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THE CHORLEY HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Notes from the Archives

Transcript - Fifty Years Cycling - from Chorley and Leyland Advertiser Oct 29 1932.
Reminiscences of Weird Machines and Doughty Riders.

The story of the bicycle was the subject of an address to the Chorley Rotary Club by Mr. W. M. Gillibrand, on Monday. The weekly meeting was held at the Royal oak Hotel, and Mr W. G. Berry was in the chair.
LEARNING TO RIDE THE BONESHAKER DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION CHURCHWARDEN TRICYCLISTS
OUTSTANDING EVENTS DAY TO REPAIR PUNCTURE SEVEN MILLION CYCLISTS

DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION
The dress of cyclists of this period was of a semi-military style, very tight fitting knee breeches, with a tunic hooked up to the chin, with plenty of braid across the chest. The costume was completed by a small forage cap. It is interesting to read an advertisement in a cyclists’ annual of 1886 of a firm’s “ventilating garments.” These were stated to have the advantages of being a sure preventive of discomfort, lassitude, illness, and death from sunstroke. They are so buoyant as to prevent death from drowning, and so thoroughly ventilated that they do not check even the insensible perspirator. Cyclists evidently must have been hardy people in those days, and by contrast with the present-day there might be understood something of the discomfort of cycling then.

“In addition, we often had cinder rash on the palms of our hands and sticking plaster on our faces. An advertisement of a “great Indian remedy” in the cyclists’ annual indicated what wheelmen had to endure in various times. This remedy was described as “an ointment for external application, and is universally acknowledged to be the remedy for curing and preventing cramp in the fingers and legs, chafes, gravel-rash, bruises generally, cuts, stiff neck and joints, sprains, numbness, blistered feet and hands, stiffness from violent exercise, sore throat, and all other discomforts incidental to cycling.”

It was perhaps owing to the semi-military uniform that many volunteer corps had a detachment of cyclists for scouting purposes. I well remember the late Colonel Widdows calling a meeting of cyclists at the old barrack’s in Queens Road, and proposing that we should form a similar detachment in Chorley. We were all agreeable until we found that it would be necessary to parade on Saturday afternoons. That made it impossible, for most of us were employed in shops, and we could not get off on those afternoons.

On club runs we ran two abreast, the captain of the club leading, accompanied by the club bugler. The latter looked very smart with his bugle slung over his shoulder, attached to a red cord and wearing white gauntleted gloves. I may say here that the bugle was only for show, for I never remember a bugler who could blow a signal that any of us could understand. The bugle must have been in common use for an advertisement of the time stated that over 4,000 had been sold.

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