Charles River Wheelers

Willie Hume Pneumatic Classic

  • 2023-05-27
  • 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Littleton, MA
  • 40


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CRW Rides are open to members and guests. Guests may attend two rides before being required to join the club. Please click the Register button to the left to join the ride.

Ride Description - the Willie Hume Pneumatic Classic

Willie Hume of Ireland changed cycling forever, but most have never heard his name.  He was the first in the world to buy a pair of pump-up tires.


John Boyd Dunlop of Scotland invented pneumatic bicycle tires so his kids didn't get so rattled & fatigued on the cobbled roads where they learned to ride.  He perfected fitting them to bike wheels in 1887.  

Below is Dunlop himself on an early "safety bicycle" with his air-filled tires. His kit, while quite stylish, is clearly NOT aero...

Wille Hume was his first customer, and was captain of the Cruisers club in Belfast, Northern Ireland. "Captains" were what we now call a ride leader, and they directed riders on club rides with bugle calls (who needs RWGPS...)

Had he and Dunlop not withstood the jeers of all who heard about these wacky pneumatics, we might still be suffering with heavy solid rubber tires circa 1880s.

On May 18, 1889 Hume entered 4 events on a track laid out around a cricket ground at Queen’s College, Belfast. He won them all against major competition. He then crossed the sea to England and again beat the “cracks” in all but one race in Liverpool.

To honor Willie's wins in May of 1889, and celebrate the amazing comfort & performance that pneumatic tires have delivered for over 130 years, please join us for the "Willie Hume Pneumatic Classic" ride.

This will start at a pneumatic location with pennyfarthings on tap, and includes as many of the smoothest roads in the greater Boston area as possible.

Ride Start Location:

The Dirigible Brewing Company at 24 Porter Rd in Littleton, MA.  Start location is easily accessed either Rt 495 or Rt 2. (

Ride Start Time:

The ride departs at 11:30am.  

One route with two distances is the challenge of the day.  The 47 mile route includes two optional ICE CREAM STOPS and adds a 15 mile loop to the 32 mile route.  Both routes feature scenic country roads, healthy climbs and grin-inducing descents.

Ride Leader(s):

Jerry Skurla  781-799-2322

Link to RwGPS Route

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