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San Jose Pioneers of the Bicycle, Part 1

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

Starting in the late 1800's, San Jose became infatuated with cycling and bicycle racing. In 1908, the San Jose Mercury decided to profile some of these early pioneers. This profile for Mr George E. Owen and Mrs Geneva Owen is one of a series of articles written. The Owens family once lived on 14 Stockton St. in San Jose. They were married at K. G Maze's house (Geneva's family home) in San Francisco home at 336 Turk street. George Owen is mentioned to have held various positions at O. A. Hale department store in downtown. Geneva is mentioned to have been an avid cyclist and part of the San Jose Wheelwomen's club.

The photograph to the left represents Mr. Owen as he was in the days of the "ordinary." At this time he was Lieutenant of the Garden City Wheelmen and participated in all of the cycle functions of that period. Mrs. Owen was also a great wheelwoman once and the pair of them took many rides on their tandem during the bloomer era. It was during the 90's that the cycling fad became general among San Jose women, and an organization known as the San Jose Wheelwomen's Club was formed. It was during this period also that bloomers first made their appearance and created such a furor.

O. A. Hale Department Store where George Owen Worked
O. A. Hale Department Store where George Owen Worked
George E Owen, who is today a sort of chief-of-staff to General Manager G. M. Fontaine in Hale's big San Jose department store, was an enthusiastic wheelman when the bicycle was still but a crude piece of machinery.


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