Bicycle Diaries: Outing

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the original
biker zine

Well before it meant something different altogether, Outing was THE mag for the active British gentleman. It covered a wide range of sporting activities, including biking, during the late 19th and early 20 centuries. First published in 1882 under the title of the Wheelman; it went through four title changes before ceasing publication in 1923. But it never strayed far from it's original mission:

Outing was also popular here in the US; prossibly because of our slavish Anglophilia during the Gilded Age. It attracted the best American authors and illustrators. Jack London's White Fang was serialized in from May through October, 1906. And Frederic Remington, having lost his inheritance, did many of its illustrations.

Thomas Stevens, the first to circle the globe on a bike, also serialized his adventures. I originally came across Outing while I was looking for articles on winter biking. GoogleBooks coughed up a number of issues featuring Alfred C. Stokes, biologist and erstwhile biker from Britain. He must have been a regular contributor since I found articles on topics ranging from quick road repairs to the joys of winter biking.
IT IS NOT A DREAM A BICYCLING SKETCH ... Winter riding is not pleasant in spite of the assertions to the contrary of some that must be thinking of the fragrant and sunny South where the bicyclist has the year on his string and may play it and do with it as he pleases. But to us of the North when the heavy sky comes clown and covers us with its chill winter riding is not pleasant.

There are I believe reformed cyclists who have written confessions in which they tell us who are not reformed that when under the best conditions they have seemed to be gliding smoothly and with little effort every joint has been rattling and every tooth leaping in its socket I think that unless the reformed were telling lies they had been experimenting with winter riding when the roads...

It is better to light the fire and your pipe put your feet on the mantelpiece and travel the summer roads in a mental vision. In the curling smoke you may see the summer adventures and hear the summer sounds.

Then we can dream about the time when the cyclist with loving care wheels the machine through the alley and out of the front gate with a wicked wish that someone might be envying him his good luck in possessing such a treasure.

He is not conceited nor self conscious beyond the majority of his fellows but you remember the beginning of a certain rider's career when he tried to seem bold while his heart was making a lump in his throat with fear of a disaster and his hands grasped the vulcanite with frantic clutch. But that passes.

The time always comes when the wheelman is like that classic woodchuck that sat under the tree where he cared for nobody and nobody cared for he. Then cheerfully he rides with holes in his knickerbockers a hat down over his ears and shoes that have seen better days.

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