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Bicycling by the Captain

One of the prettiest and most interesting sights ever seen in the gay city of Newport was the parade of bicyclers last Decoration-day, where, among the one hundred and fifty riders, were to be seen the uniforms of twenty-five crack clubs.

The illustration of the procession on next page shows it on Bellevue Avenue while passing the quaint and beautiful Casino Building. First of all rides the commander, Captain Hodges, of the Boston Bicycle Club, and directly behind him, riding three abreast, are the six marshals of the procession, who act as his aides. Then come the men of the New York Club, in gray and scarlet, riding in column of fours, and followed by the long line of glittering steel and gay uniforms that stretches for nearly a mile along the pleasant street.

Crowds of people have gathered to watch the procession, and their cheers, as some particularly well-drilled club passes, cause the men to ride with great care, and to preserve their lines so well that they move with the steadiness and precision of a body of cavalry.

Of all the riders in this long procession, the youngest was probably the best. Theodore R——, or "the young captain," as he is called, is but fourteen years old, and looks much younger. He lives in Philadelphia, and has practiced riding the bicycle in a rink in that city until his performances upon it are as wonderful as those of a circus rider on his horse.

In the picture of "the young captain" he is represented as mounted on his own machine, of which the driving-wheel is but forty-two inches in diameter. His most wonderful riding is, however, done upon a bicycle twelve or fourteen inches higher than this, and of which he can but barely touch the pedals as they come up. Thus he keeps the machine in motion by a succession of little kicks or pushes. He rides bicycles so tall that to gain the saddle he has actually to climb up the backbone of the machine after he has set it in motion with a vigorous push.

"The young captain" is a very bright boy, and excels in all games and feats of skill, while at the same time he is a good scholar, and stands well in all his classes.

Since the great Newport meet of bicyclers, or "wheelmen," as they are now generally called in this country, a number of letters containing questions about bicycles have been written by boys anxious to become riders, and sent to Young People. In the following hints to young riders I will try and answer all these questions:

Any active boy of ten years of age and upward may become a wheelman.

It is best to learn to ride on an old-fashioned wooden machine, or "bone-shaker," or on a bicycle so low that the rider may touch the ground with his toes. By this means he will learn to maintain his balance without getting any serious falls.

Anybody who can ride a "bone-shaker" can ride a bicycle, though in the latter case he must learn to mount his machine before he can ride it.

To learn the "mount" take your machine by the handles, give it a running push, place your left foot on the step, and, rising from the ground, maintain your balance as long as possible in that position without attempting to gain the saddle. After trying this a dozen times or more, try to take your seat in the saddle, not with a spring, but slide in easily, and do not let your body lean forward or you may pitch over the handles.

A beginner should have his saddle set well back on the spring. Although this position gives less power, it is much safer.

In going up hill lean well forward, and transfer the entire weight from the saddle to the pedals. Do not be ashamed to dismount in going up hill, but do so in every case rather than exhaust yourself.

In going down hill lean back as far as possible, and keep your machine under control. A little practice in back-pedalling, or pushing against the pedal as it comes up rather than as it goes down, will enable you to take your machine down very steep hills at ordinary walking pace. If your machine does escape from your control, throw your legs over the handles, and "coast," as you are less liable to get a bad fall while in this position than in any other.

Keep to the right of the road as much as possible. Always keep to the right when you meet a team, foot-passenger, or other bicycle, and in overtaking any of these always pass to the left. Dismount and walk past any horse that becomes frightened at your bicycle.

Always carry a light when riding at night.

Be careful not to use your whistle or bell more than is absolutely necessary, otherwise you will become a nuisance, and as such will not be a welcome addition to the ranks of wheelmen.

Remember that while you have rights for which you are bound to stand up, others have equal rights, which you are equally bound to respect.

In selecting a bicycle, be sure that it fits you perfectly. Do not gratify a mistaken ambition by trying to ride a wheel that is too large for you. The larger the wheel, the more difficulty you will find in driving it up hill.

As soon as you own a bicycle, make yourself familiar with every part of it, and especially with all its adjustments.

Never lend your bicycle.

Always clean and adjust it yourself. If it gets broken, send it to none but a first-class machinist for repairs.