Bob Harrison
and Ron Smith Pt.8
JULY 2000
by Bob Harrison
{Copied from (the now defunct) website of the late Bob Harrison}

This is a picture of the Great Bicycle Marathon that took place back in 1939 in my home town Connersville, Indiana.  At this particular point in time, several boys in various towns around Indiana staged their own marathons and four of us decided to try it.

Ours lasted somewhere close to  three weeks as I remember and we set the record beating our nearest competitor from Shelbyville by about a hundred hours.

Just another way we found to entertain ourselves during the depression years.

My Dad, standing in the photo with riding boots and a clock, was our official coach and trainer, my cousin, Norman Hinners was our starter.  Besides myself, there was Jack Hinners, Norman's brother and my cousin, Herschell Mallory, and Lowell McDonald. 

We rode through some scorching summer sunshine and a few fierce electric storms during that three-week period and didn't stop until some drunken motorist drove Jack into a ditch along our route, forcing an end to our marathon.

Bob Harrison

On Ron Martini's Submarine BBS: Ron Smith follows-up with his own Indiana bicycle experience in response to Bob Harrison's BBS posting and link.
Posted by Warshot on July 18, 2000 at 14:47:16:

In Reply to: The Great Bicycle Marathon: Hello, Dex posted by Bob Harrison on July 18, 2000 at 11:43:29:


I have read ALL your posts and enjoyed every one.

It has also AMAZED me that although you grew up in Shelbyville and I grew up in Hammond, our experiences and memories are so damn much alike. I don't normaly respond to your posts because I can't add anything to them, So I just enjoy them.

BUT-- this one hit the gong!

by Ron Smith

One morning in the spring of '39 I was riding my Montgomery Wards bicycle to school. It was my pride and joy, took almost four years of delivering papers every morning to re-pay my Dad for the bike. Man, it had Steer-horn handle bars, white sidewall tires, lights front and rear, a basket on the front and a rear whatchmacallit, and a chain guard. Maroon with white stripes.

I also had my usual lunch, a egg salad sandwitch wrapped in a piece of newspaper with a rubber band around it. My total cash was 5 cents, one nickle, one twentieth of a dollar.

It was spring and I had the "Spring Fever" real bad so I decided to skip school. It was about 7:30 and I just headed south. The farther I rode the more an objective came to mind; to ride to my grandmothers in Decatur, Illinois, 182 miles away.

I reached Kankakee about noon and ate my sandwitch. They had water fountains right on the street and I loaded up on water too. Now remember, all the roads were two lane in those days and some of those hills were awefully high, but I just kept pumping away on that bike. On my next stop, I think it was Farmers City, I bought small box of soda crackers with my nickle and once again watered up at the local fountain. That will really fill your belly up.

Finally I reached my grandmothers house at 11:30 that night. Not until I got much older did I realize how lucky I had been. Anyone of those cars that had honked at me and swerved to avoid me could have killed or maimed me. I guess God watches out for young dumb kids too, like drunk sailors and damn fools.

My Dad was crying when my grandma called him LONG DISTANCE to tell him I was there and O.K. He thought I had run away from home. 

When he came and got me I expected one REAL BIG whipping but instead he just hugged me and said, "Get in the car son, we're going home."