"You're English! I don't like limeys!" - Across America - 70 years ago - CycleBlaze

"You're English! I don't like limeys!"

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HIGHWAY ONE hugged Long Island Sound for mile after mile, but hills were few and well graded and , and the surface superb. Yale University, at New Haven, expensive-looking ladies at Bridgeport, and keen-eyed men along the road to Greenwich, the highway grew busies and the population more dense as New York grew closer.

Leaving Greenwich at five o'clock Sunday morning, a new by-pass road between Rye and La Rochelle saved a few miles on the older rote, and a life's ambition was realised about 6.45 a.m., when I "hit" Fifth Avenue in its upper stretches. Literally, as it happened, for a particularly vicious-looking grating was too much for my narrow wheels. A policeman from County Down, with manners far more courteous than cinema-going had made me credit, helped me to my feet, told me bicycles in New York streets were banned except in the early hours of Sunday mornings, and gave me the directions I sought.

Entering Central Park by the Menagerie, a pleasant winding road brought me eventually into Sixth Avenue, past Radio City, and then quickly, block by block, from the "roaring forties" down to 23rd Street, the howl of the elevated railway accompanying my descent "down town." I had crossed the renowned Broadway without noticing it, for although its millions of lights may make recognition easy, in the early hours on Sunday morning there appeared to be an air almost dowdy hanging over the famous street.

Ferry from 23rd Street (I was the only cyclist on board) landed me in Hoboken, State of New Jersey, and I rode quickly through Jersey City, across a viaduct and out on my old friend, Highway One. Trenton that night, Philadelphia next say, and Washington on Tuesday. The Capitol, White House, the U.S. Treasury, education via the moving-picture screen had prepared me for the District of Columbia, and I spent a whole day there, "rubber-necking" with the best of them.

Cyclists abounded in Washington, but very little riding seems to be done along the city's many lovely boulevards. Casual pedalling in side roads and in the parks appears to fill the bill so far as residents are concerned.

I learned that no one pays taxes in the capital of the United States, and I was surprised to hear the population was only round about half a million. Although no one residing in Washington fears receipt of income tax forms, they are debarred from voting, so the civic advantages seem to be fairly divided. Beyond Washington, a blustering wind at my back and an inviting road tempted me to go "flat out", and I held "evens" [Editor's note: "evens" is a dated expression among British cyclists for 20mph] for some time. Suddenly a light-brown figure on a motor-cycle hurtled past me to squeal to a halt in front of my hurriedly braked wheel.

That familiar figure of American tale and film, the speed cop, walked towards me with a scowl. "What's your hurry and where d'ya get that bike, hey?" You're English, aren't you?"

"Why, yes. Hope you don't mind."

"I don't like limeys," replied the policeman decidedly. "I'm going to frisk you." He ran expert hands over my jacket and shorts, registered disappointment at finding I was carrying no "artillery", then waved me on with a grunt. "All right, on your way, and don't ride round with your head down!"

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