Bicycle Parties are the Best Parties!

The bicycle, despite offering cheap independent transportation, has always been an essentially social object that brings people together, inspiring group rides and gatherings of all kinds for 150 years.

The Louisiana Cycling Club loved nothing more than a fun ride and a good party. We’ll be having both tomorrow to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Pierre Lallement’s 1866 US Patent for the bicycle!

Come out for the free Second Saturday Art Ride starting at 5pm at Bar Redux, followed by the 150th Birthday Party for the Bicycle at Castillo Blanco. A good time is sure to be had by all!

To Schadwell’s!

One of the favorite destinations of the Louisiana Cycling Club on their weekend rides was out to a farm they called Schadwell’s, or “The Dutchwoman’s.”

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“The above cut represents the look of agony on the face of a certain club man when he found that he would not be able to go to Schadwell’s with the boys next Sunday, but he is trying to get all of this friends to go and enjoy the luscious fruit, nice fresh sweet milk, the delicious home-made bread and a great many other appetizing things which Mrs. Schadwell delights in setting before the L.C.C. Boys when they visit her farm. The start will be made promptly at 8:00 AM and no wait will be made for the gourmets who can’t get away without their breakfast.”

Victorians were particularly fond of the bicycle as a means of cheap independent transportation out of the dirty, crowded city and into the peace and healthy air of the countryside. To own a carriage and horses was a lavish expense that even the comfortable urban bourgeoisie of the late 19th century could not afford. While trains took the city’s denizens out to public resorts such as the West End, the bicycle offered an efficient and fun way to make excursions along farm roads to favored spots in the countryside.

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On July 9, the Second Saturday Art Ride will be stopping by the Second Saturday at Grown On to check out their urban farm and get some fresh eats!

Bike to the Country Illustration

Ritchie Betts: Founder of LCC and Father of American Motorcycling

Ritchie Betts

Louisiana Cycling Club Spokes Scrapbook, accession 98-62-L,Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection

R.G. “Ritchie” Betts, the first president of the Federation of American Motorcyclists, got his start as a bicycle activist in New Orleans. In 1887, the 17-year-old founded the Louisiana Cycling Club. The LCC was the second major cycling club formed in New Orleans, the first being the New Orleans Bicycle Club, formed in 1881. Under the aegis of Betts, the LCC grew quickly into a lively organization that soon overshadowed the NOBC.

For the first years of the 1880s, bicycles were  unpopular with the public as a strange new machine that many found intrusive and even dangerous on the streets, which were otherwise dominated by pedestrians and merchant carts. Betts and the LCC worked to convince the public of the utility of the bicycle as legitimate private transportation (as well as exercise and enjoyment), to advocate for the rights of cyclists to public roads, and to encourage the city to improve the conditions of city streets. In the spring of 1887, with Betts as Captain, the LCC joined forces with the NOBC to hold the first cycling track races in New Orleans at the Audubon Park Driving Track and the annual racing meet of the League of American Wheelmen’s Louisiana Division (the racing league to which most members of both clubs belonged) beginning that fall. The annual cycling league races at Audubon became one of the most popular spectator events in New Orleans.

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