Bicycles & the Fourth of July of 1899

Redding has long history with the bicycle that we are just starting to rediscover through careful research.  For this Independence Day, we thought we would take a look at at the bicycle parade that was part of Redding’s Fourth of July celebration of 1899.

The Morning Searchlight [a predecessor of today’s Record Searchlight] of that day had an item alerting the public to changes in that day’s parade as follows:

The line of march for the illuminated bicycle parade this evening has been arranged as follows:

From North [Street, now Eureka Way]–down California street to Placer  across Placer to Market, up Market to Trinity, across Trinity to Pine, down Pine to Butte, across Butte to Market, down Market to Yuba, across Yuba to California, down California to North.

The Morning Searchlight ofJuly 6, in an article titled “The Greatest Celebration recapped the bicycle parade thusly:

The bicycle parade in the evening was a thing of beauty. The possibilities of wheel decoration and illumination are almost unlimited. As the procession of silent but fantastic bicycles rolled by the crowd cheered its delight. The first prize of $25 [over $700 in 2014 dollars] was awarded to Mrs. T.L. Price. A Chinese umbrella formed a canopy above her and the rim of this was hung with glowing lanterns. The wheel was otherwise beautified. The second prize of $15 [over $400 dollars in 2014 dollars] was awarded to Mrs. J.E. Pollock and G.W. Schafer of Red Bluff. They rode a companion wheel [an early form of a tandem bicycle where the riders rode side-by-side] which was completely hidden by its decorations. Their canopy was lighted with small incandescent lamps. The third prize went to Harry Bush and George Lawry for their battleship Oregon which they had constructed about a tandem.

Today, this tradition is carried on by Shasta Living Streets and friends, who ride in the Redding Rodeo Parade. Stay tuned for more fascinating bits of Redding’s lost cycling history, and have a Happy Fourth of July!

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