Hardwick, News

Historical Society to Present Talk on Bicycle History in Vermont

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Hardwick Historical Society photo
This bicycle race was held September 28, 1899, at the bicycle track built by Ira Shattuck at Prospect Park in Hardwick about five years earlier. Ed Appolt (seventh bike from left) later editor of the Hardwick Gazette, came in third on an unusually cold and raw day.

HARDWICK – On Monday, May 15, at 7 p.m., the Hardwick Historical Society will hold its annual meeting featuring Luis Vivanco presenting a talk, “Of Wheelmen, The New Woman, and Good Roads: Bicycling in Vermont, 1880–1920,” at the Hardwick Town House, 127 Church Street.

In his lecture, Vivanco explores the early history of the bicycle in Vermont, a new invention that generated widespread curiosity when it arrived here in the 1880s. During the 1890s, enthusiasm exploded statewide as bicycles became safer, women took to the wheel, roads improved, and retailers developed novel advertising techniques to draw in buyers.

By 1920, popular interest in bicycles had waned, but it had not just been a fad: the bicycle was tied to important changes in industrial production, consumerism, new road policies and regulations, gender relations, and new cultural ideas about auto-mobility and effortless speed.

The program is free, open to the public, and accessible to those with disabilities. For more information, contact Elizabeth H. Dow at (802) 472-6424 or [email protected].

“Of Wheelmen, The New Woman, and Good Roads: Bicycling in Vermont, 1880–1920” is a Vermont Humanities Council program hosted by Hardwick Historical Society and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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