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From the touring section...

It is my hope that through these pages I will get more cycletourists out on the road. With this in mind I'd planned a nice little article to get you out there. But last night I spent a while gazing through an old copy of the "The Badminton Library - Cycling" published in 1887 and edited by His Grace The Duke of Beaufort no less... There is a chapter on cycletouring and its introductory paragraph is as relevant as anything today.

"There is little doubt that by far the largest number of active cyclists find their pleasure in touring on their machines. The racing man has to undergo an elaborate and strict preparation marked by many rules and precautions, and although his enthusiasm may carry him through, yet it must admitted that for the most part the work is very severe. On the other hand, the pottering cyclist who never ventures far from home has no idea of the enjoyments to be found in country rambles on the wheel. Many men are precluded by business engagements or physical incapacity from indulging in the fierce joys of competition, but the touring field is practically open to any rider who has the time to devote to it, and the number of quiet cyclists who thus spend their holidays is yearly increasing, as the records of many an old wayside inn will abundantly testify. These holiday tourists, guided by the experience which they have obtained in previous years, or by the advice of their more practical fellows, plan out their trips with an eye to personal comfort, and after a few days of enjoyable riding return home invigorated and instructed.... the short summer tour becomes a fund of lasting amusement, an event to be looked back to with pleasure or anticipated with delight....

So 110 years ago cycletouring was the biggest branch of the sport (for men only...), the car was a dream and the bicycle was the fastest thing on the road, heady days indeed...

GH

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