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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Three Portland bicycle messengers arrived, dusty but triumphant, at the Spokane Postal Telegraph office, after riding their bikes on a 10-day adventure.

They averaged about 50 to 60 miles per day, an astonishing pace considering the state of most 1913 roads.

“Only two punctures, the loss of a bicycle pump, and numerous headers into the road when their wheels struck dust ruts, broke the even tenor of the journey,” The Spokesman-Review said. “… The boys carried blankets with them, and slept under the sky every night, choosing strawstacks where these were near the road. They decided carrying lunches or camp equipage would be too expensive, and they took their meals at restaurants.”

Their route was from Portland “along the south side of the Columbia River far enough from the river to avoid most of the sand along its shores” and then through Wasco, The Dalles, Pendleton (where they rested for two days and took in the Pendleton Roundup), Walla Walla, Lyons Ferry and into Spokane by way of Hangman Creek.

One of the boys, Walter Hadfield, 17, was apparently the instigator of the expedition. He had previously lived in Spokane and said the reason for the trip was to attend Spokane’s Interstate Fair. He said they chose bicycles “because of the small expense and for the experience.”

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