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Persistent Dreams

Right now the rail-trail movement is the most successful way to build trails for bikers and walkers. But it’s certainly not the first; many other plans for trail building have come and gone.

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National Bike Month: A History

I love National Bike Month. It’s spring, and all is right in the world. But is there more to it than just a good time?

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What’s in a name?

The words that we use to talk about bicycles change over time, but so slowly that we might not even notice. You have to step back and look at a bigger chunk of time to see it.

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British Pathé, US Bikes

What can recently-uploaded historical newsreels tell us about bicycle history? UPDATED!

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Mad Men and Bicycles

On the pilot episode of Mad Men, Don Draper solicited an expert psychological report on the motivations of smokers in the 1960s. What would such a report have looked like for bicycles?

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Breaking Away

For American cyclists — starved for cultural validation — the 1979 film was a delight, and continues to evoke fond memories for recreational riders today. But what can Breaking Away tell us about the history of American cycling?

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But is it Baggage?

In the bicycle boom of the 1890s, the practical question arose when a cyclist loaded their ride onto a railroad car or ferry. Did it count as personal luggage included in the price of the ticket, or could the railroad charge more?

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Freewheelin’

In 1985, Wolf Ruck, a Toronto-based author and filmmaker, produced the 15-minute long mountain bike film Freewheelin’. It is both the most awesomely 80’s thing ever, and a marker of a major historical change in the way that people thought about bicycles. You should watch it.

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January Dreaming

Thanks to the fine bicycle touring maps produced by the Adventure Cycling Association, I’m sitting at my work table and dreaming of a series of book tours by bike.