Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Manitoba's First Bicycle Club

For those of you who missed this little historical gem on Thursday night (loud bar, big table) I'll copy and paste my email from our brother in absentia, Glenn Bergen.  I believe Shaun's upstanding conduct in the Alleycat voting affair proves that he has indded been held to a stronger moral conviction by our Club.  Please read on...

Hey there -- Thought this might be of interest. Just found this detail
in an 1883 Free Press:

Manitoba's first bicycle club, the Winnipeg Bicycle Club, was organized
at a meeting of bicyclists at the Royal Exchange Hotel on May 2, 1883.

 From the Manitoba Free Press, March 19, 1883:
Suggestion to organize a local club.
It is proposed that a bicycle club be started in Winnipeg for the
purpose of promoting the interests of bicycling. It has been suggested,
now that the winter is drawing to a close, that a meeting be called so
as to get together all interested parties. A by-law was passed last year
to the effect that bicycles were not to be ridden on in the city limits.
Bicycling is pursued in nearly all the leading cities of the world.
Doctors and clergymen use them, and they are seen daily gliding along
streets where the throng on thoroughfares is something [...], and the
query is, why does the city of Winnipeg pass such a by-law? It is
contended that the bicycle has as much right to the road as any vehicle.
They can restrict wheeling on the sidewalk, but cannot touch the rider
so long as he keeps the road.

The club
The club is the natural outgrowth of friendly [...] on the road. It
becomes a [...] for social meetings, where many, otherwise friendless,
find society and a refuge from ennui and loneliness, and from temptation
to seek objectionable distractions. Clubs generally admit none to
membership but men of good character. They urge upon their members
descreet conduct when on the road, and thorough courtesy to all
pedestrians, riders and drivers. Clubs are not a mere social union. They
exercise restraint upon the individual in many ways, teaching him
self-control and submission to discipline. He must yield to the club
laws and regulations, and to the votes of a majority. The example of
fellow members makes him neat in dress. The discussion of machines, of
their good points and defects, makes him intelligent on this subject,
and the contact with others stimulates him to efforts to excell in
riding. There is no question as to the admirable influence of the club
in this respect, and club members are, in consequence, generally found
to be better riders than the unattached. The effects of a vigorous mass
are always stimulating to the individual.


Glenn Bergen, Editor
University of Manitoba Press
Ph. (204) 474-7338


  1. Great find! Just what we were looking for to go with the pic in the Sport for Life buidlinging from 1895! Many thanks,

    Jason Carter

  2. Read this too!!