Monthly Archives: March 2016

Fists, bribes, guns and wheels: Plugger Bill Martin, cycling’s first official hard man

March 2, 2016
William 'Plugger' Martin, winner of the first Madison Six in 1891.

One by one, the riders entered Martin’s hotel room. On the bed, bribes were laid out in piles of notes and sovereigns; Martin, loaded revolver by his side, addressed each successive visitor, stating the terms of their contract. “Quite right, Bill,” came the replies. Notes and coins changed hands and were signed for. Soon afterwards,…

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