When I published Mt. Hamilton by Bike (update coming soon) I said it was only a matter of time before I found information on early rides to the summit. Now I have one from 1888.
As reported in the San Jose Evening News on Oct. 3, A.A. Bouton rode his bike from San Francisco to Mt. Hamilton summit and back in less than 24 hours! He made it in 20 hours. Considering road conditions and the bikes of the day, that’s a blistering pace.
Bouton left San Francisco at 3 a.m., reaching Lick Observatory at 1:50 p.m. That’s 74 miles in just under 11 hours, 6.7 mph. He made it back in 9 hours. There is no mention of the type of bike ridden — highwheeler or one of the early safety bikes, which were introduced in 1885. I’m going to wager it was a safety bike.
In 1914 a Sunnyvale rider rode to the summit and back, in cowboy boots. He documented his trip with photos and a written account. More on that later.