According to the League of American Cyclists, May was
designated National Bike Month in 1956 to showcase the many benefits of cycling
and to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle. At the same time, Bike to Work Week was
instituted to encourage an aerobic, car-free commute.
celebrating National Bike Month in the library with a display of
bicycle-related items from our collections, including a route book of Indiana
produced by the League around 1900. At
the time, cyclists were referred to as wheelmen,? and the organization?s
original name was the League of American Wheelmen. Back then, their primary motivation was to
advocate for improved roads. The route
book describes road conditions and places of interest on bicycle expeditions
all over Indiana, some of which are hundreds of miles long.
Other items on display spotlight the bicycle craze of the
1890s, when so many bikes clogged the streets of Indianapolis that the City Council passed an ordinance requiring the purchase of a license to own and operate
one. Our collection contains several
catalogs from the myriad bicycle manufacturers that sprung up to supply the
sudden demand. These items also document
the progression of some of those companies into automobile builders.
Also in the library, you can still see a display of items
explaining the importance of canning throughout the 20th century, a great
supplement to the exhibit You Are There 1948: Communities Can!
Regardless of how you get here, plan a visit to the library
soon. And remember, Bike to Work Week is
May 16 through 20 this year!