Tag bicycle



Wheelmen Ask for Protection from Traffic on Two Streets.


They Do Not Favor Regulating Pryor and Peachtree Traffic,


The Cyclists of the City Are Beginning To Talk About Wheel Tracks and Better Roadway Improvements.

The bicyclists of the city will not be given exclusive rights on Peachtree and Pryor streets during certain hours of the evening. The ordinance committee of the council will make an adverse report on an ordinance turning the streets over to the cyclists during the hours from 4 to 8 o’clock p. m.

The proposed ordinance was designed to prohibit traffic of all kinds on the streets; leaving the roadways clear for the wheelmen. The matter came up on a petition signed by a number of cyclists of the city and when it was presented to the council the paper was referred to the ordinance committee.

Chairman Colvin, of that committee, caused an ordinance to be drawn up on the line of the petition so that the matter could be properly acted upon. Yesterday afternoon the committee was called together and after considerable discussion it was decided to report the ordinance to the council with an unfavorable recommendation. There is said to be a good deal of opposition to the project and it seems as if the question will fail of adoption.

While there are some councilmen who do not think the streets can be regulated in favor of the cyclists, still there is a growing sentiment in favor of providing better roadways for the popular mode of travel by many people. The cyclists say that the streets are in bad condition in many places and it will be no surprise to many at an early date to see the wheelmen of the city among those to urge the necessity of street improvements and the laying of such paving as is best for the riders.

In many cities of the country the wheelmen have taken a prominent part in the matter of public improvement legislation and in many places they have succeeded in persuading towns and cities to provide roadways where they formerly had none. The rapid increase in the number of cyclists is argued by them to justify their demand that the authorities begin to consider the question of better roadways. In some cities tracks and speedways are being constructed as a result of the agitation of the wheelmen.

It is said that the Atlanta wheelmen are vigorously opposed to the laying of any more belgian blocks on the principal thoroughfares and that they favor asphalt or brick pavement, making the roadways suitable for good riding. Of course, the number of wheelmen is as yet comparatively small as compared with the whole population, but as the riders increase so does the demand for better streets. The cyclists say that they are part of the public and that the growing popularity of wheel transit should cause the city authorities to look after their interests more than has been done in the past.

Peachtree and Pryor streets are, of course, two popular thoroughfares for the wheelmen, because those streets are asphalted in the case of the first and paved with smooth vitrified brick in the second instance. Every afternoon and early evening there can be seen scores of riders, male and female, spinning along at the top speed, exercising after the day’s work or out for a breath of fresh air. These streets are so popular among the riders that they determined to ask the council for better protection and the matter will be brought up Monday on the report of the ordinance committee agreed to yesterday.


The Constitution: Atlanta, GA – Sunday, April 19, 1896

Nearly Everybody, Young and Old, Rich and Poor, Is Riding Nowadays.

When Atlanta’s first big exposition was in progress fifteen years ago a spinster school teacher, tall and slender and elderly, was “seeing the sights” with her sister. She came from a little settlement hidden away in the mountains of Rabun county, and it was her first visit to a big city. The cotton exposition contained many marvels which excited her wonder, and she frequently expressed her surprise in the crude parlance of a mountaineer.

“Well, I’ll swow, Mandy,” she said on more than one occasion, “what will these city folks do next?”

Her greatest surprise-perhaps it would be fair to say-her greatest shock, occurred on the last day of her visit. The high bicycle was a new thing in Georgia at that time and its appearance on the streets was watched with interest by everyone. To the school teacher it was more than interesting, it was phenomenal, and at the first sight of one she clutched her sister’s arm in wild alarm and told her to “look quick and see that wheel running away with a man.”

The good lady, if she is still alive, would see about 1,200 wheels “running away” with men and women, too, if she would pay Atlanta a visit today.

The growth of the bicycle “craze,” as some people insist on calling it, has been very healthy and fairly rapid in this city of late. From December 1st there have been nearly 500 new wheels sold in Atlanta. Of this number 400 are being ridden daily by Atlanta people. There are 1,200 wheels in daily use here, which is clear evidence that bicycling is beginning to be appreciated as a healthy and enjoyable sport.

Those who think that Atlanta is leading in this innovation, however, are mistaken. Atlanta is not so far behind other cities on the bicycle question as to be ashamed of her position, but she is by no means leading the van, not even in the south. Savannah, St. Augustine and New Orleans have become thoroughly imbued with the bicycle fever, and in proportion to population they are slightly ahead of Atlanta.

If Atlanta had as many bicycles in proportion to population as Washington, New York, Boston and Chicago there would be in the neighborhood of 10,000 wheels instead of 1,200.

A bicycle salesman, one who is thoroughly posted on the bicycle situation in every city in America, said yesterday that he believed the bicycle business in Atlanta was more promising today than ever.

“The people here have just come to the full appreciation of the merits of the wheel,” he said, “and I confidently expect to see 2,000 wheels in this city at the close of the season where there are only 1,200 now. The people people are practically unanimous in indorsing the sport and society has stamped with its approval the debated question: “Shall women ride?”

Good Roads for Bicyclists.

Peachtree street is the wheelman’s delight. Pryor street is satisfying to the most fastidious. Aside from these two thoroughfares Atlanta is deficient in bicycle paths, but the suburban roads afford excellent riding. Those who have ridden long enough to become inured to a good, long tour, find a spin out to Lithia Springs or Stone Mountain enjoyable. The roadways through and around Inman Park are good. The trip to Buckhead makes a pleasing run of fourteen miles. One of the favorite bicycle paths is along the old Peachtree road and great things are expected of the road to the barracks if the government will pass the appropriation for improving it.

At present there are no large bicycle clubs here. Small parties can be seen every morning and evening when the heat of the sun is not oppressive, spinning away to the suburbs. Tourist parties from northern and eastern cities often rent wheels for an afternoon to take a better look at the Gate City and its surroundings.

It is said that preliminary steps are being taken to organize a very large club of local wheelmen who will take regular tours every evening.

Scorching Habit Condemned.

The theory that every rose has its thorns applies with as much truth to bicycling here as elsewhere. The “Scorcher” is the bete noir of the beginner’s life. As Mr. B. F. Copeland, the manager of the riding school at the Gate City Guard’s armory said yesterday: “There is nothing which so retards the growth of bicycling in this city as scorching. It would not be a bad idea if the city council would pass an ordinance prohibiting great speed within the corporate limits.”

This has been done in nearly all of the larger cities. In New York the policemen who are stationed along th Boulevard are provided with bicycles for the purpose of arresting wheelmen who go faster than the law allows. The great bicycle path from Brooklyn to Coney Island, which is said to be the finest in the world, is always patrolled by policemen in knickerbockers, who can “scorch” most of the racers when it is necessary to make an arrest. In case they cannot catch a fast racer their shrill whistle causes the policeman ahead of him to mount his wheel and when Mr. Scorcher has distanced his first follower he finds himself in the clutches of the second or third, as the case may be. It is impossible to escape and yet is surprising how many bold wheelmen will attempt it. There are at least a dozen such captures on the Brooklyn bicycle path every Sunday.

Atlanta Policemen on Bicycles.

The ladies of Atlanta are the great enemies of the scorchers. They have begun a crusade to have the habit stopped and they are firm in their determination. The chances for a bicycle squad for the Atlanta police force are good. In case the city council passes an ordinance restricting the speed on Peachtree street it will be necessary to mount the policemen who patrol that thoroughfare on bicycles in order to prevent violations of the ordinance.

Where Beginners Learn To Ride.

One of the most interesting sights to be seen in Atlanta at this season is the classes of beginners at the Columbia Bicycle academy in the Gate City Guard’s armory. There is much to arouse the mirth of the visitors, but there is little of humor to the novices themselves except when they are resting and their friends are “going through the mill.”

The beginner as a rule has the look of a wild horse who suddenly sees the approach of a locomotive for the first time. There is a glare of fright and curiosity in the eyes, which is in strange contrast with the clinched teeth and the expression of “do or die” depicted in the tightly closed mouth. The best time to see the show is from 8 to 10 o’clock at night, when the business men are taking their first lessons. Awkwardness, timidity, assumed boldness, despair and uncertain hope are illustrated as well as they could possibly be by the actions and expressions of the “first nighters.” It must be seen to be appreciated. No description can give a fair idea./

The management of the school says that the ladies learn very much more easily than the men. They are less awkward. The ladies’ classes are from 8 a. m. to 1 p. m. and 2 p. m. to 6 p. m. The ladies are also given what are known as direct lessons. When they reach a certain point in advancement and gain a little confidence they are put in charge of an instructor and taught on the street. There are many expert graduates of the school among the lady riders of the city.

Major Fitten a Graceful Wheelman.

Major John A. Fitten is one of the city’s graceful wheelmen. This is true despite the major’s 265 pounds. He flits about with ease, notwithstanding that he is a heavy weight.

He learned at the wheeling school in the Grand. It took him some time, but he learned thoroughly. His school days were attended with many hard knocks and falls, but he pulled through without any broken limbs. He is now having a huge wheel of stout frame specially manufactured for himself and in a short time he will be spinning over the city’s by-paths on his trusty charger.

Major Fitten took his lessons at the school at the early hour of 6 o’clock in the morning. Rosy from a good night’s sleep he would hie himself to the school. He would mount the wheel with the courage of a Spartan and proceed to land himself violently upon the floor some twenty feet from the starting point. Nothing discouraged, he would spring to his feet nimbly, scurry upon his vehicle and hurry away again.

He had a great rival in the person of Colonel Thornton, who also tips the scales at 265 pounds. They took lessons together and had many an exciting encounter. Their antics were the talk of the school and every pupil felt a deep personal interest in the outcome of their studies. They both graduated about the same time are now vieing with each other in the ease and grace with which they spin across the country.

The teacher, Mr. Copeland, also taught Speaker Tom Reed the mysteries of the wheel. This occurred last spring and it was not an easy task. The speaker weighs 295 pounds and he is not unlike Major Fitten in physical build. “Major Fitten is much more more agile,” said Mr. Copeland yesterday, “and handles himself much better. He learned much faster.”

Smashes a Wheel.

Jim McKeldin is one of the city’s enthusiasts. He has been riding a beautiful $125 wheel of which he is immensely proud. He was out on the asphalt with a party a few nights ago and met Major Fitten.

“You don’t know the first thing about riding,” said the major scornfully.

“I don’t, eh?” said Mr. McKeldin; “suppose you try it.” He hopped off his wheel. “Here, get up, major, and give us a lesson,” he said.

The major held back modestly. “Oh come on,” said Mr. McKeldin.

“Well, here goes,” said the major, and he made a leap for the saddle. The wheel shot gracefully forward. The pedals responded easily to the major’s expert touch. He went sailing down the asphalt as graceful as a fairy.

There was a sudden crash, and looking, Mr. McKeldin saw his wheel sink into utter ruin and collapse beneath the major’s portly form. It was not an ordinary collapse. It was an extraordinary one. The wheel did not simply break in part. It broke all to pieces, into hundreds of pieces. The seat was mashed as flat as one of Aunt Jemima’s pancakes, and the wires of the wheels were twisted into a million shapes. It was hard to tell whether it was the remains of a bicycle or a dynamo. There was no semblance of a wheel left.

Isham Daniel’s Ride.

Although Mr. Isham Daniel has laid strict injunction upon his companion not to repeat the story, it has gained general currency and I will repeat it here-the story of Isham Daniel’s swift and disastrous ride.

He took to the wheel gingerly. He did not enter into it with that conquer in-a-minute-or-die spirit. He was patient. He lacked confidence, and he wanted room. He did not like to ride on a street on which there were any other moving objects, and he always avoided cars. Cars were his pet fear.

He went out with Jim McKeldin the other afternoon late. He paced along carefully until Wilson avenue was reached. It’s a fine drop for the wheelmen down Wilson avenue to the expostion gate.

“Go it, Isham, I’ll follow,” said McKeldin.

Mr. Daniel moved forward slowly at first, his wheel gaining in celerity as he went. Presently it was moving at furious speed and the rider found his feet off the pedals and himself unable to regain control of the mad steed. At this juncture a car loomed into view, coming toward him in front. He knew for a certainty that collision with that car was inevitable. The thirty feet of space that he had on his side of the track was far too narrow to allow him to pass in safety. There was but one thing to do; he would dash into the sidewalk.

It was a startling spectacle that Mr. McKeldin looked down upon. He saw his comrade swerve violently to the right and with the force of a steam engine dash into the high curbing. The wheel stopped with a crash and was dashed to pieces, and the force of the collision lifted Mr. Daniel from his seat and planted him over in the vacant lot. He got up unhurt, glad to sacrifice a wheel as the price of his own life.

And There Are Others.

Mr. Thomas C. Erwin is also a victim of the freaks of the wheel. He was hurled from his, near Fort McPherson, last Sunday, and skated along the road on his face for a considerable distance. The experience was very damaging to the smooth contour of his face.

And there are others who are wearing bandages, poultices and plaster casts. The percentage of accidents is naturally high, considering the large number or riders there are in Atlanta. None of the sufferers from the wheel have given up, however. They are waiting to get well, when they will ride again.


The Constitution: Atlanta, Ga. Sunday, February 2, 1896.

Plan To Encircle the City with a Magnificent Boulevard, Touching All the Resorts.


Over Two-Thirds of the Road Necessary Already Exists and Is in the Best of Condition.


The Plan Would Afford the City What It Has Not at Present, a Grand Driveway Over a Picturesque Course.

Atlanta, a city of drivers, driving clubs, mettlesome teams, glossy turnouts and inviting suburbs, is almost without drives.

The city is environed with lovely scenery. Fresh hills of green, softly carpeted fields and cool, inviting valleys begirt the city. Nature has done her best to please the eye. Her canvas is perfect. And our people have done much to improve it in the way of development. Beautiful homes have been set about in pretty nooks, just close enough to the city to enjoy its benefits and far enough away to escape its smoke, its dust and its disagreeable features. These homes are delightful to live in and charming to look upon, and there is but one objectionable feature connected with them. There are no smooth, inviting drives leading to them.

Yet all around the city, forming almost a complete circle, are bits and pieces of excellent roads which, with a little work, could be linked together, forming a magnificent driveway about the city and touching all the lovely points.

Not only would this splendid chain of boulevards encircle the city and form one of the most beautiful  and magnificent drives to be found in the south, but it would link together the pretty parks that stand on every side of the city.

The city is environed with inviting breathing spots—places where nature has been lavish with her gifts and where beautiful scenery and landscape have reveled. To the northeast is Piedmont park, with its hills, its groves, its lovely buildings, its beautiful lake and splendid surroundings. It is connected with the heart of the city by Peachtree street, a direct route, which, with its splendid asphalt and chert, forms one of the very few select drives in the city or about it.

Peachtree street is all that could be asked of it in the way of beauty and improvement, yet on pretty afternoons when the air is full of tonic and the sun shins caressingly it is too greatly crowded to admit of any sort of comfort. Elegant equipages bowling along almost choke up passage and frequently traffic is impeded. The crowded condition of this, the city’s choicest drive, argues the crying need of more good thoroughfares suitable for driving.

It is just a step from Piedmont park to Grant park, but so poorly are the streets laid out that it never occurs to any one to take in the two parks in an afternoon’s drive, and yet it could easily be done with just a little work. The broad boulevard which stretches along the eastern limit of the city is an almost direct route from Piedmont park to Grant park. It touches Piedmont park on the eastern margin and stretches away to the south, running along the eastern side of Grant park. It is wide, well paved all the way and traverses a beautiful section of the city—a section that is just springing into life. New residences are going up all along the boulevard and new streets are being cut into it at regular intervals on the east and west.

Only a Slight Change Needed.

It is an almost direct line between the two parks, as stated, but it deflects slightly when the Georgia railroad and the Southern railroad are reached at Decatur street. North Boulevard cuts into the latter street just in front of the big bag factory of Elsas, May & Co. Owing to the physical nature of the ground hereabout it was impossible to effect a direct crossing and because of this fact the only deflection in the big, wide boulevard occurs here. It is not a serious objection by any means, however. The railroads can be easily crossed, the street skirting the eastern edge of Oakland can be opened out and put in condition and made to connect the North and South Boulevards. It will have to be improved a distance of about two blocks only to make the connection complete.

South Boulevard, which would thus be reached, is wide, spacious, well paved and marks a lovely course. It is but a short distance along it to Grant park and Little Switzerland. The route is a beautiful and inviting one and one that is always a pleasure to drive over.

The park reached, there are many circuitous drives winding through it that tempt the driver. The drive through Little Switzerland, the drive to McPherson’s monument, the drive around pretty Lake Abana and the many other shaded thoroughfares in the park offer a world of pleasure to the driver.

Leaving Grant park after coursing over as many of the beautiful drives within it boundaries as pleases the fancy of the driver, Georgia avenue affords a splendid outlet to the west. Here again is an unusually wide thoroughfare, well paved and leading from east to west through the southernmost part of the city. It goes in a direct line with scarcely a crook or turn. It is open straight through from Grant park to McDaniel street, which is within a block and a half of the East Tennessee railroad track.

A distance of one-fourth of a mile lies between the end of this avenue  and the Whitehall street crossing at West End. The proposition to cut Georgia avenue through in this direction to a point from which connection with Whitehall street at the crossing could easily be made has frequently been discussed by the county commissioners. It is a small piece of work, and President Collier says that it would be a matter of small labor to open it through, thus connecting that part of the city west of the Tennessee railroad and West End with the eastern part of the city. This of itself would be an improvement that would be welcomed by all the residents in that vicinity.

This avenue opened, an easy outlet to West End would be afforded and the last year’s project of the county commissioners to construct a new fifty-foot road from a point just south of the Whitehall street railroad crossing to Fort McPherson would be an easy matter to carry out. For some months the county commissioners have worked on this favorite project. Their plan was to construct the road on the east side of the Central railroad and parallel to the railroad tracks to Fort McPherson. The route proposed is some distance from the railroad track and would be perfectly safe so far as trains frightening horses is concerned.

Right of Way Secured.

The route for this road was laid out early last year and it passed through a stretch of country that is perfectly beautiful. It is magnificently wooded and lovely new homes are dotted all about. The commissioners mapped out the route and went so far as to secure the right of way. They were successful in the latter point, securing the consent of all the property owners along the route for the construction of the road.

A more inviting route could not be found anywhere around the city. It is comparatively level, and with a little grading could be made into an ideal drive.

A driveway to Fort McPherson has long been wanted by those of our citizens who drive. The fort is quite a popular and interesting place with our people, and at present it can only be reached by the hilly dirt road that runs along the railroad track. The constantly passing trains render this very dangerous to drivers and the need of a driveway removed from the railroad track has long been felt. It was in recognition of this need that the county commissioners took up the matter. They laid out their route, and, as stated, secured the right of way, but for some unknown reason dropped the matter. It seems that all the commissioners favored the project and wanted to see the road built with comparatively little cost to the county. The grading was to be done by the county convicts, of course, and would have been a matter of ony a few weeks.

The plan of the commissioners contemplated a bridge over the railroad just north of Fort McPherson station, thus obviating the danger of grade crossing. This bridge would be erected almost in front of the entrance to the fort and would be highly convenient.

This part of the road can be constructed with little delay and trouble. It will meet a requirement which has long been felt and will afford the city a drive such as is to be found nowhere about the city at present.

Returning from the fort it is proposed to construct a road along the western side of the railroad tracks at about the same distance from the tracks as the road going out. This road, like the other, could be made with little expense. The country through which it would pass is very level and very little grading would be required. A delightful drive to West End would thus be formed. This road would terminate at Ashby street, which thoroughfare is already open to within short distance of the new waterworks reservoir park. Ashby street is a magnificent drive, covering a distance of about two miles to the reservoir and passing through all the picturesque section on the west of the city. Much that would be new and interesting to our people would be presented by a spin over this new thoroughfare, which is already in condition for travel.

An Attractive Resort.

The new waterworks reservoir park is one of the most attractive points for drives around the city. With a little expenditure of money this could be made one of the most beautiful parks in the south. Its natural advantages are unsurpassed. In summer it is ideal. It is walled in with lovely hills, crested with green trees and the picture is one that enchants the eye. In summer it is a favorite drive with our people, although little or nothing has been done to beautify it or make it attractive. With Ashby street opened through to the reservoir, its popularity would equal that of any drive in the state. Ashby street is already opened within a third of a mile of the reservoir and but little work would be required to complete the avenue to the big pond.

From the reservoir to Piedmont park is but a step and the connection could be easily made. The distance is about a mile, and already a route between the two points has been proposed. Those who have considered the matter propose to extend Wilson avenue directly through to the reservoir. The route is direct and has already been surveyed.

The county commissioners took up the matter several weeks ago. At that time they decided to make the extension at once and the work was passed up by the commissioners and ordered done. It is among the improvements of the near future and will be made as soon as the county convicts can reach it.

The improvement will be a great boon to the city’s drives. It will open up a direct avenue from the reservoir to the entrance to Piedmont park. It will be a favorite drive with the members of the driving club. It is convenient to them and will offer many attractions delightful to the driver.

Complete Circuit of the City.

This completes the circuit of the city, presenting a continuous boulevard around the city, touching at all attractive points. Starting at Piedmont park, a spot frequented by all Atlantans and where the driving club is located, it passes Ponce de Leon, Grant park, Little Switzerland, Fort McPherson, West End, Waterworks park, returning to Piedmont park, the starting point. This makes a drive of about eleven miles in length and presents a spectacle of beautiful and varied scenery, as grand as can be furnished anywhere in the city. This reform could be accomplished with little work. Two-thirds of the road is already in existence, and all that is needed is the building of some short bits of road to connect the boulevard already open to travel. The county commissioners could do the work with convicts and the cost would be merely nominal. It would be, too, but a matter of a short time. There are 227 convicts in the county’s service and it would take them but a few weeks to make the connections proposed. Compared to the great benefits that would be derived, the cost is nothing.

The two drives would not be the only ones to reap the benefit from the extension of the roads suggested. It would link the city’s parks together and afford easy access from one to the other for all the people. The wheelmen wold also be great gainers by the change. It would be a pleasant spurt for them to encircle the city in a morning’s or late afternoon’s ride.

The accompanying map shows the proposed route of the park boulevard. It will be seen at a glance that it makes a complete circuit of the city and leaves out no point of interest on the way. The route is replete with interest and presents many attractions. It will also be seen that with a little work Atlanta might have a magnificnet drive by cutting the city in half. Peachtree and Pryor streets with their pavements of vitrified brick and asphalt and chert extend through the city from one side to the other, passing right through the heart of the town. For over a mile beyond Wilson avenue Peachtree has been paved with chert. This gives a smooth drive of about three miles from the utmost limit of the chert to the Capital City club. To continue this paving through to the point where the vitrified brick paving begins on Pryor street would be but natural and desirable. Only about six blocks would have to be paved to connect the two. Then an unbroken drive of over seven miles would be presented. Pryor street has been opened by the county commissioners to within two hundred yards of the old waterworks property and the drive is a beautiful and picturesque one.

A Spin Around Town.

A spin from the point on Peachtree to the old waterworks property, over a surface of chert, asphalt and vitrified brick would be a godsend to our drivers. Some day this will be possible; in fact, there is already a strong feeling in favor of the paving of the short space that divides the good paving on the two streets.

City Engineer Clayton has long been a hearty advocate of the plan to circle the city about with a continuous boulevard. He has made a study of the question and states that it could be done by the county convicts with little cost. He knows the topography of the country thoroughly and is well acquainted with the difficulties that would be encountered. When he was asked about the project he expressed himself as being in favor of it.

“With the boulevard built around the city,” he said, “our system of parks and boulevards would be equal to that of Chicago. Very few of our citizens realize what splendid advantages we have in the way of parks. With the expenditure of a little money and care our parks could be magnificently developed. I am in favor of the boulevard about the city and hope to see it constructed.”

President Collier, of the county commissioners, was most favorable impressed with the proposition when it was presented to him.

He said it seemed altogether feasible and could be done by the county convicts. He talked at length on the proposition, and was inclined to believe that it would be a great thing for the city, county and the driving public.