6m. 57s.; H. G. Andrews, 39m. 31s.; George Roundy, 40m. 30s.; J. F. Lovering, 41m. 18s.; H. Heydackter, 42ni.30s.; J. H. Porter, 45m. 0s.; F. H. Longley, 45m. 80s.

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