The Vermont Digital Newspaper Project was delighted that the University of Vermont’s Special Collections hosted Robert McCullough, Associate Professor of Historic Preservation, last Wednesday, the 21st, at 5:30 pm, for a special talk entitled, Good Roads & Good Sidepaths: Tracing Bicycle History on the Land. This talk was in conjunction with the newspaper project’s summer/fall exhibit at the Bailey/Howe Library, Cycling Through the News: The Rise of Bicycling in Vermont and the Nation.
McCullough’s talk explored the rise of bicycling in the late 19th century in the United States and how pioneering wheelmen and wheelwomen shaped the landscape. In particular, he addressed the creation of sidepaths and the push for good roads, starting in the late 1880s. Sidepaths were created, particularly in New York state, alongside roads as special paths for bicyclists only. Many of these paths required bicyclists to purchase special bicycle tags in order to ride on them! Unfortunately, few of these original sidepaths remain extant today in the country–and none are known extant (or known ever to have been created) in Vermont.
McCullough’s new book, Old Wheelways: Traces of Bicycle History on the Land, is out now. You can find it on the MIT Press’s website and on Amazon.
If you haven’t seen it, there’s a few more days yet to view the exhibit! We’ll be taking it down on Friday, October 30.