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CYCLE CULLINGS


In 1896 the Battle Creek Daily Journal periodically carried a column called “Cycle Cullings,” reporting items of particular interest to bicycle enthusiasts around town.

 


At the end of May, the column included several tidbits, including the notice that "Some ingenious crank has invented a bicycle by which a man can ride in his bedroom, on a treadmill sort of course, and get all the exercise of riding while he is piling up miles on his cyclometer."

 


The "bicycle bag" was also noted as a "late invention for the female cyclist. It is a trifle larger than the reticule {purse} which hangs from the belt. On one flat side is a broad hook which goes over the handle-bar, and inserted in one corner is a small watch with face exposed. Inside are little pockets for money, the handkerchief and small tools."

 

But of more interest to local readers was the report on the ordinance "Regulating the Running of Bicycles" recently passed by the Common Council. According to the new law, it was now illegal "for any person to ride any bicycle, or tricycle, ... at a rate of speed exceeding six miles an hour" on downtown streets, or ten miles an hour in any other area of the city.

 


After July 1, 1896, it would no longer be lawful to ride on "any street, lane or alley in Battle Creek, ... between the hours of one half hour after sunset of each day, and one half hour before sunrise of the succeeding day, without having attached to said bicycle, or tricycle, a lighted lantern...plainly visible to any person in front thereof."

 


In addition, it would no longer be legal for any rider to "coast" upon his or her vehicle on any "street, lane or alley, or other public place."

 


Violation of any provisions of this ordinance were punishable by a fine "not exceeding twenty-five dollars and the costs of prosecution." If the offender did not pay the fine, he or she could be sentenced to imprisonment in the "county jail or city prison until such fine and costs be paid, not exceeding twenty days."

 


There was some discussion that even more regulation was needed, including "another clause ... demanding that all riders have bells and ring them when coming up behind pedestrians."