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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, April 25, 1897, Image 17

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1897-04-25/ed-1/seq-17/

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" May 1, 1897, will witness a series of the
oddest celebrations of 'lie day history
records. The bicycle, wbich has invaded
almost everything else, it* now scorching
toward Mayday. Instead of a circle of
young people holding garlanded ribbons,
one end of which is attached to the May
pole, we shall see bicyclists performing
the action, though, of course, they are
likely to bo young 'people, too. Hereto
fore, the participant? in the Mayday fes
tivity have danced about the pole in weav
ing fashion, thus twining the ribbons un
til the gay sections are united in a gorge
ous whole. This rime the bicyclists will
weave in and out, accomplishing a similar
It is an entirely new idea. When first
suggested, many cyclists thought it Im
possible, but tor several weeks experi
ments have been quietly in progress here,
which demonstrated that the idea was
thorou practicable. It is necessary
for the young men and women who take
part in May-lay events of this sort to be
able to control a wheel with great ease. It
is the short turn with a bicycle that throws
the novice. 'Ihe Maypole riding is prac
tically a series of short turns and the ut
most skill is necessary toavoid collisions.
In winding the ribbons of a Maypole, as
the practice is called, it is necessary that
almost as much rhythm be preserved as
in the music of a dance. A false move by
a rider may tangle the whole combination
so thoroughly as to necessitate an entire
unwinding and thus a new beginning. It
ie oftentimes necessary for the rider to let
go of the handle bars entirely, and never
is it possible to keep more than one hand
upon them. To make the jjame interest
ing it is advisable lhat there should be
very little distance between ihe wheels of
the riders. This leing the case it can
easily be seen that the cyclist must not
lose control of the wheel for a moment.
Again, it is often necessary to reverse and
weave in a new direction. Hence one
almost needs eyes in the back of his head.
Anywhere from six to fifteen riders can
take part in this up-to-date Maypole gath
ering, according to the height of the pole
and the number of garlanded ribbons. It
is customary, at least so far as experi
ment hasdemonstrated, to have eight per
sons attempt the feat witn wneels. At
the start all move in the same direction.
The ribbons are allowed to, as the sailors
say, take three turns around the pole.
Then the process of weaving begins. Four
of the riders reverse front, and, while lit
tle or no progress is made in the change
of position, the ribbons become more and
more entwined. Then another change of
front is made, and four of the riders keep
their machines as near stationary as pos-
Bible, never losing hold for a moment of
the garlanded ribbons.
Then three turns more are taken around
the pole, the riders moving in procession.
This programme is repeated as long as
the lengtn of the ribbons will permit, and
w en at last the end is well nigh reached
the procession of riders is lormed very
close to the pole. Around they go until",
as the end ribbons near the pole, the
riders are supposed to fasten them there
without slackening speed. At this point
from the pocket of each rider is drawn a
May day will witness the opening of the flower season. All nature seems glad in anticipation. Over the hills the warm
wind sings and sets ;he buds and grasses to dancing merrily. The sun fills the atmosphere with a quivering light that mingles
with the happy notes of hri-hl-plumaged choristers. 'Tis May day in California.
And what a day of joy it is! In no land in the world does nature show to better advantage at this time than she does
in the Golden State. From the snowy peaks of the high Sierras, where the tiny alpine flowers are just beginning to peep from
underthe ice crystals of last winter, to the shores of the Pacific, where sea birds scream, the great voice of nature is singing.
It is springtime.
Not the springtime of England nor of the East, when buds are just commencing to open, but a springtime fully devel
op* '.. when the wild flowers are at their best and the fruit trees are aglow with bloom. After the dreary winter just
passed May day comes, if anything, a little more brilliantly clothed than usual. The winter rains soaked the earth
deeply and the cool days of last month held back vegetation. Then came the warm days of April and tbe sunshine
sent the sap hurriedly tingling to the end of every twig. Almost as if by magic the hillsides burst into bloom, red,
yellow, blue, green, pink, purple and violet— the colors of the spectrum and all the hues of science.
The plains of the San Jonquin Valley are literally ablaz? with color. On the wild lands the poppy reigns
in all her glory and on the cultivated lands the fruit tree rules the day. Wherever a house can be found
there are roses in profusion-*
The country within a few miles of San Francisco is, perhaps, the most beautiful in ail California. The
hills are more varied in their outlines and the forest depths are more picturesque than elsewhere.
There are certainly more birds.
Tbe soil of Marin County has been found to be the most prolific in the State for its growth of wild
flowers. On a single square yard on the hill just north of Mill Valley thirty-two different kinds have
been iound. Of course, they were not all of the gorgeousness of the poppy, but all were, beautiful.
May day is, of course, the beginning of the picnic season. There may be picnics before that
time, but there is always something lacking, even though the skies are biue and the fields green
and the forest echo with the songs of birds. It does not seem natural to have a picnic before
Mayday. When the April showers have brought forth the May flowers, oh, then is the time
for picnics. "^' >
Of course all who can will go to some sort of a picnic on Mayday. It may be to some
distant point with a trainload of others on the same errand bent. It may be only a small
party of three or four, or you may go alone with some lunch in your pocket. ' But it *
matters little how you go so long as you go. -.''< *
No city in all the world offers such opportunities for Mayday outings as San
Francisco. For a few cents you can board a boat or train and be carried to as beau
tiful spots as exist anywhere. A short walk from the station will take you into
the depths of nature, where there is nothing to suggest modern civilization.
There is no day like Mayday for the real lover of nature. And, after nil
bow the real lover of nature is to be envied ! Nature" is always willing to
give if you will only take. ' ** yy
The real nature-lover is an early riser on Mayday, and almost as soon
as the sun is up will be far on his,, way to the wilderness; over the hills
and through the valley, across the brook and through the forest, shade
and sunshine attending.
Perhaps he will wander to some unfrequented spot where no
human foot has trod for many months. Into the depths of some
canyon, where the only sound that breaks the stillness is the
murmur of waterfalls splashing over moss-covered stones. There
nature is in her glory. How soothing is the influence. How
beautiful the sunlight comes aslant through the rustling
branches of the giant redwoods. How comfortable and
happy every living thing within sight. See the wild flow
ers nod in that patch of light when a soft breeze pene
trates to the solitude. ; -^y-J.
As the sun gradually descends to the western
horizon, each moment seems to increase in beauty.
The shadows grow longer and longer and the
Ughts grow dimmer and dimmer, and in the dis
tance a soft purple haze comes, as if from fairy,
land. Lower passes tiie orb of day until the
distant bills are only a shadow and the west
ern sky is a blaze of light. Gradually . thi s
lades away and the day is done. But even
night has its glories. What mystery
there is in the shadowy clump of oaks
How dark and gloomy, and yet how'
' Truly Mayday is a glorious day,
and he or she who spends it
properly will be amply . re
paid. Life will look brighter.
The mind, long shut up in
the business house, will
open and expand like the
blossoms of spring.
The day will be one of
pleasure, and when
night comes there
will be a peace
that could be
obtained i n
no other
ffilf *<feteA^te[^_a ■ /|" "II
There are different kinds of lovers of nature as there are different kinds of men in the varied walks of life. There is the
one who is content to roam over the hills or through the forest simply for the love of nature, and there is the one who to
enjoy nature must sit on a mossy bank watching a cork fastened to a fishing-line. Both will be given an opportunity to
enjoy Mayday, the latter particularly, because on that day the trout season really opens.
For the trout-fisher this year there are only a few new things in the way of tackle. No real innovations, however.
And, by the way, have there been any real improvements over the methods of the fisherman's saint, Izaak Walton?
The principal difference in this year's tackle compared to last year's is that everything that can be made of aluminum
can be obtained in that metal. The advantages of this are obvious to any sportsman. Tackle can be obtained cheaper *,
this year than last. There are a few improvements in reels, all of which are very high priced. Jointed poles are lighter
and prettier than ever. ,v : : ? J J J
Hooks and lines are of the same old style. There are a few new flies out, whicb, however, do not look
any more "tempting" than the old kinds and would have to be tried before their advantages can become known.
But judging by the amount of new tackle that has been sold during the past week Mayday will be a
bad one for the trout Hundreds of devoted anglers will leave here next Saturday morning and in a few hours
be scattered along the streams within a bundred miles of San Francisco.
Just where they will all go it is hard to say, but of course the old favorite fishing grounds in Marin,
Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties will come in for their share. There are a number of old anglers who'
have little "private" pools of their own stated out but as well ask them for one of their eyes as for
the location of the place. That is their secret
Of course the first day's fishing of the year is really the most enjoyable— even though none of
the finny tribe are lured from their hiding places under the rocks.
A good fisherman gets on Mayday the advantages of the beauties of nature and the advant
ages, if any, of the excitement of the sport.
What pleasurable anticipation there is in the walk to the trout stream in the early morn
ing hours. A well-stocked lunch basket and a box of tackle are your only companions. Down /
the road under the tree 3to the path that leads to the fishing place. There were lots of fish /
there last year. i -VJ *'
What's that? Somebody else there. Well, no matter, there are other places. This
is a better place anyhow. Hear the water roaring over the rapids and the wind whis
tling through the redwoods. Inspiration enough for a work of art., How dark that pool '
looks. Surely there are several big teilowsin its depths.
-•• Get out your tackle.- That bright red fly is a good one to begin with. If he will
rise to that he will rise to anything. Swish, r-r-r-r-r, and your first cast of the
season is made on Mayday. But what's the matter? The fly is getting water
soated. It has been offered with no takers. Try again. No better. Maybe there
are no trout in the hole. • r * ; J: ■ ■ fyflM
, ■ Try the yellow ana green fly. ; There, that's better. My ! but he is a big
fellow. How he makes the reel hum. Now he has stopped. Wind him in.
Slowly. Now he's off again.
Of course your first fish of the season makes a game fight Half
an hour slips by like a minute beiore you manage to get him beneath
the lid of your basket. But what a pleasurable half hour it was.
And such a successful one. The first is a beauty. Now for some
lunch. How good it tastes. Ah, if you could only have that appe
tite every day in the week. . |
And as the.day wears on, the sun rises higher and higher,
and it gets warmer and warmer. You; have a basketful of
fish and are healthily tired out. Now for a rest until train
time. And perhaps a smoke and a pull at the— but that is
another story., „ . ]( ;^J J r ,y *V '
Perhaps as you lie half asleep, half awake, and you
surely knew this is the ideal repose, you may dream.
Most liKely you will dream of catching the largest
trout that ever was caught. You will in vision cast
your, fly and, after the gamest possible fight, land
the tish. Then • you will wake up and feel for
your basket of beauties. They will be there and
you will be as happy as you ever were in your
life. If you are not— well, there is no poetry
in you. * OI course, you may say. there was
never any poetry in you, which only goes
to show how little you know about it
The ride back to the City is a
long one. Much longer than the ride
to the fishing grounds. But you are
glad that you went, and on the
ferry-boat across the bay will
have the pleasure of compar
ing your catch with your
friend's. What joy it is if
you have made the larg
est catch of the day. J^y.
But no matter if
yon have not You
may some other
time.and you will
at least have the
satisfaction of
feeling that
your May
day wa3
little hammer and a double-headed brass
tack, from which depends a tiny streamer.
With almost lighting-like rapidity the
cyclist pins the end of the ribbon to the
pole with the tack and a smart blow from
the hammer instantly following fastens
the end securely.
While at first thought this programme
may seem an almost impossible array of
effort experiment has proved that it is
entirely feasible. A prettier sight than a
May pole adorned in this fashion or a more
clever exhibition of cycling powers than
the riders give under these circumstances
would he difficult to conceive. Fashiona
ble persons who know say that the bicycle
Maypole party will surely.be a fad the
first of next month and that we may look
for a general turnout of the riders of vari
ous ages to take part in the festivities that
have latterly been left to the children.
Inasmuch as the pastime is to be a fash
ionable fad, the matter of costume at once
becomes an important item. It is declared
that it will be very t proper for the chil
dren, or the young men and women, or
their mothers 'and fathers if they choose
to take part, to attire themselves in cos
tumes of bright stuffs that will harmonize
with' the parlanded adornments of the
Maypole.*" There has been just one party,
and this was indoors and. for practice,
which has tried this sort of costuming.
The effect is declared to have been beyond
compare, and it- is said this incipient
pageant' was fully as charming to the eye
as the attractive features of the spectacu
lar performances at the theaters.
The advent of the bicycle into the May
day festivities is likely to cause a paitial
return to the customs of a • century ago,
when all persons who were physically
able to do so took part 1 in the Maypole
dance. As a rule, the younger children,
to whom Mayday is a period of elysium,
will be compelled to forego the delights of
the bicycle feature, and in < this way it
will devolve upon that portion of the
cycling contingent which considers itself
sufficiently skillful to enter the lists, re
gardless oi age.
This calling the attention of the adults
to the celebration of the Ist of May prom
ises to make the observance of the day far
more general than in many years. ■ It has
not been infrequent to invite the elders to
the juvenile parties, which took place on
the evening of May 1. This custom wi'l
be improved upon this year, for it has
been decided that the elders will form out
ing parties for a trip to the parks or some
suburb during the day, the evening to be
spent at the home of the host and hostess.
Thus, if there is not a Maypole dance in
the daytime, there surely will be a May
day hop in the evening, and so, in one
fashion or another, young and old will
dance in the fullness of their joy that the
springtime is really here.
All this is due to the bicycle. Thus the
wheel has not only given to many of us
health and strength, but it is bringing
about the return of one of the good old
customs that the older ones used to ob
serve so long ago as the days when Queen
Elizabeth smiled over her ruff at the
merrymakers, and bluff King Hal did not
disdain joining the dance around the

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