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Cycling through the News

Thursday, June 4th, 2015


Bicycle racers at a fair in White River Junction, Vermont, August 1895.

Exhibit. The summer exhibit in the Bailey/Howe Library lobby looks at the rise of bicycling in America from 1870 to 1920. Newspapers contributed to the nation’s bicycle mania with articles, advertisements, and announcements for cycling events. Stories about health effects (good and bad), adventurous cyclists, cycling etiquette, bicycles and the modern woman, and the need for better roads were common. Advertisements promoted bicycle sales and repair shops, touring opportunities, and sporting events.

“Cycling through the News” was curated by librarians Erenst Anip, Jeffrey Marshall, and Karyn Norwood, who staff the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project. They searched Chronicling America, the national newspaper database of the Library of Congress, to find an amazing collection of materials on all aspects of the bicycling phenomenon that swept the country. The exhibit includes period photographs, advertising and brochures, as well as artifacts. Glenn Eames and Burlington’s Old Spokes Home generously loaned lamps, bells, a flask, a brass horn and other items.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, runs until August 26, 2015.

Bicycle Tour. In conjunction with the exhibit, Luis Vivanco, the bicycling anthropologist, will lead a 10-mile bicycle tour on June 13 that explores the history of the late nineteenth-century bicycle boom as it played out in Burlington. The tour will run from 10am-12 noon and will start and end at Bailey/Howe Library. Bring a bike, helmet and water bottle. Rain date: June 20, 10am-12 noon.