You may not have noticed, but it’s the thirtieth anniversary of the movie American Flyers. Can this Hollywood production tell us anything about the history of bicycling in America?
I saw strange marks in the asphalt: sharp gouges that looked as if dragons had clawed at the surface of the road.
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.
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?
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?
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?