Queen City Cycling Club hosts first ever Seattle bicycle tournament on July 5, 1888.

  • By Chris Goodman
  • Posted 9/05/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3532
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On July 5, 1888, the Queen City Cycling Club holds Seattle's first bicycle tournament, featuring entries from all over Washington Territory and Oregon.

According to the program published for the event, participants were to include Prince Wells, "whose skill as a fancy rider is well known throughout the Union" (Official Program). Prince Wells was brought in at "great expense" as a celebrity cyclist.

"We Guarantee You a Fine Day of Exciting Sport"

The events of that July 5 were scheduled to include:

  • Grand 5-mile race -- Bicycle vs. Horse. Prize: $250
  • One Mile Club Championship of Tacoma. Prize: Gold Medal
  • One-half Mile, open to boys under 17, and riding 52-inch wheels or under. 1st prize: Bicycle shoes

The equipment of the sport consisted of a type of early bicycle in which the rider was seated over a very tall front wheel, with a much smaller wheel trailing just behind. This type of bicycle was called a penny farthing.

The Queen City Cycling Club

Officers of the Queen City Cycling Club were listed in the program as:

  • Howard H. Lewis... President
  • R. Agassiz... Vice-President
  • P. B. Lawrence... Secretary
  • T. R. Pumphrey... Treasurer

"Officers of the Day" were listed as:

  • M. Avery, President, Tacoma Wheelmen and Ed L. Terry... Judges
  • A Hansen and C. H. Kittinger... Time Keepers
  • V. H. Smith... Referee
  • J. H. Lewis... Starter
  • H. W. Clara... Clerk of the Course


Official Program: First Bicycle Tournament of the Queen City Cycling Club (Seattle, Lowman and Hanford Stationery and Printing Co., 1888).

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