Cycles of History: The Classic Bicycles

What machine could be more democratic than the bicycle? Even its origins were common, developed by blacksmiths and mechanics, while professional engineers were preoccupied with steam-driven machines in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.

But the common man welcomed the relatively inexpensive freedom of mobility that the bicycle offered. Couldn't afford a carriage or a horse? You could just grab your velocipede and ride away, free as the wind. No wonder the bicycle's popularity soared in the 1890s.

As for the common woman, the bicycle proved a profoundly liberating influence for her. It not only provided remarkable personal mobility but also helped revolutionize her wardrobe!

Some historians argue that the bicycle had as big an impact on society as the Model T. Certainly it paved the way - literally and figuratively - for the automobile.

The classic bicycles on display here were selected to illustrate the bicycle's development. So step back in time, and enjoy the ride on these Cycles of History. And if you think of bicycles as just kid transportation, take a look back at the phenomenon that revolutionized personal transportation for your parents and grandparents and is increasingly relevant as a modern mode of economical, environment-friendly transportation and recreation. See if you can find your two-wheeled personal memories.

The development of cycling Social impact Bicycles and Palo Alto
Motorized bicycles Exhibit Guide What they said about bicycles


Web sites

Bicycle Museum of America
Nice photos and history with links to related sites.

Canberra Bicycle Museum
The world of cycling in the land down under.

International Bicycle Fund Good list of bicycle museums worldwide

Pedaling History Bicycle Museum A history of bicycles, photos, and related links to bicycle related topics, books and events.

Smithsonian Magazine
Bicycles Built to View , Sept 1996


To be added


MOAH Exhibits Committee

Chairman: Ellen Harrington

Suzanne Beaver
Beth Bunnenberg
Richard Clark
Ernestine Faxon
Charlie Gillis
Ralph Igler
Theodora Nelson
Kim Pack
Beryl Self
Bill Wehrend

Photography Wayland Lee

And a very special thanks to Ralph Igler and Channell Wasson for their expertise and loaned artifacts.

Trademarks and Service marks are the property of their owners.

Back To Top This page last updated: March 10, 2004
Original content: Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Museum of American Heritage
Trademarks are the property of their owners
MOAH home page

View Site in Mobile | Classic
Share by: