Bikes Good, Cars Bad

Get out the old bicycle
That grimy ancient wheel,
That use to give us such a thrill
And make our senses reel …
The auto-be-mo-bubble
In now the reigning fad,
Yet the old bicycle days
Made many thousands glad …
Oh, we will give the autos
One long and merry chase,
For hip, hooray, we’re going to have
Another big road race.
This little ditty was published in the Post-Dispatch in May of 1902.  It was part of an article that reported that the number of automobiles in Saint Louis had increased from thirty-five to over two-hundred, in just two years.  The article goes on to announce that in June on 1902, the Forest Park Bicycle Race was being revived.  This race was a big deal back then.  It had regional significance, so it is probably comparable to nowadays Gateway Cup.
By 1911 most horse-drawn carriages had been replaced with the automobile.  That year a brave eighty-three-year-old wrote a letter to the Post-Dispatch.  In that letter he agreed to ride through the Park in an automobile.  He wrote this:

I knew … that my family was fixed for life, and when I die I want to die quickly … I saw some deer, but you never have time to stop and get a good look at anything when you are in one of those automobiles.   We went around in circles.  I spoke to the motorman and asked, if he would know his way out again …When he said he would, I was glad he was there.


About this time, the Saint Louis Police began taking measures to combat “scorchers”.  Policemen and their driver would patrol the Park’s roadways in a “high-speed automobile” equipped with a “speed gauge”, looking to apprehend “scorchers”.  They were there to enforce the Park’s 8 MPH speed limit.

I biked in the Park both Thursday and Friday mornings, before going to work.  Thursday’s ride was gray and the roads were still wet from the preceeding night’s rain.  I didn’t take any pictures and I had to clean my bike after that ride.  Friday’s ride was sunnier and drier.  I got the pictures of the cone flower and the yellow crowned night heron.  I got 15 and 16 miles respectively.  Later Anne and Joanie walked in the Park and she took the two pictures of the Great White Egret and today’s header.

1 thought on “Bikes Good, Cars Bad

  1. The egret’s stance is just like the great blue heron Carl & I saw a few weeks ago. Curl the neck, then tilt the body, and then strike. Great pictures.

Leave a Reply