Mohawk Valley History: June 13, 1895

The Johnstown Daily Republican, June 13, 1895, Johnstown, Fulton County, New York

American Stereoscopic Company. The Start. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .

American Stereoscopic Company. The Start. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .

All about bicycles.

Pronunciation of “Bicycle.”

The constantly growing bicycle fad calls attention to the large number of cases of mispronunciation of the word “bicycle.” There is a certain class of people, particularly New York’s fashionable set, which insists upon giving the “y” a long sound, as in “cycle,” forgetting that a prefix or suffix often changes the sound of the vowel “y.” Still others go to the other extreme and pronounces the word “bi-sik-l.” But even among those who give the “y” the short sound there is a disposition to place the accent on the second syllable instead of on the first, where it belongs. When a word comes into such common use as “bicycle,” it is well to learn to pronounce it correctly.–Troy Times. – Reprinted in The Johnstown Daily Republican

It was reported in The Utica Press the following month on July 18,

MEDICAL men are discussing the appearance of a new disease, or perhaps more properly a novel and distinct cast of countenance known as the bicycle face. Riders are compelled to maintain an upright position by a constant series of small or muscular movements which are controlled by a special brain center in the back of the head and the strain upon it is incessant. Some people can stand it only a short time, and in many cases it produces the symptoms of nervous exhaustion and pallor by which it is recognized, and often serious headache. Those who do not ride too much or too fast need have no fears on this score. – The Utica Press

And, again on August 7, The Utica Press reported,


It is Not New, For Even Alexander Had One With Him.

“How many persons have been annoyed by the criticisms of cycling and jests about the so called bicycle face?” said an enthusiastic sportsman. “For centuries it has been known to close observers that all men and women who ride horses, camels or elephants have set faces. When Alexander commanded his orderlies to face Bucephalus toward the sun that he might not see his shadow, and mounted the fretful charger, does any one believe that the king’s features were relaxed and that the face of the mighty conqueror for a grin? A hundred times no. The great general wore the so called bicycle face. Did not Julius Caesar say that the stern, warlike features of his cavalry were a host when his troopers confronted the infantry of Pompey?

“Did anybody ever see an ancient bas relief or sculpture in which the features of the equestrian figures did not bear the stamp of the bicycle face? Down through the ages every rider bears the set face of the cyclist. Nobody can ride any animal or machine that requires the centralization of thought without his features reflecting the concentration. Railroad engineers, sailors, drivers of trotting horses in races, jockeys, cavalrymen and all other equestrians have the bicycle face.

“…To sum up, anybody who rides every day on a wheel and does not acquire the bicycle lacks character and is a menace to himself and everybody else when on the road or on the track. The bicycle face denotes strength of mind in the persons who possess it. It means alertness, quick perception and prompt action in emergencies.” – New York Tribune (NYS Historic Newspapers)