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The 1892 Herald Relay

Among the more popular cycling events in the latter 1800s were relays. Some of the ones on the east coast (Chicago to New York, Washington to Pittsburg) became quite big affairs; though time was of the essence, these were technically not races - teams did not compete against one another, nor did individual riders. The point of relays was to get a message from one city to another as quickly as possible. There was a historical component to this - think pony express, or getting battle missives from place to place during war times in the 1700s, or any time before the invention of the telegraph, when riders on horses would race from post to post, handing off some important bit of information to the next rider in turn, until it reached its final destination.

The Los Angeles Herald organized one such relay in July 1892 with riders speeding their way from Los Angeles to San Diego with relays, or hand-offs, taking place every ten or so miles. The Los Angeles clubs would be responsible for getti…

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