Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Scorcher


Although it would have been difficult for Pringle to look other than a gentleman, with his slim athletic figure clothed in the sweater, the cycling suit, and the cap and badge (especially the badge), he presented a fair likeness of the average Sunday scorcher. The manners of the tribe he fortunately saw no necessity to assume. 

To perfect the resemblance, the scorcher being comparable to a man who shall select a racehorse for a day's ride over country roads, it was necessary to "strip" his machine, so, removing the mudguards and brake, and robbing the chain of its decent gear-case, he substituted the "ram's-horn" for his handlebar.

R Austin Freeman and John Pitcairn – The Adventures of Romney Pringle (1902)

The scorchers are still with us but I'm not so sure about the gentleman cyclists who looked down on them with such disdain over a century ago. 


Demetrius said...

Grannie, born 1876, had a low opinion of scorchers, indeed of most cyclists. She was certain that whatever they were they were not gentlemen.

Sam Vega said...

I think the gentlemen cyclists are probably still there, but dressed as scorchers. Because the modern scorcher look is the most marketable, and that's the only sort of bike and clothing they can buy.

Michael said...


A K Haart said...

Demetrius - she was probably right, some were intent on guiding lady cyclists to secluded places.

Sam - perhaps there is an untapped market for cycling tweeds?

Scrobs - not at the moment, it's freezing.