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Old 2017-09-02, 04:59 PM   #16
Vertigo
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Humbolt Room Photograph Collection

Collection: Swanlund-Baker
Photo ID: 1999.01.0356
Author/Creator: Baker, Ray Jerome
Date: 1907?
Title: Court Edwards and his Unicycle - about 1907 in Sequoia Park
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Old 2017-09-02, 10:23 PM   #17
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Wow!

Los Angeles HeraldDec 7 1910
Wife’s Refusal To Wear Tights Given As Divorce Cause
That she is opposed to wearing fleshlings and appearing on a vaudeville circuit as a trick bicycle rider is an assertion made yesterday by Mrs. Geni Edwards, who is seeking a divorce from C. P. Edwards, a wheel performer. She charges desertion.

The case was called before Judge Conrey of the superior court, who was told by Mrs. Edwards that she and her husband were married in Eureka, Cal., in 1906. He was a bicycle performer and he wanted his wife to become one also and travel with him. When She objected from the standpoint of modesty he deserted her, she alleges, and took with him another woman who was willing to wear tights.

Judge Conrey continued the action until depositions from Eureka could be obtained.
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Old 2017-09-03, 12:32 AM   #18
LargeEddie
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Great sleuthing, Vertigo!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
Humbolt Room Photograph Collection

Collection: Swanlund-Baker
Photo ID: 1999.01.0356
Author/Creator: Baker, Ray Jerome
Date: 1907?
Title: Court Edwards and his Unicycle - about 1907 in Sequoia Park
Quote:
glass 8x10 in very good b & w photographic negative
Beautiful photo from an 8"x10" glass negative, hundreds of megapixels even scanning at a modest resolution. I'm still not completely sure what he's got going on with the handlebar mounts though. And it doesn't quite look like a Brooks logo on the saddle in that photo.

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Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
He was a bicycle performer and he wanted his wife to become one also and travel with him. When She objected from the standpoint of modesty he deserted her, she alleges, and took with him another woman who was willing to wear tights.
Probably a deal breaker for me too.
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Old 2017-09-03, 01:13 AM   #19
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This set me off looking at board track motorcycle racing articles, something I'd heard a little bit about before. It was an odd blip in entertainment history, very popular for a short time, very exciting, and very deadly. It looks like the accident that killed Court Edwards was widely reported but just one of many around the country, and the tracks were all shut down within a few years.

The motorcycles were glorified bicycles that went 100 mph with no brakes and no throttle on most, just a kill switch to temporarily cut the ignition, and are very much valued by collectors these days. It was Darwin Award stuff not too long after Darwin's passing, and hell yeah I'd ride one.
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Old 2017-09-03, 02:21 AM   #20
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Thanks. It's been fun. I found so many interesting articles that weren't related to this topic.

Here's something I found about the Motordrome.

Riverview Stadium Motordrome - Chicago, Illinois
Opened 8 July 1911 / built in an amusement park named Riverview Exposition Park / this was located in between what is now West Addison Street, North Western Avenue, West Belmont Avenue and the Chicago River / this site is now occupied by DeVry University and Lane Technical High School / three riders crashed fatally at the motordrome / amateur George Nelson in July 1911, a few days before the track was of cially opened / rider Court Edwards in September 1912 / and nally rider Leon
Pitts in May 1913 / the last known race took place in June 1913 / this was a 1/3-mile circle reportedly banked at 45
degrees / built by Jack Prince / aka Riverview Exposition Stadium Motordrome / aka Riverview Park Motordrome

Also I found out his full name is Courtland P. Edwards and was born Jan. 1876 in Kansas. He had five or six siblings.

There are several earlier articles in a Topeka news paper about bike races he was in when he lived in Kansas.
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Old 2017-09-03, 04:48 PM   #21
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To get a perspective on what the roads were like back then, that is if they even existed, look up 'Horatio's Drive'. The story of the first coast to coast drive in 1903.

Its probably safe to say that Court was riding muni about 80 years before George Peck.
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Old 2017-09-03, 06:08 PM   #22
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Court "disappeared", Another one wheeler turns up, then Court reappears

The Bicycling World and Motorcycle ReviewMay 14, 1910
… If no Indians and bears were encountered in Van Courtland Park and the great beyond Max and Abie should be well on their way, and if they go far enough they may meet the ghost of Court Edwards, the Californian who started a year or so ago to ride a unicycle to New York and who, with his bugle and his umbrella still may be on the road for all the world knows.

The Bicycling World and Motorcycle ReviewMay 28, 1910
Unicycles from Boston to New York
Although Court Edwards, the unicyclist who was going to ride from California to New York, has disappeared, another long distance single wheeler turned up in New York City on Saturday last, 21st inst. He says his name is Dan Green and that he rode a unicycle from Boston to New York. He was decked out with an Indian war bonnet, and officer’s khaki coat and leather fringed trousers. Green accounted for his unusual costume by stating that he is a Mexican with a fondness for the United States, though why that should serve as a excuse for such an outlandish costume was not made plain. The object of the trip, he said, was to win a wager of $500 from some unnamed persons. Green averred that he left Boston at 6 o’clock last Thursday morning, 19th inst., and rode his unicycle to Springfield, arriving at the latter place at 7 o’clock that night. At 6 a.m. the following day he set out for Bridgeport, which place he reached at 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s ride was from Bridgeport, Conn., to New York City, and he breezed into this town early in the afternoon.

The Bicycling World and Motorcycle ReviewJune 18, 1910
Motorcycle Teaches Edwards New Trick
Court Edwards, the California unicyclist and trick rider, who started to ride one wheel from San Francisco to New York City, but was not heard from since that time, has turned up again. It is evident that Edwards considers unicycling too much like work, for he has turned to motorcycling. Apropos, he was riding with some friends when his rear wheel skidded and precipitated him through the railing of a small bridge and into the bed of the stream 15 feet below. Edwards resumed the trip and road for a great many miles over rough roads, despite a “stitch in his side,” due to the fall. The next morning he was unable to rise and a surgeon found two broken ribs. Edwards will continue to ride his motorcycle, however.
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Old 2017-09-03, 06:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Universe View Post
To get a perspective on what the roads were like back then, that is if they even existed, look up 'Horatio's Drive'. The story of the first coast to coast drive in 1903.

Its probably safe to say that Court was riding muni about 80 years before George Peck.
Yes, I'd say that some sort of muni has been around much longer than George Peck. I found another account of long distance riding.

Quote:
June 8, 1888
Mr. C. C. Hopkins, the famous unicycle rider, started from Denver, Col., June 3rd, to ride to Columbus, Ohio. His mount is a 54-inch Apollo.
Also, there were unicycle races in the late 1880's. I found several entries concerning unicyclist trying to break the mile record.
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Old 2017-09-03, 07:27 PM   #24
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Dan Green

Holbrook News - Sep 30, 1910

SCARE LOOSEN'S MAN'S TEETH

Saw a Half-breed Indian on Unicycle and Thought it Was a Devil

Bridgeport, Conn. Frederick Barber-went
out on his milk route at the
usual time in the morning, but he
came back to town so fast that all bis
milk was Jolted out, his hair formed
Into a sort of electric pompadour, he
loosened eight teeth by chattering, and
his knees were badly bruised ami
abralsed by knocking together.
He told of seeing a frightful appari
tion, which came out of a pink-edged
cloud and rode a big rubber tired
wheel "like the devil outraclng a
comet, and its terrible yells split the
air into open seams."
Investigation proved that Barber's
apparition was none other than Dan
Green, a half-breed Sioux Indian, who
was riding from Boston to New York
on a $500 wager.
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Old 2017-09-04, 05:14 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
Yes, I'd say that some sort of muni has been around much longer than George Peck. I found another account of long distance riding.
Before the turn of the century, I don't think there were many paved roads outside of cities. Anybody that did long rides probably rode plenty of dirt, even if it was in the form of a road.

Pioneering cross country riders like Court Edwards (though I guess we don't know if he completed his big ride) may also have ridden places that didn't have proper roads, or possibly even trails.

I don't know that what we now call Muni was a "thing" before mountain biking was a thing. That's a relatively recent development as well. Though I assume there were people doing it for fun before the 1970s, there's little record of it. While George Peck wasn't the first to focus on dirt unicycling, he did a couple of crucial things. He may have been one of the first unicyclists to concentrate most of his riding on non-paved surfaces, and more importantly, he was the first to make an instructuinal movie about it, and share it with the world, which got loads of other people motivated to do it also. I started promoting off-road unicycling (what I then called UMX, to pick up on the BMX craze of the time) in 1981, but didn't make any videos; just articles in the Unicycling Society of America Newsletter. Definitely not the same impact.
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Originally Posted by Vertigo
Also, there were unicycle races in the late 1880's. I found several entries concerning unicyclist trying to break the mile record.
Do any say what record they were trying to break? Probably faster than today's times, since we limit ourselves to 24" wheels on the track. I remember an article from 1886 or so, that talks about an hour record attempt/ride with a distance of 14.88 miles, if I remember correctly.

I'm loving all this research, and how Court Edwards, and others, are being reconstructed from bits and pieces of news clippings from over 100 years ago!
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Old 2017-09-04, 12:32 PM   #26
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Hi Vertigo

This is great investigative work by you. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Court Edwards' unicycle exploits. Very sad end though, for the poor man.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 2017-09-04, 04:59 PM   #27
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1880's & 1890's

From The Bearings - 1893
Harry Parks, the trick rider who rode down Pike's Peak on a unicycle, has been managing the bicycle department of the Henry Sears Co., Chicago, for some time and has made many friends.

There are many more references to unicycle records in the 1880's and 1890's.
Here's an example.

From The Wheel - 1887


Perhaps this is what they mean when they say "unicycle".


From The Bearing - 1893

A Bit of the Fancy

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Old 2017-09-04, 05:28 PM   #28
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Riding to school

One more ...


Salt Lake Herald - 1906
Salt Lake City Boy Rides Daily to and From School On Unicycle
Curtis Allen and His Wheel.
Probably the only boy in the country who rides a unicycle daily to and from school and round the streets, preferring it to a bicycle, is Curtis Allen of Salt Lake. He is 15 years old and is taking preparatory course in the Training department of the Later-day Saints' college.

"I saw a man at one of the local theaters riding one," he said when asked how he started the habit. "I went home and thought That I could build one. I made it from an old bicycle. I have two of them now, with a third being made."

His principle reason for riding one was "just for the fun of it."

"I dislocated one finger in learning to ride," he said, "but in several weeks I was able to ride without much trouble and now I can do several stunts with it."

In comparison with a bicycle he said that the one-wheeled machine was much easier to work and that this was especially noticeable in going up hills.
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Old 2017-09-05, 03:30 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertigo View Post
Perhaps this is what they mean when they say "unicycle".
At the time, I think it applied to anything with one wheel, pedals, and the rider on top. A lot of those early racers and performers were using the "raw" form of an Ordinary with the frame removed, which meant handlebars, but no seat at all.
Quote:

From The Bearing - 1893
That article references "Kaufman", which probably refers to Nick Kaufman, who many consider to be the "father" of Artistic Bicycling (Kunstradfahren). I learned this from the program book at the 1982 Indoor Cycling World Championships, which had a page or two devoted to him. He was a professional performer, who came to Germany from Rochester, NY, and had a big influence on the people who eventually developed Kunstradfahren as a formal sport. It's crazy hard what they do! Our unicycling version of that sport is called Standard Skill. Boring to watch, but a great way to perfect Freestyle-type skills.
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Old 2017-09-05, 06:38 PM   #30
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What a fantastic thread! Thanks for all the contributions. I'm a fellow unicyclist and cornet player, so it was particularly interesting to me.
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