The Alamo Wheelmen

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One of my favorite moments as a writer is when I stop to research some historical possibility and come away with a fascinating discovery. That happened to me just last week.

I’m currently about 1/3 of the way into a new full-length manuscript and instead of my usual cowboy hero, I decided to go in a slightly different direction. Instead of riding a horse, my hero prefers a bicycle. Seeing as how I’m married to a computer nerd and am busy raising two more males of that variety, I thought it was time I showed the world just how hunky and sigh-worthy the atypical romance hero could be.

Murdoch Mysteries

Murdock Mysteries – Great turn of the century Canadian mystery series I’ve been watching on Netflix.

Amos Bledsoe is slim and fit (from all his cycling), has a wonderful sense of humor, is loyal, intelligent, sensitive, and thanks to his great relationship with his sister and mother, insightful when it comes to appreciating a woman’s independence. Yet, his finer qualities are often overlooked because he’s not the rugged outdoorsman with tanned skin and broad shoulders. Even though I love my alpha male heroes, when it comes to a lifetime commitment, I’d much rather have the intelligent, funny, sensitive man than the arrogant, bull-headed fella. So I decided it was past time for me to write one.

Loosely inspired by Detective William Murdoch from the Murdoch Mysteries series, Amos is an avid wheelman. However, when he travels to Harper’s Station to help the heroine, he leaves his velocipede behind. Now, seeing as how Harper’s Station is a women’s colony full of suffrage-minded women, and bicycling in the 1890’s was a great symbol of women’s increasing freedom and independence, I knew my ladies would want to take advantage of Amos’s skills and have him give them a few riding lessons. Only problem was, safety bicycles were still so new at this time, they were terribly expensive. So I needed a way for them to get hold of some used machines. Enter, the Alamo Wheelmen.

alamo-wheelmen-crestalamo-racing-teamThanks to the wonderful website of the Texas Transportation Museum, I discovered that bicycles were not only popular back east, but were in use in Texas as well. The Alamo Wheelmen was a cycling club in San Antonio founded in 1891. It was a chapter of the national organization – League of American Wheelmen – of which my hero was also a member.They had their own racing team and had numerous owners of bicycle shops as members as well. The perfect contact for my hero.

 

Women on BikesSo he used his connections to contact the Alamo group and find a selection of used female-style cycles as well as a more masculine style for himself. And all at a bargain price!

So what do you think?

Can a western hero ride a bicycle instead of a horse?

Do you enjoy a variety of hero types in your romances, or do you have a strong preference for the alpha males?

Karen Witemeyer
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

48 Comments

  1. If the said western hero lived in a city, I would think a bicycle would be more practical than a horse. I like the alpha males, but I also quite like the geeky heroes.

    Oh, and speaking of suffragettes, I just found an interesting fact: some of them took a page out of the book of the ninja and started practicing jujitsu! http://observationdeck.kinja.com/the-amazons-of-edwardian-london-kick-ass-suffragette-b-644342073

    1. Cool find, Minna! I love learning off-the-wall tidbits like that. Thanks for sharing! And yes, I have a soft spot for geeky heroes every once in a while, too. I’m thinking about dedicating this next book to my son who is well on his way to computer nerdiness while being such a sweetheart that any girl would be lucky to have him. πŸ™‚

  2. I do think a hero can ride a bike. I would love to read one featuring him. I can’t read the same type all the time. I get bored.Great post

    1. Thanks, Debra. I was hoping a little variety in the hero department might appeal to readers. πŸ™‚

  3. I think this is an interesting take on a western hero.

    1. I hope so, Janine. I do put Amos on a mule when he first comes to down. A stubborn creature that causes him no end of trouble. He CAN ride the four-legged transporters, he just prefers the two-wheels. And Willful the mule only reinforces that preference. πŸ™‚

  4. Karen, you are always thinking out of the box! That’s why I love your books so much! I was just thinking the other day that I NEEDED a new book from you and I was wondering when I would get one! Can’t wait for this to come out! Looks like it’ll be another winner!

    1. Thanks, Valri! This one is still being written, so it won’t be out until 2017, but the series it is a part of starts with No Other Will Do, which will be out this June. πŸ™‚

      1. Doesn’t matter to me when it comes out as long as I know you have a book coming out something soon!

  5. I think that a bicycle makes more sense than a horse, unless you have to shoot your gun! Those old bikes are difficult to ride, I would think.

    1. You would get along well with Amos, Kate. πŸ™‚ He agrees with you. You don’t have to feed it or saddle it or board it. The downside is the roads as much as the bicycle itself. Now exactly paved back in the 1890s. And it would be hard to ride off-road.

  6. I think it’s got the making of a great story. I love to learn obscure bits of history through books like yours. Write on!

    1. Yay! Thanks, Rebecca. πŸ™‚

  7. This sounds like a cool plot! I like heroes who are closer to real life as a diversion from the near-superheroes of many novels. πŸ™‚
    I read a regency romance, Cotillion by Georgette Heyer, about a girl who thought she loved the ‘dashing’ man of her storybooks, but ended up with a sensible man who could handle her social missteps. He wasn’t the smartest, strongest, or handsomest, but he had kindness, capability, and good sense; and he loved her; what more did she want? It was a sweet (and funny) story.
    What an interesting tidbit of research, too. Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings for your book!

    1. Thanks, Darcy. I have an element of that as well in this story. The heroine sees Amos as a friend and just starts to think of him as more when a devastatingly handsome – very rugged cowboy, shows up and starts paying attention to her. She has to learn to judge by the heart and not by the outer packaging.

  8. Absolutely! As I’m also not married to one of those rugged types, I appreciate the bicycle rider!

    1. Yes, my man rides his bicycle, too. Gotta love the quirky, nerdy heroes. πŸ™‚

  9. Thank you for sharing your research. I do think a hero can ride a bicycle. My son in law is a strong, bicycle riding, super geek (he does coding and programming for fun).
    I can’t wait for the new book!

    1. He sounds like my son and husband. πŸ™‚ The perfect romantic inspiration. I’m sure your daughter thinks so. πŸ™‚

  10. Karen, I LOVE Detective Murdoch, The Artful Detective is such a fun show. I can’t wait to read this book!

    1. Thanks, Winnie. I discovered The Murdoch Mysteries last year, and I’ve been eating it up. Great show!

  11. sure he can. small variety is nice.

    1. Yay! So glad you concur, Kim. πŸ™‚

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    Karen, you know I’m all about marketing and this will definitely open up a whole new “bike trail” of readers for your great writing. Keep on peddlin’ !

    1. Ha! So true, Nancy. Who knows? There could be an entire untapped market of cycling cowboys that I’ve been missing. πŸ™‚

  13. I think a hero is a hero because of the things he does for others not because of how he looks!

    1. Amen, Connie. That is my belief, too. Any while I love a handsome hero in my romance books, I think it is good for young ladies to know that it is the deeper qualities that make up a lasting relationship, not just the spike of physical attraction that gets played up in many romance novels.

  14. I think it sounds great! As the daughter of a man who doesn’t care a whit about football (he’d much rather hike, write, or read), I love the atypical, nerdy heroes.

  15. I am so excited!!! I’ve read all of your books and can’t wait to read this one πŸ™‚ I like the idea of a different type of hero instead of the horse riding cowboys. Can’t wait till it’s out πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Makenna! Hope you fall in love with Amos when he’s out next year.

  16. It makes sense to me to have a bike riding hero. After all, not every man rode a horse. And I’m all for non-burly alpha heroes too – I love a smart geeky guy! πŸ™‚

    1. WooHoo! Me, too, Glenda. Hooray for the smart geeky guys! πŸ™‚

  17. I’m with ya all the way, sister! I enjoy a bidding romance between a beautiful girl and a dashing, rugged hero. But do they all have to have chiseled jaws, proud brows, and well defined abs? Not to mention towering over the general population. I didn’t marry a Greek god, so I like heroes that are sometimes a little more (dare I say it?) average. πŸ™‚ I think you do a great job with your men (I’ll take a Travis Archer with a side of Crockett please!), but I’m excited to read more about Amos.

    1. Ha! Love it, Deborah. πŸ™‚

  18. How interesting! I love this post, Karen, and can’t wait to read Amos’s story!

  19. Whatever you write, it will be great! Your writing is not only inspirational, but it’s also inspiring to me as a writer.

    1. Awww…Thanks, Kerri. πŸ™‚

  20. This is such a cool idea! I think there’s definitely room for a bike riding hero and you’re just the one to do it Karen!! Can’t wait to read it!

    1. Thanks, Lynne. It’s been fun so far. We’ll have to see how Amos continues to develop over the course of the rest of the book.

  21. Great post, Karen! Can’t wait to read this one for sure! Bike riding hero is good!

    1. Thanks, Melanie. It’s hard to keep the ideas fresh, but maybe this will be a fun twist on the classic western.

  22. Like you, I prefer more than the strong, silent type. It took many people to settle the West. More than just cowboys were needed and it took strength and stamina to do many of the other jobs. As they say, variety is the spice of life. It is also the spice of romance.

    1. Amen, Patricia! We need all different kinds with different skills and abilities to make the world work. That was true yesterday, it’s true today, and I’ve no doubt it will be true tomorrow.

  23. I love quirky heroes! Jarvis on Agent Carter (TV show) is incredible! I think your new hero might be right up that alley πŸ™‚

    1. I LOVE Agent Carter! Being in a house of nerds, anything Marvel is a hit. We watch SHIELD and Agent Carter and have seen every Avenger movie. πŸ™‚ And yes, I love Jarvis. He appears like such a proper butler, but deep down he craves the excitement working with Peggy offers, and he even saves the day on a regular basis. Great example!

      1. I love Shield and the Avengers movies too πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely be buying this book!

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