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Highlights Archives

A Look at the History of the Bicycle in America


Two cyclists ride their bicycles past curious onlookers in Green Bay, 1890
WHI 2001

Prize-winning historian and author David Herlihy, who literally wrote the book on the history of the bicycle in America, will enterain visitors at 12:15 pm on Tuesday, April 16, with a talk on the topic at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Herlihy's book, 'Bicycle: The History,' published by Yale University Press, is the winner of the 2005 Sally Hacker Prize, sponsored by the Society for the History of Technology, and the 2004 Award for Excellence in the History of Science, sponsored by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.

A Revolutionary Device

The bicycle revolutionized personal travel in 19th-century America, ushering in an age in which even a poor person could travel afar and at will. Herlihy's book recounts the saga of this far-reaching invention and the passions it aroused. The author traces the decades of development and ingenuity that transformed the basic concept of human-powered transportation into the marvels of engineering that today's high-tech bicycles represent. Along the way, the book reveals why the bicycle captured the public's imagination and the myriad ways in which it reshaped our world. A book signing will follow Herlihy's talk.

:: Posted April 8, 2013

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