Bicycles are one of the most used forms of transportation in the world. What would take several hours of travel on foot becomes faster and more efficient on two wheels. When talking about bicycles, many think of sleek machines with skinny wheels and turned-down handle bars. But bicycles have been around for a long time and have come in various shapes and sizes. They were less expensive to own and maintain than a horse and buggy; in addition, bicycles were faster and easier than walking. Bicycles have influenced and affected living patterns, clothing styles, and have given a new outlook to the benefits of exercise.
The desire for faster speeds led to the next major development in the transformation of riding a bicycle. By the late 1800s, metal working had improved. Instead of riding bikes made of solid steel such as the boneshaker, designers came up with the concept of the penny-farthing, also known as the ordinary bicycle. The bicycle had a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel which resembled the difference coin size of a penny and a farthing. This style became popular with riders. It had rubber tires which were cemented into light, metal rims, with thin wires making up the spokes. Come to the exhibit to learn how a rider mounted the bicycle.
As the 19th century came to a close, women were gradually making headway into a male-dominated public sphere through increased roles in education, and social and political organizations. As a response to the increasing potential of equality between the sexes, cycling took its place among male-dominated activities. Women of the 19th century had been given little opportunity to cultivate or express their self-sufficiency. Emancipation came in many forms, including the casting off of impractical clothing styles, which kept women’s bodies uncomfortably covered. The advent of the safety bicycle appealed to both sexes and mandated that women shed their corsets and billowy skirts.
Bicycles hold a significant position in our past and present culture, and the Tradition is likely to continue for years to come. While new and improved bicycle versions capture attention, bicycles of the past seem to stir emotions and interest. Bicycle collectors are as varied as the bikes they collect. Some have hundreds while others are content with one or two. Since bicycles have been produced for well over a hundred years, there are collectors who favor models from certain decades, and those who covet specific brands. Collecting has many aspects. Locating, evaluating desirability, condition grading, and restoration are a few of the aspects that keeps the hobby going strong. Come to the exhibit to see bicycles from different time periods!
Bicycling can provide a cheap, fun and fit way to get from one place to another. A bicycle allows individuals to get to places they might not see in a car, not to mention the respite from maintenance and gas costs as well as searching for parking. Sometimes, riders need a little extra push to get up hills or travel long distances. The bit of extra oomph can be found in motors attached to bicycles. Rather than purchasing a motorized vehicle, many bicycle riders add motors to their existing two-wheeler.