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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 23, 1911, Image 4

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1911-07-23/ed-1/seq-4/

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Bicycle Polo, the New Sport in Which Wheels Serve as Horses
Arthur Inkersley
ABOUT the time of the championship
polo tournament that takes place
in March each year on the grounds
of the Coronado country club at Coro
nado, you may frequently, while walk
ing about the peninsula, have to dodge
boys, mounted on blcyles and carrying
polo sticks, dashing here and there on
the smooth roads after a white ball.
They are playing bicycle polo, which,
like real or pony polo, was Imported
from Great Britain Into the United
States. The balls and sticks are the
same as In pony polo, except that the
How the Acorn Furnishes the Yosemite Indian His Daily Bread
THE Yosemlte valley was orig
inally the home of the Yosemites,
who were. the most warlike of the
Indian mountain tribes in California.
The Ah-wah-ne-chee and Mono fami
lies of the Yosemlte tribe were of
lighter color and finer build than those
commonly called "Digger Indians"; but
even the "Digger*" of the Yosemlte
land, invigorated by the better food
and purer air of the mountains,: had
become superior, and all the Yosemlte*
were feared and respected by other
Indians. The famous valley still con
tains a few remnants of the tribe and
many Interesting traces of their for
mer occupation.
The baskets used by the Indian* for
boiling - their food and for other do
mestic purposes are made of a tough
mountain bunch grass, nearly aa hard
and strong as wire and almost as dur
able. They are woven so closely that
little, if any, water can escape from
them, and are rendered wholly i imper
vious by covering them with a resinous
compound resembling vulcanized i rub
ber and apparently not, at all subject
to the action of hot water. The same
substance, or „ one of * similar appear-,
ance, is used by the mountain Indians
for, binding sinews to bows and feath
ere or barbs to arrows.' The * resin, la
obtained from small trees or shrubs and
atlcks have shorter shafts; and the
rules governing the game are the same
as in real polo. Bicycle polo la excel
lent practice for the greater game,
teaching the art of maintaining one's
balance, accuracy of eye, quick hitting
and direction. In fact. it possesses
nearly all the elements of real polo.
The players get falls and break their
cycles occasionally, but the more ex
pert they become the fewer are the ac
cidents that occur. ''
Bicycle polo was taken up first In the
United States by the sons and younger
brother* of adult members of the Rock
away and other country clubs in the
eastern states. The young fellows are
keen observers of the pony polo played
is mixed with some substance such as
pulverized lava or sulphur to resist the
action of heat and moisture.
The large baskets, made for gather
ing or transporting food supplies, are
round, with* a sharp pointed apex,
toward which, when the basket* are
placed on the back, everything runs
down. Baskets of this form help the
bearers to keep their balance while
they are passing along'rocks or preci
pices. These baskets are made of
bark, the roots of the cedar or tam
arack, willow or tule. Smaller baskets
•,erve a" water bucket*, and yet smaller
onea as bowls; and I cups./ The water
baskets are also made of the wire grass
mentioned above. As they are : porous *
the water In , them la cooled by evap
oration as In the earthen water Jara
of the : Mexicans. Boiling" is; accom
plished by plunging hot atoriea Into the
liquid until . the desired temperature ' la
obtained.
- In the minor valleys of the Yosemlte
and the flats of. the main canyons there
are extensive groves of oak*, the chief
variety being the black' and; gold ; cup
oak*. The California black oak -Is
one of the largest and .most beauti
ful of the western, oaks, attaining (ac
cording to \ that; eminent * authority on
all that pertains to; California forest
scenery, John Muir) :a . height of 60 to
by their elders, of which the bicycle
polo reproduce* all the features—me
lees, charges and long spectacular runs
when a player has secured possession of
the ball. Then, too, the wheels per
form almost the same evolutions as the
ponies in the real game. A pony, when
pulled up suddenly by a bit and bridle,
rears on It* haunches, and the bicycle,
when stopped quickly, rises In the air
until It balances itself on Its rear
wheel. While In that position the ex
pert bicycle pololst will strike iat the
ball with his stick, then spin his cycle
round as on a pivot arid point It In an
other direction, so that, as soon as the
front tire touches the ground, the rider
can start off at full tilt after the ball.
Often, when advancing at a rapid gait,
100 feet with a trunk three to .even foliage that Is purple in spring, green and In strength and beauty is aurpaaaed
feet : in diameter, possessing wide- in summer, red and yellow n autumn. by ew of the famou _ Europea 7o_k.
spreading, picturesque branches and It grow* beat in-sunny, open groves. The gold cup, or mountain live oak, is
Disturbing Nations With a Baseball
ii\y OCD hardly . think, .to look lat me,
1 that I might fall under suspicion
as a • wild eyed plotter of portentous
plots and a shag haired deviser of de
vious devices against the peace of gov
ernments, would you?" Inquired a srriil
.lng; young man of ; athletlo • build who
was , being welcomed after an extended
trip abroad.,
;"• "Behold In' me, however, the despair
: of star chamber* and the bugbear of the
secret service. Now that I am well off
European soil foreign potentates sleep
more j soundly 'o' nights; and remark a
distinct; relief ;as they sit '. upon -, their
tottering .-" thrones. You (.will? find my
name and description, together with a
i minute' report *of , my. ; comings 1 and go
ings, In the portfolios of special agents,
and I have no doubt that I have caused
many a; sleepless night - for worthy
police authorities In various parts of the
old world. '.■""■fj*j_|Q£fe__M(Rßß*'^
"Nihilist? ' Revolutionist? Nothing of
the kind. The whole matter Is pelther
more nor less than a question of, base
ball. -." ,", , .;;;. •:""."■' -;;;; "■
„": "You see, being /away! In the summer
season I missed all the games, and when
I fell in with another,young c__»> from
a player will stand on his pedals, pull
up on his handle bars, atop the way of
the bicycle and then hit the.ball either
forward or to the rear with a good
blow, both stick and arm swinging
from the .shoulder. At other times the
player hits the ball In such a way that
It passes between the wheels of his ma
chine; he leans over considerably -to
give It the right direction, and then,
recovering quickly, starts on again
without putting his foot to the ground.
:■ -' ■■•-; *'!':■ • ■■■-..
In the melees ; that take place near
the goal posts It is quite remarkable
how the players keep their balance, for
they are so bunched together that It
seems hardly possible for any one * to
extricate himself without damaging his
machine or hurting himself. But some
San Francisco ' who had a baseball
packed In his grip I . let out a whoop
arid ; hugged him like a long lost
brother. My hands fairly Itched to feel
the horsehtde once more, and we agreed
to finish our tour 'together so that we
might enliven the/way with a little
practice.
"We turned out first at Florence. - In
the early morning we wandered out of
the city through a suburb arid found "a'
meadow with /a .' level *■* atrip of i green.
It was only: pitch r and ':' catch, for we
had no bat, * but It was , certainly i. good,
sending the ball back and i forth i for
imaginary, strikes. \We observed * that
the.. natives : , gave /us * a .wide=•■ berth,
watching us curiously, from a distance
or j slinking, by. with fearful and furtive
glances. „ ._ But '■ we } had no "' Idea > how
mysterious J and * sinister, • our j employ
ment > seemed ?to ; persons " who can / not
conceive »of ■<■ physical exercia* for its
own sake, ,•■;„■'•>"%;.•."' .■.'_'•'■"..'"> ;
,""-/ "Next t day ]we . were * ; out •: again,. arid
this time there were *everal sleek, dis
creet, keeneyed persons on the Job who
: observed lus ; narrowly and f followed/ us
to the hotel. It was not long before
were - aware of ; a systematic; espionage.
As |.we Jogged '■ on '■:> into the k northern
provincea they kept on our trail and
how or other the melee breaks up and
the players get clear. If by I any
chance two or more players collide and
come to the ground they i are up again
and on their cycles so quickly that the
spectators have barely, time to realize
that a collision has actually occurred.
The most suitable bicycles for the
game have short head tubes and low
frames , arid are fitted with medium
gears, the game making It necessary
for players :to bend over their handle
bars, have their feet close to the ground
and - get speed up quickly. The ma
chines must be strong, to withstand the
sudden and severe strain* put upon
them, especially when the play Is fast
or reckless. Unless the bicycle pololst
is unusually tall, the saddle is set
we were always sure of a good attend
ance of note "5 taking, camera } snapping \
detectives during morning practice. ■ We;
didn't mind; we rather enjoyed It
"At last we put ,up for an ' extended
stay at a little hotel In Pegli, just out
side Genoa.: Soon after our arrival there
came *to .the \ hotel / a man -, who i talked!
English perfectly, seemed a good fellow 1
In I every way|audi struck up > quite ! an
intimacy /.with ius.lt We had told him
about all there was to tell of ourselves"
before we ,' fell wise that this was an-.
other/member: of the secret -police' put
upon our track. Finally we taxed him
with it and he admitted th* 1 fact* •*•
'"But s. what's , the.tro/üble?' I asked
him. "c 'Cant-two Americans toss a ball
.without; having? the 'sleuth . hounds of
the country set upon them?*':
" -"You don't understand.'.,, he said. fWe'
watch : every one, _ particularly? strang- 5
ers, ' and most of all strangers who: do
anything out of the .way. : You'd', prob
ably,/ never 1 guess ; what ; some of > the
other agents reported about'you.'
' „'.'.'Whatr. . . - ;;.",,.■
;r .".'They, said ' that you were undoubt- *
edly a dangerous 4 charaotera who ; were
gaining proficiency in hurling ja* small'
sphere with •a V. view to the * accurate
manipulation of . bombs. "
»«■_;«-%».» . - ..; .
". ■ . .■ : '■' '" ■-. ... ' .
The San Francisco Sunday Call
down as close to the frame as possi
ble, so as to render the machine more
compact and less liable to wobble
about The weight la kept near the
ground and the resistance made by
rider and machine to the wind la les
sened by having a low wheal.
When the play: la rough there are
many Instance of broken spokes, bent
frames, twisted handle bars and wheels
knocked out of true, but the boy* who
play the > game regularly and become
enthusiasts acquire enough mechanical
skill to be able to put In new spokes,
true the wheel*, straighten twitted
crank*, braces and handle bars, mend
punctured tires and make other repairs.
In order, v u/mlnlsh the costliness of
the game, .-auy players use old bicycles
very tough , and sturdy; in; appearance
much resembling th* great live oak of
the • southern states. It: has pals gray
bark and branches that i form noble
arches. It flourishes ]in , large,. ; groves
at • height* of,' 3,000 to 6.000 feet ' above
sea leveL , At 4,000 feet It has a
diameter of six to eight feet; while ait
7.000 ? feet it is only a ahrub, • though it
still bears acorns;' at 8,000 feet It Is
yet smaller. The'oaks provide the
Yoaemlte Indiana with one of their
most important and favorite articles
of diet—acorns.
Large quantities "of acorns are gath
ered and laid away for rise during the
winter in a cheeckah, or store bouse,
at > some. height ; above the ; ground, ao
as to be out of the reash of wild ani
mals. The cheeckah is ( thatched with
pine branches, hung points downward so
as to prevent squirrels and other small
creatures from • plundering the • acorna.
Though the caches are; principally of
acorns, many contain California laurel
leaves, pinon (or digger) pine, chinqua
pin nuts,', grass reeds, wild rye or oats
(scorched), dried worms, scorched
grasshoppers and the" larvae of insects
gathered I from the waters of , the lakes
In, the. Sierras.
The "old • Indian T camping .' grounds are
supplied with hoyaa (holes or mortars)
of ;a t permanent character in the : bed
of a rather heavy type, but these are
slow and are not regarded with favor
In match games.
Bicycle polo may be played 'on any
ground, whether larger or smaller than
the regulation polo field, which Is 900
by 450 feet, the first lessons being taken
on old, cheap bicycles and the players
adopting more expensive and lighter
machines as their skill In the game In
creases. Games may be played be
tween teams of three or more on each
aide, the . periods j lasting 10 minutes,
with intervals of five or 10 minute* for
rest between periods. . These intervals
are longer than In pony polo, but In
that sport the player does not' supply
his own motive power. He uses what
automobllists term a "hay motor."
rook, or In large detached rocks that
fell from th* cliffs above. These "mor
tar rocks'" are numerous, but many of
them have evidently j not been used for
a, long time. ' Using stone pestles, the
squaws reduce the acorns or grass
seeds to* flour or meal in these rude
mortars. Stones are heated In a flre,"
and-when red hot. are plunged" Into
baaketa . nearly filled - with water, the
process being continued until the
water bolls. The stones are taken
out and the acornmeal, or a - paste of
it mixed with cold water, is stirred in
until a gruel la made; then the hot
stones are, plunged ■ again into '*"' the
liquid, taken out and plunged in again
until the mass is **cooked; sufficiently.
This "atola," or porridge, is poured Into
maids of sand. During the process of
cooling •< the i water | drains ? off • into the
sand, leaving the woody fiber, the tan
nin . and the • coarse meal in distinct
Btrata; the : eatable, part - being *ao de
fined as to be separated easily from the
sand ■ and* refuse. Indians think very
highly 1 of "this "preparation, and,* con
trary to/what, might be "supposed, say
that the bitter acorns are the best
,when cooked. It much resembles corn-.
starch blanc mange in color, but is
denser 'In . consistency. /:. Though it *is
free ? from / grit ; and 'clean, few .white'
men, * even when quite", hungry, can eat;
it It seems as though the taste t<m
it must be acquired In youth, '.-'■"■■

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