1878: One of the First Bicycle Clubs in the United States is Launched in San Francisco

December 13, 1878

The San Francisco Bicycle Club was founded. Along with being one of the earliest bicycle clubs established in the United States, it was the first of those groups on the west coast. The club’s nine charter members included George C. Perkins, who became governor of California just over a year later.

Not long after the club was formed, its members dealt with a formidable challenge: trying to get permission to ride their bicycles in the city’s Golden Gate Park at a time when those devices were strictly prohibited there. Ultimately, however, the club prevailed on the park commission to permit the use of bicycles on those grounds before 10:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m.

Another one of the club’s key accomplishments took place about a year after its establishment. “The first bicycle race ever witnessed in California was run under the auspices of the club at the old Mechanics’ Pavilion in the latter part of 1879,” recalled an April 1892 article in the San Francisco Call newspaper. “It was won by H.C. Eggers, who made 525 miles [844.9 kilometers] in three days and excited much interest.”

In 1880, the San Francisco Bicycle Club joined the League of American Wheelmen and also adopted distinctive uniforms of gray and navy-blue. Having originated in the 10th largest American city of the era, the club played a big role in encouraging the nationwide popularity of bicycles during the late 19th century.  

Image Credit: Public Domain

For more information on the San Francisco Bicycle Club, please check out https://www.wooljersey.com/wiki/San_Francisco_Bicycle_Club and https://fastestslowguy.blogspot.com/2019/03/chat-about-cycle-san-francisco-call-25.html

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