This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

A Cycling Sports Band

14 July 2017

A brace of bassoons.
A double-reed duo.
Two gents sit with woodwind instruments
that were once regularly found in military bands.
especially those with a tradition
that preferred bassoons over saxophones.

Of course every band
needs two drums and a tuba
to keep the beat steady.

 Euphoniums or tenor horns
cover the middle voices

in a band.

But clarinets add a higher
and more nimble voice
for a proper range of wind instruments.

Of course cornets always cover the melody,
while the little E-flat clarinet
gingerly handles

the high descant obbligato.
That leaved the trombones to manage
the spit and polish.

These 24 musicians were the Cycling Sports Band of 1910.

They are dressed
in their best Sunday suits,

and, with the exception
of the younger lads in flat caps,
they all wear bowler hats.
They stand around heavy wooden music stands
on an simple raised platform
with a crowd of spectators

moving around behind.

There are no bicycles visible
but presumably the band is
the entertainment for an athletic event

at an unidentified location,
but likely somewhere
in the West Midlands of England,

as the photographer left his name printed on the back.

Clarkes Windsor Portrait Galleries Redditch

Redditch is a town in Worcestershire, England
about 15 miles south of Birmingham.

At one time in the 1870s, needlemaking
was Redditch's principal industry
supplying 90% of the world's need for needles.

The band's postcard conveniently has the year 1910 written next to the activity Cycling Sports. But proving their identity is not easy, even though the search term "cycling sports" was fairly common in British newspapers to describe various competitive cycling races. And those events often included a band to provide extra entertainment.

So we will just have to enjoy their array of bowler hats.

However I can submit  a report on a decision made in 1910 by the Judge of the Selby County Court, North Yorkshire on a personal injuries case involving a band musician, cycling sports, and a non-starter pistol.

The Times of London
26 February 1910

Courtesy of British Pathé films on YouTube
we can see and hear a band
that succeeded in combining
cycling with music.
The 1960 title,
French Army Cyclist Band,
is in error.
The band is actually Dutch.



This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where everyone always tries to be a good sport!


Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

Is this a variation on shooting yourself in the foot? I remembered while reading this that we saw a wonderful cycle band in Amsterdam a few years ago. It seems like a monumental feat to coordinate the musicianship with balance. Great post.

La Nightingail said...

My daughter - just this morning - performed with a band playing for a rubber ducky race on the local park creek. Bands are hired (or asked) to play for almost anything these days! But bands need music, and so they play to pay. :)

ScotSue said...

When I first saw the name Cycling Sports Band, I wondered how on earth did they play and ride at the same time - then I saw the French band doing just that. They reminded me of the Cavalry Band (on horseback) playing at the Royal Trooping the Colour ceremony in London. I have to admit playing instruments whilst riding a horse does look more impressive. Great display of bowler hats, though,

violet s said...

That Dutch cycling band was a joy to watch!
I haven't seen any cycling sports bands in the Tour de France....

Barbara Rogers said...

As always, I appreciate your knowledge of instruments and their part in a band. Bands should play at sporting events, in my humble opinion!

Francis Griffin said...

Well I would like to see someone playing the bassoon while riding a bike. Perhaps I'll suggest it to the wife!

Tattered and Lost said...

Is it just me or do the first two fellas, when you take a quick glance, look like Butch and Sundance? Maybe that's what actually happened to them. They came back and formed a different kind of band.


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