Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Servizio Corse Strade Bianche - Chapter I

Alfred Letourner set the motor paced Speed Record of a measured mile in a time of 33.05 seconds or 108.92 miles per hour! May 17th, 1941.

Alfred Letourner drafting behind the modified race car in the year 1941

Alfred Letourner was a champion six day racer during the 1920's and 30s. The Frenchman was known as the "Red Devil". He won his first New York six-day race in March 1931 while wearing number 13 which he had insisted on. He was known for his daring riding style while racing.

Alfred Leourner set the motor paced Speed Record for a measured mile on May 17th, 1941 covering a mile in 33.05 seconds at an average speed of 108.92 miles per hour! He was drafting behind a midget racing car with a special wind break attached. The race car was driven by Ronnie Householder on a highway outside of Bakersfield, California. It took Letourner three miles to get over the 100 miles per hour speed, and another four miles to slow down.

The record he broke was one that he had set a few weeks earlier at a speed of 90.91 miles per hour.

Letourner on his record setting bicycle. Notice the huge front chainring that almost touches the ground and the set back fork and small front wheel. The front end of this bicycle is designed this way so he could get as close as possible to the draft vehicle. Imagine doing that at over 100 miles per hour!

The winning team shaking hands

Alfred Letourner pulling an Airstream trailer with his bicycle for an Airstream advertisement. A local Veterinarian who was an Airstream and cycling enthusiast recreated this historic photo in the 1990s right here in Winston-Salem.

Monday, May 30, 2011

BSA Bicycle Ad from 1912

Click on the image to enlarge it

Sunday Afternoon Endurance Ride 5/29/11

This afternoon Jason Williams and I met on the Muddy Creek Greenway and went on an endurance ride. We wound our way out of Winston-Salem, NC into the country side. Our route took us through Tobaccoville  and King, NC. It was a little on the hot side, but we had a fun ride. Below is the story of how Tobaccoville got it's name and a few short videos from our ride.

How Did Tobaccoville Get Its Name?
Tobaccoville was named for a plug chewing tobacco factory owned and operated in the 1870's by Charles Orrender. The factory was located on what is now Doral Drive, one mile south of the present day post office at the Tobaccoville crossroads. This area was the mail route of a 4-horse stagecoach from Mt. Airy to Winston-Salem, which changed horses at Donnaha and forded the Little Yadkin River. When the river water was high, the horses were forced to swim, and the mail was frequently lost. People regularly gathered in the area to watch the stagecoach come and go.
The Orrender Tobacco Factory was the principal landmark in the area, and the name "Tobaccoville" was suggested for the post office. Charles Orrender was commissioned as the first postmaster of Tobaccoville on October 1, 1887. Eight postmasters have since served.
When the railroad was built, the post office was moved to be near the railroad, and it became a popular gathering place. People came on Sunday afternoons just to see who got on and off the train. The railroad brought much activity to the community.

Frank Patterson's Amazing Illustrations

Frank Patterson know as "Pat"

Through his drawings, the British artist, Patterson captured the essence of the early twentieth century countryside and the joy of exploring it on two wheels. Patterson was an avid cyclist in his younger days until a knee injury forced him to give it up at the age of 35.

From 1898, Patterson lived and worked deep in the countryside at Pear Tree Farm near Billinghurst, West Sussex. He worked his land and also worked in his study, fulfilling his contract of ten drawings a week for the magazine publishers Temple Press. Frank Patterson provided illustrations for "Cycling" magazine from the 1880s right up until his death in 1952. He became equally popular in the "Cycling Touring Club Gazette" where his drawings appeared from 1925 onwards. He also did work for many other companies. In his early years Frank did illustrations for the Gresham Publishing Company's guide to household management entitled "The Book of the Home".

I hope you enjoy Frank Patterson's drawings as much as I do. It is truly amazing to think of the patience and skill it would take to make such drawings with only black ink and white paper.

Pear Tree Farm

An advertisement for Brooks Saddles by Frank Patterson


An example of Patterson's furniture illustrations

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Giro d' Italia 1956: Charly Gaul en Monte Bondone

Albert Marquet sets the motor paced speed record in 1937

Frenchman Albert Marquet set the motor paced speed record of 85.3 miles per hour in 1937. He did this in Los Angeles, California drafting behind a Cord car with a fairing added to the back. If you look closely you can see the extended exhaust pipe exiting out of the bottom right corner of the fairing. The extended exhaust kept the fumes away fromMarquet as he rode.

Sam Whittingham's 82.33 MPH run at Battle Mountain 2008

Mile-A-Minute Murphy

This bike belonged to Charles Minthorn Murphy, who became a national celebrity as the first cyclist to ride a mile in less than a minute.

Mile-A-Minute Murphy and Tom Butler during a roller race in 1901.

In 1899, Murphy (who was a seasoned cyclist and had covered a mile in 37 seconds on rollers) boasted that there was not a train in the world that could drop him. He theorized that he could ride in the slipstream of any vehicle and keep pace with it.

In a fit of old-timey insanity, a length of track was covered with boards so that both a train and cyclist could ride on it. Dozens of journalists piled into the last car of an empty train (which had been modified somewhat to create a slipstream), and Murphy instructed the engineer to go as fast as he could. On the first run, Murphy finished the mile in 1 minute 8 seconds, but that was because the conductor couldn't get his train over 60 miles/hour. A second attempt was necessary, and this time the engine's regulator was removed.

Mile-A-Minute Murphy riding on the covered train tracks.

The second attempt proved challenging in other ways. According to Murphy,

"Within five seconds the rate of speed was terrific; I was riding in a maelstrom of swirling dust,
hot cinders, paper and other particles of matter. The whipsaw feeling through a veritable storm of fire became harder every second. I could feel myself getting weaker every second I saw ridicule, contempt, disgrace and a lifetime dream gone up in smoke. I saw the agonised faces, yelling, holding out stretched hands as if they would like to get hold of or assist me somehow"

Near the 45 second mark, the train was starting to drop Murphy. He dug in, closed the gap, and then crashed into the back of the train as it crossed the one mile marker (he was able to grab the guard rail and was pulled aboard by journalists). He had covered a mile in 57.8 seconds.

Mile-A-Minute Murphy riding behind the modified train car.

Tests were done to see if the modified train created a back draft at speed by throwing paper and other light objects from the back. It was discovered that there was no back draft or tailwind created by the train and that the wind swirled about two hundred feet behind the train. If Murphy had been dropped by the train at high speed the swirling wind would have blown him off the track and he would have been seriously injured if not killed.

The heavy weight of the train made the tracks sink as it went over them. after the train had passed the tracks sprung back into their original position. This created a constant wave like motion on the board surface that Murphy was riding on. Part of the time during his ride he was actually air borne. This was truly a dangerous ride.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A brief bicycle ride through Amsterdam

Joan Crawford Rides A Bicycle On Rollers

From The River Park on Old 421 to Rockford and Back

The group ridding up to the Rockford Store
(Clicking on the images will enlarge them)
 I headed out for a ride from my house and thought I might be able to join in with this group for a nice ride on this Sunday afternoon. They usually pull out from the park at 2:00. I knew it would be close so I time trialed the whole way there. Sure enough just as I was approaching the entrance to the park the group was riding out of the parking lot. I pulled up to the back of the group and sat on. 

We headed toward Yadkinville on old Highway 421 for a short way and turned right onto Taylor Road. This took us in the direction of the Town of East Bend, NC. After passing through East Bend we turned right onto Rockford Road. This was a good group to ride with and we had a tail wind most of the way to Rockford. 

Once we reached the town of Rockford, NC we regrouped at the store and took a short break. The Rockford Store is always a nice place to ride to. 

On the way back to the River Park we rode up Richmond Hill and then came in on Forbush Road, Baltimore Road and on to Old 421 Hwy. 

This is a nice ride of approximately 38 miles. Skip Brown did a great job of leading the ride and looking after all the riders. The Rockford Store has been a favorite ride destination for many years and I would recommend it whole heartily.

Taking a break on the front porch of the store

Another photo of the store

The store's entrance
Skip Brown the ride leader

Basics of Going by bike - Commuting