Clifton Springs and her Bike

The following poem was written beside the photo of Louise on her wheel. At the end of the poem she writes, Clifton Springs Sanitarium” which is a fabulous historic hospital and spa where one would go for healing, as it looks like Louisa did.


Dear Friends!

I’m right in it, good friends mine. I’m riding on a wheel. I didn’t want to do it but they talked to me a deal.

And the Dr. said “twould cure me,” then I said, said I, “If it’s good for that which ails me, I guess I’d better try.”

So, one day I summoned courage and sneaked out the back door, and asked the cycle teacher had he time for one fool more?

He smiled upon me kindly and in gentle voice did say, “I’m at your service, lady, almost any day.”

So we fixed upon the morrow, that night all through my sleep, I felt myself revolving, then falling in a heap.

Great drops stood on my forehead, I was stiff and lame and sore and black and blue spots, I dare not tell you more.

Well, the morn broke fair and lovely, my lesson hour was nine; I trickled on my amour, but oh! this heart of mine!

The teacher was in waiting; the wheel looked bright and neat, and reverently I found myself upon its awful seat.

T’was no downy pillow and before my hour was done, my dream became reality, is this what they call fun?

I cried, when pushed o’er grass and street. Ye Gads! What won’t we mortals bear, the latest fad to meet.

Did I wobble, say you, every nerve was tense. I did naught but wobble, while screams devoid of sense.

Set onlookers on to laughing, and I laughed till I cried, as I realized my awkwardness, on that wheel astride!

I went through every dido to all beginners known, “Took Headers”, lost the peddle and when I went alone.

Each tree had its attraction, I tried to climb them all, then too, a little pond near by beckoned me to call.

And I might have yielded but it had a fence around, so I thought it might be better to stay on public ground.

Aye! Ground it was, and bumpy; full many a fall I had, as black and blue sports terrified, (I couldn’t’ wear a pad).

And that saddle would knock into me when I would try to mount and soon I was a varied here, somewhere and round about.

But perseverance confirmed and now the game is won and I am just beginning to understand the fun.

Eight lessons did the matter, I now go all alone, can mount, dismount, turn around, with no chatter.

No longer do they laugh at me, but praises grab my ear, no more headers do I take when trees or ponds are near.

And yet, I do not quite enthusiastic pleasure feel, but if it cures what ails me, I’ll ever praise my wheel.

Sincerely Yours, Louise L. Ransom.

Clifton Springs Sanitarium Bike

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