To begin on a brief personal note- it is rather noticeable looking down the side panel that I haven’t posted on here for a while. This can be explained by the fact that over the past few months I have been at bit overwhelmed with work and Victorian cycling as I’ve been in the process of finishing my master’s dissertation, which I am pleased/massively relieved to say has finally been handed in, hurrah!
At this stage I am not too sure whether I’ll go down the route of trying to have it published in some form so won’t be putting it online, but if anyone would like to read it then please email me and I will be very happy to send it over (warning, it is rather long and has much more on late nineteenth-century middle-class masculinity than is the case here).
Although I’ve now finished my masters I will carry on with the blog and be updating it much more frequently than I have been recently- it’s something which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing since I started it last January and I’m excited to see where it might take me next. A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and follow it throughout this year.
Anyway, with Christmas just round the corner I thought it would be good to firstly post some musings which Cycling published in 1891 on the links between Christmas cheer and cycling, and secondly to wish everyone reading this happy festive feasting and jollification!
‘Christmas and Cycling! What affinity exists between the two? Not a great deal, one would imagine; and yet the season of Yule is one that the cycler cannot pass over without notice. For it is as an everyday human being that Christmas, with its time-honored associations, appeals to him. Judged purely from the cycling standpoint, it has no great claim upon his feelings. It is a time when the idea of active participation in the wheel’s delights may generally be dismissed from the mind, and when feasting and jollification hold supreme sway.
As a bright oasis of goodwill and generosity in the dreary desert of selfish strife, the season of Nowell comes as a refreshing solace to any man- be he cycler or no. The cynic may decry the observance of the festival of Christmas, but the great majority of the world’s civilised races are as ardent as ever they were in keeping the one day in the calendar which has wrought such wonderful effects upon humanity. The keynote of ‘Goodwill towards men’ still rings out as clearly as it did nineteen centuries ago, and no doubt it will to the end of the world’s history.
Broad in his view must the cycler necessarily be, and our pastime has been one of the most potent factors in increasing that feeling of mutual goodwill, which should be even more general than it is. Nowadays few men mix so much with their fellow mortals and see so much of the varied phases of life as we cyclers, and so in all our rides abroad do we learn some lesson either from fellow humankind or from Mother Nature. Thus it is that while the rest of the world is at this Christmastide indulging in actions and expressions of goodwill, the cycler joins in the mighty chorus with a heartiness that has no equal.’