"That scoffing individual who characterized the bicycle as a "dromedary for dudes," evidently did not abide in Washington where eve Uncle Sam has pinned up his coattails and joined the scorchers. Nowhere else does the new disease known as bikeomania rage with greater virulence... It affects the gravest senator, posing on the sugar trust and the tariff; the polished diplomat who dandies the fate of nations in his perfumed hands; the black-gowned judge of the supreme court..."
"To enumerate the devotees of the wheel among the great ones whose names are as household words would be to count the leaves in the vale of Vallambrosa. Down beneath the rotunda of the capitol, a deep, dark vault, which reminds one of the prison of Chillon, with its pillars of Gothic mold, has been converted into a bicycle stable for the convenience of senators and representatives. During session of congress not only is the vault crowded to its utmost capacity, but the overflow cumbers the adjacent offices and corridors."
"Among the senators are many who have not only thrown dignity to the winds sufficiently to take an occasional tumble in the dust, like common folk, but have become as expert in retaining their seats upon the tricky machine as in their political band wagon... The senior senator from California, Mr. George Clement Perkins, of Oakland - regardless of his 60th mile stone looming up not a year ahead finds time every week to add a good many miles to his famous record as a wheelman... Senator [Charles J.] Faulkner [of West Virginia], in correct togs and the courage of his convictions, seldom fails to improve a shining hour or two every day by an excursion to Cabin John Bridge, or to Overlook, or Falls Church, or some other favorite point a few miles off."
"Senator William E. Chandler, of Concord, N.H., rides to and fro every day between the capitol and his home, and such is the regularity of the little interlude in his proverbially methodical life, that his spidery legs serve as sun-dials on the avenue to mark the hour. Senator [Edward O.] Wolcott [of Colorado] emerges from beneath a mountain of drift of documents concerning the monetary tangle and mingles with the herd awheel. Senator [James] Kyle, of South [sic] Dakota, seldom misses his afternoon spin, and is usually accompanied by his pretty daughter for a pace-maker. Senator Warren pigeon-holes the cares of state whenever he can and chases the fiery and untamed cyclometer to the limit. Senator Elkins is said to possess a rare amount of bike technique which he is anxious to impart to every luckless wight with whom he can catch up."
"In short, about one-fourth of the grave and reverend seigneurs find time for exhilarating spins, and close observers assert that the effect of pure air and improved digestion is already plainly apparent in more generous and amicable legislation" -
and there you go. There is where the problem lies today; far too few of our modern day Senatorial representatives partake of a daily spin.
And it was not just the Senators; "In the lower house, the proportion of those who ride the wheel is very much greater, including fully half the representatives. Uncle Joe Cannon leads the van as the first and oldest cycler. The veteran member from Illinois is as fond of his bike as a boy in his teens. He always smokes a cigar awheel, even when riding in the teeth of the wind; and so expert and fearless is he that nobody would be surprised to see him careering down the west capitol steps some day... Among the pioneer cyclers in the house is Hon. Jerry Simpson, the Kansas Populist. As long ago as the Fifty-third congress he and the Hon. Tom Johnson used to run the gauntlet of kodak sharks and jeering gamins from the capitol steps to the district line... The first statesman from the wiregrass region of the south to contract bikephobia was Representative Clayton of Alabama, and he "took to it," so he says, as a cure for corpulency... Several of the younger Ohio representatives, most of the far western members and many from the Middle states confess frankly to that pneumatic tired feeling which makes the hours of this summer session unduly long and leads them to scour all the adjacent roads like a March breeze. The conservatives one - those who still look upon the wheel as a device of the devil or a "dromedary for dudes' almost to a man hail from puritanical New England... or from those unprogressive portions of the south where the natives are still voting for Andrew Jackson..."
Congressional representatives were not the only ones filling Washington's streets in the late 1890s; on any given day cabinet members, diplomats, and Supreme Court justices were out pounding the asphalt, on their silent steeds, as well.