The New Hartford Wheel Club

During the late 1890’s and the early twentieth century, bicycle clubs were very popular.  New Hartford’s bicycle club (the Wheel Club) had close to 30 members.  It met in North Village.  The club member went on many rides, including ‘century’ rides of a 100 miles in a day.  These were generally done in a wide loop.  It should be remembered that the roads of the time were not paved, but were soft sand and dirt.  Furthmore, the bikes were heavier and bicycling gear was composed of ‘knickers, soft shirts, and caps’ though one member persisted in wearing: ‘a coat, vest, trousers, and a derby’.  Races were often held: sprints, miles, races between the ‘high-wheel’ or ‘penny-farthing’ and the more modern style of bike, and slow races where the object was to come in last and with the slowest time.

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