Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cross Country Cycle Road - 1896 Plan

Transcontinental Cycle Tour Map, 1896
Map for a cross country bicycle route

Taken from Washington DC Morning Times, June 7, 1896. Reflects some wishful thinking on the future of cycling in the days before automobile owners (and their allies) took over the lead in advocating for funding a good network of roads. The article's author advocates a connected network of "good roads" rather than more expensive macadamized (asphalt) dedicated "bicycle tracks" or "bicycle paths" for long distance bicycle travel.

Some quotes ~
To establish a bicycle track from coast to coast so that wheelmen can journey from New York to San Francisco as easily if not as rapidly as they now do by train. Such tours have been undertaken and partlv carried out. One man would wheel from Salt Lake Cit to Buffalo. Another, at some time, would start at Chicago and wheel to the Pacific Coast. But they seldom wanted to take the trip twice. It was too tiresome. Roads were too bad. Too many mountain paths had to be climbed, too many prairies tortured through. But I am looking into the matter so as to do away with all this.
What has hampered us more than anything in this cross country project are the wheeling [cycling] enthusiasts. These gentlemen insist upon bicycle paths and so we get nothing. A macadamized bicycle path costs in a rocky locality $15,000 per mile. Now make this same locality and use tho road that is already in it by merely improving it and the cost will not be $3,000. You can make a mile or very bad road into very good road for that sum. That is what I mean by intelligent wheeling legislation.
"Across the country in eighty days will be the wheelman's attraction a few years hence. Now it looks funny, but that is what Jules Verne's idea or "Round the World In Eighty Days" did to people years ago. Now we can belt the sphere in seventy days."
Full text of article available most readably here.

1 comment:

  1. That was a great idea: A coast-to-coast bike road with no cars!