In 1894 the Pullman Strike cut San Francisco off from all physical communication.
From the San Francisco Examiner on July 7, 1894:
“An enterprising citizen of Fresno has organized a bicycle mail relay from that city to San Francisco to carry letters only. The route taken is west to Gilroy, then north through San Jose to this city.”
For $0.25 you could have a letter carried relay style from a bike shop in San Francisco all the way to a bike shop in Fresno. From there, or 16 other cities along the route, the local post office could deliver your letter right to the recipient’s door.
This weekend the route will be recreated. All that’s left is to get some mail.
In 1894 each letter was carried on the backs of 8 different bike messengers over 210 miles. The journey took about 18 hours, riding single speed bikes on mostly unpaved roads.
800 stamps were produced so quickly that an glaring mistake was overlooked. San Francisco was misspelled San “Fransisco.”
Full story here: Ingenuity, Murder, Fraud and Fixies (San Francisco in 1894)
On Friday a small group of friends will commemorate this ride by departing from a bike shop in San Francisco and tracing the same route to Fresno. None of them are bike messengers, and in fact, this will be the longest ride of their lives.
All they need now is mail.
This is where you come in. Stop in Mission Bicycle Company any time between now and 6:00 pm on Friday night if you would like to send a commemorative postcard to anyone in Fresno.
Don’t have any friends in Fresno? The recreators will hand deliver a message to any of the following stops.
Spokeasy Public House (bar)
“Unnamed awesome little taco truck”
Metal Mark Climbing & Fitness (where the crew will be showering after 18 hours on a bike)
After 121 years, the price remains $0.25.