Fancy cycling 1901

A splendid work lent to Jot101 by a visitor: Fancy Cycling : Trick Riding for Amateurs / by Isabel Marks.[Sands, London 1901]

From Ms Marks preface:

In the following pages it will be my humble endeavour to give an account of the many graceful, daring, and altogether fascinating feats which may be accomplished by any rider possessed of an ordinary amount of nerve, the virtue of determination, and a few spare moments secure from the rude intrusion of unsympathising spectators.

It may safely be assumed that this same practice of trick riding does not diminish the zestful country excursions, nor the pleasures and pains of the annual tour, for to the cyclist no side of the sport is devoid of interest, and among the most ardent the merry trickster prominently figures. More especially are such riders fitted to cope with the difficulties presented by those mountainous regions whose charms appeal so strongly to the lover of beautiful scenery; to them ascents present no difficulties, to them descents are naught.

Very pretty it is to see two ladies ,secure in the knowledge of each other's skill, confident with the trust born of tried experience of each other's capacity, coasting side-by-side,  their hold of handle- bars relinquished, their bicycles moving as one,  their figures gently swaying in graceful unison,  their fingers lightly touching each other's shoulders, their eyes  bright with the joy of motion  and with the pleasure of congenial comradeship.

This class of rider is naturally facile princeps in threading the intricacies of congested traffic in crowded thoroughfares… when watching the stream of cyclists amidst the sea of vehicles and horses it is easy to distinguish between the ordinary rider and the expert. These latter may be known by the accuracy of their serpentine curves amidst the openings out of, meeting and overtaking traffic; by their correct steering and, by the coolness with which, further progress being temporarily barred, the front wheel is right angled, and a stationary balance maintained… I trust that this unworthy effort may further popularise the gentle cult…

More images can be seen at The Science & Society Picture Library. The book's publisher Sands are associated with several rarities including The Adventures of a Journalist by Herbert Cadett (1900 Queen's Quorum), early books on football, SF - Fifteen Hundred Miles an Hour (1895) books by the young Ford Madox Ford and works on the occult. Isabel Marks was not afraid to write fancy prose…the book is presented by her to a Mr Neville whose flier for his new automobile school is loosely inserted (4000 square feet in a drill hall at Abingdon Villas Kensington). Neville also appears to have owned the drill hall in Berkeley Square where the photos were taken. Those were times of ingenious entrepreneurship and rapid change.

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