The Road Race of the Liverpool Cycling Club (June 1887)
The ‘Xtraordinary’ (1st sketch) had the saddle further back than the ordinary to try and reduce the not inconsiderable risk with the standard ordinary of taking a header over the handlebars. It also had treadles instead of pedals.
This race appears to have been an evening one from Liverpool to Cronton (see map below), where the competitors celebrated at an inn, perhaps the Unicorn. Leaving at 11.30 pm they sheltered from the lightning at ‘Swift’s’, which was probably The Ship Inn, Rainhill, the long-time landlord of which was a Peter Swift. In 1829 Rainhill was the setting for the famous Rainhill Trials, which were held to find a locomotive for the Liverpool and Manchester railway, the first passenger service in the world. The Trials were won by Stephenson’s Rocket and in the 9th sketch Walt playfully depicts the Rocket chugging through the stormy night.