HRCentury forecast looks sunny

Rob Gusky, 2014 HRCentury
Rob Gusky, 2014 HRCentury

Just in from organizer Rob Gusky is this sitrep on this coming weekend’s Historic Riverton Century and 3-Mile Community Ride:

FYI – everything is looking good for Saturday’s events – here are some updates

Registrations 12 – 100 mile Century riders
• 5 – 30 mile riders from Bordentown
• 64 – Community Ride participants
• 23 – Orange Blossom Dinner attendees

Saturday’s Weather Forecast (From National Weather Service):  Mostly sunny, with a high near 79

Route:    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/14208266

positive press june 2016Timetable: 8 am – riders leave from Millburn
• 2 pm – riders at Bordentown
• 4:30 pm – riders gather in parking lot near old District Restaurant (N corner) for Community Ride – Carlos Rogers to M/C
• The Community Ride ends at Memorial Park, where refreshments will be available and a short ceremony will be held commemorating the event
• 7 pm – Dinner at Orange Blossom – $15 pay at door

PS: Perfect Timing – Thank you to HSR’s Susan Dechnik for writing a cover story for Editor Regina Collinsgru’s June issue of The Positive Press.

Annie Londonderry’s legacy

Miss Londonderry
Miss Londonderry

These webpages have recounted the exploits of the riders of the 1895 New York Times Tri-State Relay Race more than a few times. As that event unfolded in June 1895, Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky, a young mother of three children, was just three months from completing her goal of bicycling around the world  – a remarkable achievement she supposedly undertook on a wager between two wealthy Boston club men.

Seemingly impossible conditions imposed on the bet was that she start penniless, not accept handouts, earn $5,000 along the way, and complete the journey in fifteen months.

annie_londonderryMrs. Kopchovsky financed her adventure with income earned through product endorsements, by displaying advertising banners on herself and on her bike, by giving riding demonstrations, selling photos and souvenirs, and by making personal appearances.

August 12, 1895, Denver Rocky Mountain News, p.3
August 12, 1895, Denver Rocky Mountain News, p.3

Not far into her trip, newspapers dubbed her Annie “Londonderry,” a sobriquet earned when she started to display a placard for the Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company on her bike as a promotion.

It would be generous to say that she was given to tall-tales and embellishment in telling of her exploits. In interviews and later wrings the natural entrepreneur and master of self-promotion constantly reinvented her own back story and told sensational tales of hunting Bengal tigers with a German prince, close calls with encountering highwaymen in France, and of time spent in a Japanese prison. She may have even fabricated her claim that a wager inspired her.

Press and Horticulturist, June 8, 1895, p.1
Press and Horticulturist, June 8, 1895, p.1

Periodicals of the era chronicled her adventures much as they followed the travels of Nellie Bly in her successful attempt in 1889, to break the record of Phileas Fogg, the fictional character from Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.

Annie completed her circumnavigation in just under fifteen months.

But unlike the her globe-trotting counterpart Nellie Bly, the exploits of Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, which advanced women’s bicycling in the United States and made her one of the most celebrated women the 1890s, were largely forgotten until author Peter Zheutlin penned Around the World on Two Wheels in 2007.

Since then, Londonderry’s remarkable story has been the subject of dozens of blogs, magazine articles, a 2011 musical play by Evalyn Parry called SPIN, and a 2013 documentary film produced by Gillian Klempner Willman titled The New Woman – Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky

In 2006, filmmaker Gillian Klempner Willman sought to recreate the leg of Annie’s 1894 trip from New York City to Boston with the help of Gary Sanderson, antique bicycle enthusiast and current editor American Bicyclist Magazine, and others.

Ms. Willman’s described Mr. Sanderson’s contribution in her April 15, 2006 blog entry.

Gary Sanderson, image credit: spokeswomanproductions.com
Gary Sanderson, image credit: spokeswomanproductions.com

The Society is most fortunate to have Gary Sanderson appear with his c.1895 Indian Racer at the Historic Riverton Century and 3-Mile Community Ride Ceremony on June 11.

Rob Gusky, originator of the June 11 event reports that at least six women athletes have registered to ride at eventbrite.com.

Carlos Rogers’ Historic Riverton Criterium on June 12 features a Women’s Cat 1/2/3 event that promises a $500 purse, neutral support, beauty and haircare gift baskets for the top 3 places, and cash primes!

HRC_cowbell

When you watch those women athletes next weekend remember the debt owed to the legacy of Annie Londonderry which has helped make their participation possible.

And make some noise with those cowbells. – JMc

Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever. – Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 BC – 43 BC

News from the front

SafetyFlourish

Key bullets resulting from a conference call with Rob Gusky this morning and an email from Phyllis Rodgers about the upcoming Historic Riverton Century, 3-Mile Community Ride, and Historic Riverton Criterium follow:

  • Eventbrite regisistration as of June 1 (10 days to go for the June 11 launch)
  • full-century riders committed to ride from Millburn, NJ to Riverton – 12
  • cyclists committed to ride from Bordentown – 9
  • 6 of the riders are women
  • 3-Mile Community Ride participants – 44
  • Orange Blossom meal ticket for after the event – 21
HRCentury 2016 button
HRCentury 2016 button

HSR President Phyllis Rodgers adds these details about the two-day cycling event

  • Saturday, approx. 4PM-4:30, representatives of the Society to meet Community Riders at District parking lot; Check children for helmets and waivers; Give out buttons to children
  • Speakers at the brief ceremony  at Memorial Park on Saturday include Mayor Cairns, Paul Schopp, Gary Sanderson with his c.1895 bike, and originator Rob Gusky
  • Dinner at Orange Blossom 7PM
  • Marshals for Sunday’s big Criterium advised to bring an umbrella or sunscreen, and a chair
  • Still need some more volunteer marshals – contact Iris Gaughan at iggaughan@gmail.com or 856-829-8671
  • Support of the Criterium at gofundme
  • HSR members will sell HSR merch at a table outside the Library

– JMc

Summer is almost here, campers

Camp Lenape 1957
Camp Lenape 1957

If June is here, summer camp can’t be far behind.

Today there are computer camps, karate camps, space camps, basketball camps, art camps, and many more, but the place for legions of boys around here during the 1950s was Medford Township’s Camp Lenape.

My friend and frequent collaborator, Harlan Radford, Jr., is preparing an article on Camp Lenape, a 400 acre Boy Scout camp that developers bought in 1987 and turned into building lots for luxury homes.

Ye Olde Swimming Hole, Camp Lenape, Medford, NJ c.1954
Ye Olde Swimming Hole, Camp Lenape, Medford, NJ c.1954

If you know where he might find a map or diagram showing the layout and names of campsites within, please advise.

Community Ride not Riverton’s first cavalcade of cycles

News of Interest... Philadelphia Inquirer, September 19, 1894, Page 3
News of Interest… Philadelphia Inquirer, September 19, 1894, Page 3

The 3-Mile Community Ride planned to welcome the Historic Riverton Century Riders on June 11 is not the first bicycle procession around the streets of Riverton.

Cycling at Riverton, Philadelphia Inquirer,  September 17, 1894, Page 3
Cycling at Riverton, Philadelphia Inquirer, September 17, 1894, Page 3

In September 1894, in conjunction with an upcoming bicycle race on Riverton’s race track, the Ladies Floral Tournament Club of Riverton orchestrated a complex parade of some twenty-five carriages through the main roads of Riverton.

The wheelmen of the Riverton Athletic Association on their decorated bicycles traveled in opposite directions.

Participants were awarded prizes for the best decorated carriages and bicycles.

It ended with refreshments at the clubhouse of the Riverton Athletic Association.

Another article publicized the innovation of bicycle races by a dozen electric arc lights for the September 25th meet.

Imagine the spectacle of a day given over to the sport of bicycling attended by almost 4,000 fans.

Bicycle race by electric light, September 26, 1894, Trenton Evening Times New Jersey, Page 7
Bicycle race by electric light, September 26, 1894, Trenton Evening Times New Jersey, Page 7

You don’t have to imagine because soon Riverton will devote two days to cycling events – the Historic Riverton Century and Community Ride on Saturday, June 11, and the Historic Riverton Criterium the next day on Sunday, June 12.

There is still time to register for the Community Ride and dinner as well as support the Criterium at gofundme, with the Society being the main beneficiary.

Contact Iris Gaughan at iggaughan@gmail.com or 856-829-8671 if you are able to serve as a race marshal or help sell merchandise. – JMc

19th century style Girl Power

abbie rollins, century rider, sporting life, june 15, 1895
Sporting Life, June 15, 1895, p32

Friends of this website already know of our fascination with Riverton bicycle events, especially ones associated with the words “historic” and “century.”

But did you know the 1895 NYC-Riverton relay race produced a pioneering New York cyclist who became the first woman relay rider?

Los Angeles Herald, June 2, 1895
Los Angeles Herald, June 2, 1895

This 1895 illustration shows typical women’s cycling  fashions. We only wish we knew more about Miss Rollins and the gentleman who came to her aid.

Evening Star (Washington, DC) August 7, 1895. Page  3
Evening Star (Washington, DC) August 7, 1895. Page 3

It was that same 1895 Tri-State Relay Race from New York City to Riverton that inspired Rob Gusky to recreate that ride in 2014. In fifteen days he will again pedal a hundred miles to Riverton.

Be there June 11 to welcome the riders of the 2016 Historic Riverton Century with a 3-mile victory lap around town ending with a ceremony at Riverton Park.

Come back the next day on June 12 to witness the thrill of competitive cycling on a .8 course through Riverton’s historic streets in the sixth running of Carlos Rodgers’ Historic Riverton Criterium.  – JMc

 

 

HSR Meeting May 24 to discuss cycle events and vote on Board seats

Nellie Bly Bi orig (Copy)

What better place for a discussion of upcoming cycling events than Nellie Bly’s Olde Tyme Ice Cream Parlour?

The Annual Meeting of the Historical Society convenes on Tuesday, May 24 at 7pm.

Iris Gaughan, our cycling event liaison, explains our need for some volunteers:

Dear HSR Members and Riverton Friends… Please note that the Historic Riverton Century and 3-Mile Community Ride will take place on June 11th , and the Historic Riverton Criterium on June 12th.  A description of this two-day event is in the current issue of The Gaslight News.

THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF RIVERTON WILL BE THE PRIMARY BENEFICIARY OF FUNDS COLLECTED FROM THE HISTORIC RIVERTON CRITERIUM.

We need your help!  For the Criterium on June 12th, 24 corner marshals are needed…this entails standing at one of the race corners making sure no one crosses the street while the bike racers are passing.  Each marshal will spend one hour at a corner.  The marshal needs to stand for the entire hour.  If you feel you are not able to physically perform this task, perhaps you have someone in your family or a friend who could step in to help.  You must be 16 years of age to be a marshal.  Once you volunteer, specific directions will be sent directly to you.   If you feel you are not able to do this task,  volunteers are needed to sell tee shirts.  We need 2 people per hour for the 5 hour duration of the race, each person working one hour.

Please contact Iris Gaughan at iggaughan@gmail.com or 856-829-8671 if you are able to give an hour of your time on June 12th.

Other items on the Annual Meeting menu include making nominations for Board members and ice cream sundaes for all members attending. – JMc

Totally worth it

IMG_0798 (Copy)

Linda McCormick, Phyllis Rodgers, Susan Dechnik
Linda McCormick, Phyllis Rodgers, Susan Dechnik

The rain held off this morning and even when it came it was just intermittently drizzly.

Soon we almost had enough people to convene a meeting of Retired Riverton School Teachers.

It was great to catch up with RPS alum, Kim Piotrowski, with her mom, Ann Marie.

We enjoyed conversing with browsers who came by the Porch Club during the Garden Tour.

May Hannah brought by a color postcard of Fulton Street, c.1912, for me to scan.

IMG_0857 (Copy)Shown here framed, click here to see the retouched scan I made from it.

In the course of congratulating Tom Shaw on the work he is doing on his house at 301 Main Street the origin story of the famous Duster sailboat came up.

Duster history, The New Era, March 11, 1937, p3
Duster history, The New Era, March 11, 1937, p3

Local lore holds that Owen Merrill designed and built the first Duster there in a room on the 3rd floor. He and some friends lowered the craft from a window, took it down to the river, and christened it a “Duster”.  It became a world-class sailboat.

Tom is convinced that he has seen a newspaper photo of that moment – but where? Let’s ask the universe to find it. If a reader can direct me, please help. Tom wants to find an old Duster, seaworthy or not, that he can plant in his garden as a kind of “The Duster was born here” historical marker.

IMG_0856 (Copy)After grazing on a luncheon plate of goodies prepared by the Porch Club women, I also bought two table centerpieces composed of papier mache birds and plants in tiny Dreer’s Nursery terracotta flower pots that were found on the riverbank near the Pompeston Creek.

IMG_0851 (Copy)Bunched together here on my picnic table in Delran they will wind up in the HSR Museum at some point. It is coming together slowly… very slowly.

Oh yeah, we also sold five mugs, too, so the day spent was totally worth it.  – JMc