First cyclist to reach Mt. Hamilton summit – 1882

Imagine riding one of these beasts to the summit of Mt. Hamilton in 1882.

I keep finding more accounts of cyclists reaching the Mt. Hamilton summit at earlier dates.

His name was F.M. Graham and the date was May 15, 1882, a Monday. No other details are available.

Thomas Fraser, a construction superintendent at Lick Observatory, said it was “the first vehicle of its kind we have ever seen here.”

Mount Hamilton Road was completed in December 1876, so there’s no guarantee that Fraser was the first cyclist, but certainly one of the first.

Previously I reported that A.A. Bouton reached the summit in January 1888.

I found another detailed account from April 1888.

Graham signed the guest registry book, which is mentioned in the excellent book James Lick’s Monument by Helen Wright.

If the bike had a 52-inch wheel, the gear would be equivalent to today’s 42/22. That’s not bad. However, the bikes weighed about 40 pounds. That’s not good.

If the bike was a 48-inch wheel, not unusual, it would be about a 42/24.

Descending had its own set of challenges for a high-wheeler.

One Response to “First cyclist to reach Mt. Hamilton summit – 1882”

  1. Steve Nash Says:

    I can imagine it — I and a friend rode our 36″ diameter unicycles up Mt Hamilton in 2008 to watch the Tour of California bike race:

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2008/02/21/tour-of-california-fans-cheer-from-peaks-to-san-jose-streets/

    I’m sure the road was in a lot worse shape in 1882 though!

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