Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pedaling Through History: May Is National Bike Month

The month of May is recognized as National Bike Month. For the occasion, we take you back in time to the 19th Century.

In 1883, Thuss, Koellein & Giers, a German-American team of photographers, took these photographs capturing members of the Nashville Bicycle Club in rather dandy poses, preparing to ride the streets of Nashville.

The Nashville Bicycle Club first organized in 1880 at a gymnasium located in the rear of a saloon on Deaderick Street. Members were charged a small initiation fee and monthly dues. The club's advent was later described in Nashville's Daily American newspaper as "the turning point of the athletic history of the city."

Four years after establishing the Nashville Bicycle Club, members organized the "First Annual Races of the Nashville Club at the Fair Grounds." On July 12, 1884, the Daily American reported on "a grand parade of wheelmen" who displayed the "marvelous skill some of the bicyclists had acquired over their flying wheels" before a crowd estimated at "about twelve or fifteen hundred, fully repaid for the investment they had made" in attending the race.

These digital photos, and their source citations, can be viewed by searching "Nashville Bicycle Club" in the State Library and Archives Photograph Database:

The State Library and Archives is a division of the Tennessee Department of State and Tre Hargett, Secretary of State.

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