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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > Shop > Books Listed by Topic > The Indiana Historian > "a marvel of ingenuity" > "a marvel of ingenuity" - Focus "a marvel of ingenuity" - Focus

Bicycles are a common sight today on paths and roads throughout the country. People, young and old, ride for fun, health, and transportation. As the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta reinforced, bicycle racing is a popular amateur and professional sport. As a result of all this interest, there is an industry to produce and improve bicycles. Manufacturers and entrepreneurs are adept at producing clothing and "necessities" to tempt the rider to invest.

This is nothing new! As the nineteenth century was coming to an end, the bicycle was taking America by storm and becoming one of the most significant inventions for social change in American history to that time.

This issue focuses on the phenomenon of the bicycle when it was a short-lived "craze" in the 1890s.

On page 3, there is a brief overview of the significance of the bicycle. On pages 4-5, the economic impact of the bicycle is introduced.

On pages 6-10, the riders of bicycles are the focus. The map on page 11 provides a statewide overview of some bicycle businesses and cycle clubs.

On pages 12-13, the League of American Wheelmen is discussed.

An exciting addition to the research and resources has been an alliance with Steve Carter, Plainfield, Indiana, who is a bicycle collector, restorer, and historian. His collection of bicycles, replicas, and accessories have been the basis for many illustrations in the issue. On page 14, we share some of Carter's interesting perspectives.

On page 15, there is the usual sampling of sources and suggested readings.

On page 16, the photograph and the quotation of an automobile pioneer provide some perspective of the past and for the present and future.