Archive for October 11th, 2010

On yer bike!

11 October 2010

By Christina Morin

I was reading the other day on the Guardian about the upcoming Cycle Show in Earl’s Court, London. The article started with a fabulous quote from American suffragette, Susan B. Anthony: ‘The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world’. Although I’m not sure I’m qualified to comment on the emancipation of women, I do love the feeling of freedom and, admittedly, shadenfreude-tinged glee that comes from whizzing down the street and inwardly laughing at all the grumpy people stuck in endless queues of traffic. Through my time in Ireland, I’ve lived in several cities, some more cycle-friendly than others, but I’m always thankful for my bike and the ability just to jump on and cycle into the sunset, as it were.

 Anyway, after inspiring me with a renewed love for my bike and its possibilities, the article got me thinking about the history of cycling. It turns out that I’m not the first to become intrigued by the subject. A random internet search reveals some interesting homages to the humble bicycle and its history. There’s a National Bicycle History Archive of America as well as a Bicycle Museum of America, for instance, and in Wales, there’s a National Cycle Collection (located, ironically, in a place called ‘Automobile Palace’!), with a searchable archive of nearly 5000 cycling-related documents. The University of Warwick houses the National Cycle Archive, founded in part by the Cyclists’ Touring Club (itself founded in 1878), in order to preserve ‘archives, books and journals relating to cycles and cycling’. The holdings can be searched via the library’s catalogue, and there is also a list of the archive’s main holdings – fascinating reading in and of itself! Once you’ve delved into a bit of cycle history research, you can attend the annual International Cycling History Conference, which has been held throughout the world for over 20 years. The 2011 conference will take place in Paris, in case you’re interested! Read more