City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

July 7, 2017

June 28th

Filed under: People — canopus56 @ 3:23 pm

The Lady on the Bicycle

5:30 p.m. Today, a woman rides past me going uphill as I descend down canyon. She is a racing bicyclist, one of thousands that come to the canyon each year to exercise on the canyon’s uphill grade. She wears brightly color stretch fabrics covered in advertisements and rides a polycarbonate framed machine. Her legs are well-defined and her back ripples with muscles.

* * * *

Per Thoreau’s “Journal” on June 28th, 1851, he notes that white clover is in heavy bloom and that mulleins are growing. Swamp pink is in its first bloom. He observes that when the air is heavy with moisture, the outlines of distant ridges are indistinct. He hears bobolinks. He observes that crickets during the summer, make noise during the daytime and also at night.

* * * *

Today’s female bicycle rider is representative of the social distance that women have traveled over the last century. An entertaining article on the development of mass cycling in Utah by Salt Lake Community College history professor Thomas Moore contains a historical photograph of a Salt Lake female rider from the 1890s (Moore 2011, 272). The rider stands behind her heavy steel safety bicycle in a long floor length overcoat. The machine of today’s rider is far more technologically advanced than the models of the 1890s. An 1894 advertisement, that records the sales of bicycles and wheels with wooden rims to women, noted models weighed in a 21.5 lbs (Salt Lake Tribune, June 28th, 1894). Moore notes that the popularization of the mass produced bicycle in Utah beginning around 1890 coincided with the rise of Salt Lake’s new industrial manufacturing middle class. The new bicycles quickly became a necessity for that new laboring class who needed an inexpensive way to travel longer distances to work (Moore, 270). The new disruptive technology also challenged established social values by giving lower classes better freedom of movement (id., 265-266). Women took advantage of this by using the bicycle for both work and recreation. The new bicycles also provided a justification for women to purchase and wear clothing that was less restrictive than Victorian norms. Moore records one bicycling club, the “It” club, that in 1899 and 1900, consisted of single men and women, who made unescorted recreational rides up City Creek Canyon (id., 272). The new bicycle technology of the 1890s provided one of the many starting points for advancement of United States women’s social and political rights (Stone, Chap. 21; Moore).

The new urban bicyclists also clashed with existing horses and horse drawn carriages owned by the City’s wealthier residents (Moore, 274-277). Since the streets were unpaved, the new bicyclists preferred to ride on the sidewalks where they conflicted with pedestrians. This generated more conflict between the social classes (id). In 1893, City Council President Loofbourow proposed banning all bicycles from the City. He stated that, “I would not only abolish them from the city all together, but I would encourage a movement to send them [all the bicyclists] to the head of City Creek canyon and keep them there, as they are an intolerable nuisance” (Deseret Evening News, June 7th, 1893).

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On June 28th, 2006, the Huntsman Cancer Institute plans a sarcoma awareness run up City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake Tribune). On June 28th, 1925, annual road work on the City Creek Canyon Road up to Rotary Park several miles up the canyon has been completed by the City prison crew (Salt Lake Telegram). One June 28th, 1918, City Waterworks Commission Nelsen ordered the closure of City Creek Canyon after a brushfire broke out in the early morning (Salt Lake Telegram). On June 28th, 1905, the new boulevard scenic route up City Creek Canyon and around the bench was nearly complete and will be inspected by a committee including former Governor Heber M. Wells (Salt Lake Herald). On June 28th, 1894, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story-advertisement extolling the resilience of Stearns bicycles during a road race up City Creek Canyon Road.


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