Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900: A Story of Race, Sport, and Society

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Keywords

Boston, cycling, social history

Disciplines

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social History | Sports Studies | United States History | Urban Studies | Women's Studies

Abstract

My purpose in Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900, was to unearth a largely hidden social cycling history from the point of view of the ordinary, not the famous. While there were many Boston connections to racing champions like Major Taylor, Eddie McDuffee, and Nat Butler, and there are abundant sources of evidence about them, the research was not just about them, nor just about bicycle racing, nor just about unique or fast bikes. I wanted to write about what bicycling meant to ordinary citizens of Boston and its surrounding towns— and to write about the worsening social climate of the time and the consequences for cyclists and their organizations. Of course, the danger in a thoroughly historicist approach is that it can fall into a kind of antiquarianism, reveling in the past for its own sake, without any attempt to draw parallels or lessons for the present—entertaining but not useful.

Publisher

University of Massachusetts Press

 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.