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The Way We Were… Cycling in the 1920s – Part 4

Published on: 29 Dec, 2013
Updated on: 29 Dec, 2013

Another look at 1920s cycling. A hundred miles cycling in one day would be a challenge for most of us today, even with lighter more reliable bikes and better kit.

In this fourth article on cycling in that “roaring” decade, more extracts are reprinted from “The Modern Cyclist 1923″. Martin Giles

The front cover of The Modern Cyclist 1923

The front cover of The Modern Cyclist 1923

A hundred in a day…

Though 50 or 60 miles in one day may have been your maximum hitherto, there comes a time when it would be an immense convenience to you to double that distance, if only as a matter of dodging a railway  journey.

Any cyclist, man or woman, who is good enough in physique and health to ride 50 or 60 miles on a Saturday or Sunday holiday, can double it in the course of a long summer day without undue fatigue and without special preparation, supposing that he is decently mounted and does not encounter a strong head wind all the way.

The two chief factors in success are an early start and a slow start. Do not cut too big a slice out of the preceding night’s rest; but if you are in bed by 10.30 you should be ready (for once) to be up at five and off at six. A cold bath or cold sponge and rough towel, are then worth more than the time they take. Eat a good breakfast but not more than usual.

If there are any steep hills to climb in the first part of the day, walk them, variable gear or no. Remember that if you average eight miles an hour, including stops, for twelve hours, you will have covered a hundred soon after six pm and there are still three or four hours of daylight left. Aim at riding so easily that your last 50 will be faster than the first.

Do not go much more than 20 miles or two hours without food, but do not be always eating. Carry raisins or chocolate or even biscuits in your pockets, or in a little bag where you can reach them without dismounting.

Chew these things very thoroughly and keep them in the mouth until they disappear. Apples and oranges are better than any drinks. Drink as little as possible and never take alcoholic drinks on a long ride.

"I say, have you ever considered cycling without a tie?" "Certainly not! What school did you say you went to, old boy?

First male cyclist: “I say, have you ever considered cycling without a tie?”
Second male cyclist: “Certainly not! What school did you say you went to, old boy?”

Mineral waters are utterly useless by themselves, but if lemon juice is squeezed into them, they become refreshing and satisfying drinks. Only people who perspire heavily need drink a lot. Lemon juice in tea without milk is a really good thirst-quencher and pick-me-up.

Do not be afraid of a good dinner, but don’t exert yourself for an hour after it. Tea should never be drunk strong unless it is China tea, and never with a meat meal. China tea is far more wholesome than the other kinds.

Do not wear anything that is tight, especially at neck,wrists or knees. The best way to rest is to lie full length.

If you can neither eat nor sleep at the end of a ride, you have dangerously over taxed your energy. It is a case of bed until you sleep, and it is one of the few when a glass of hot toddy is medicinal and beneficial.

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