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Little-Known Brooklyn Residents: Charles M. Murphy

Aug 20, 2010 1:52 PM | 0 comments

Charles M. Murphy was one of the greatest riders in bicycle history. On June 30th, 1899, he completed a famous bicycle ride behind a Long Island Railroad train, covering an entire mile in the record-breaking time of 57 4/5 seconds. This record earned him the nickname of "Mile-a-Minute Murphy."

Mile-a-Minute Murphy

The event took place at Maywood, Long Island, where board track was placed over the railroad tracks, and visitors piled in by the hundreds to watch the event. On the following day, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported "the ride was thrilling and exciting beyond in the car behind which the ride was made, cried like children, while other men old in years of spirits and railroad life were as babies...the scene was terrible in its intensity and to those who rode the memorable trip from the rear platform of the car, it will live while memory lasts."

Crowds gathering in preparation for the record breaking ride

After his famous mile-a-minute ride, Mr. Murphy mastered many other feats according to the Eagle, including joining the police force, organizing a police bicycle club, rescuing a woman from a burning building, taking up motor cycling and aviation; was promoted to sergeant, and even saved a man from quicksand. In his later years he also found time to teach youngsters how to ride bicycles.

Mile-a-Minute Murphy giving bicycle lessons in 1934