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The idea for the bicycle dates back to 1791, when wheels were placed on a wooden hobby-horse. Not until the mid-19th century did cycling become an American pastime. Originally, biking was confined to urban areas, but during the 1870s and 1880s cyclists ventured beyond cities and began to tour the natural environment. In 1880, the League of American Wheelman formed. These bike enthusiasts constructed bike paths, mapped rural areas, and advocated for equal treatment on the road. By the 1890s, cycling fever had swept the nation. Men, women, and children alike took to the roads, from leisurely Sunday afternoon rides to competitive races. The bicycle was seen as the "great emancipator of women". Women were able to venture out by themselves and achieve a new found independence; their short skirts and bloomers worn for riding were also considered quite scandalous. The sport remained popular into the early 20th century, at which time the emergence of the automobile distracted Americans away from the bicycle and turned their attentions toward a newer, faster means of transport.

Click on the thumbnail below that closely resembles the type of bicycle in your image.

Velocipede High Wheel
Velocipede High Wheel Bicycle
Standard Bicycle Tricycle
Standard Bicycle Tricycle
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