I found an interesting story about past Sacramento Chief of Police William Martin Ahern.
Ahern 74, died in 1936 at Mercy Hospital after suffering a heart attack. He’s buried at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery on 21st Ave, in Sacramento.
Ahern was a very popular Special Agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad -
Below is the article I found —
AN INVENTOR CAUGHT.
RIDING RAILROAD TRACKS WITH A COMM0N BICYCLE
An Invention that May Revolutionize Travel
—Railroad Trains Outrun By Ordinary Wheelmen.
Sacramento, Aug. 13. (1900) —Railroad Detective William Ahern has in his office at the depot a contrivance which would be of great interest to the cranks of the wheel—the men who have the bicycle habit on the brain. With this simple affair it is easy for a wheelman to ride his ordinary bike over any standard guage [sic] railroad track and make a passenger train appear like an ice wagon, so far as speed is concerned.
The inventor of the affair is a young man named J. L. Robinson. He evidently took pattern after the ordinary railroad bicycle, which the track inspectors ride, and which is a heavy and cumbersome piece of machinery, lacking both grace and speed.
Robinson has improved his pattern and has an affair which runs an ordinary bicycle over the rails like the wind. There is an outrigger which rests on a rail opposite the bicycle. It has a wheel which is about one foot in diameter, ball-bearing in its movement, having a rubber tire, and it is kept on the track by means of two flangs, [sic] which are about one inch in depth. The outrigger supports are of light wood and the whole apparatus does not, perhaps, weigh more than 15 pounds.
Reports had come into the office of Superintendent Wright that some man was using the company’s tracks in this section of the State without any authority of the railroad officials. Station agents, section foreman and other railroad employes were instructed to be on the outlook for the wheelman and stop him whenever he put in an appearance.
On Tuesday last the wheelman came sailing down the railroad track from a business trip which he had made into Tehama county. As he neared the little town of Roseville the section foreman spied him and stopped him. He took part of the apparatus and then telegraphed the news of his capture to Ahern. The railroad officer took the next train to Rosevllle, where he confiscated the bicycle attachment and then brought it back to this city.
Robinson, of course, “made a roar” at the same time threatening all kinds of punishment for Ahern. He has given Ahern until next Monday to return his property.
The railroad men are in a sort of quandary as to what kind of punishment they can mete out to the brilliant inventor. He has been riding over the company’s lines without permission and without paying anything for the privilege. He told Ahern that he was willing to pay a certain price for the privilege of riding over the lines in this State. He says that he has his machine patented and that it will only be a question of a short time when wheelmen all over the United States will be running their machines on all the railroad tracks.
Robinson is employed in a local electrical establishment and makes frequent trips into the country in the performance of his duties, always riding his patented machine. He told Officer Ahern that he recently rode his machine from Colorado to the Needles in this State.
— The Salem Daily Journal 13 August 1900