Bike Boom pp 19-50 | Cite as

How Cyclists Became Invisible (1905–1939)

  • Carlton Reid


The bicycle in the boom of 1896–97 was the plaything of the American and European elites, a signifier of status, health, and wealth. In post-boom America, the bicycle regressed, becoming a vehicle solely for juveniles. In 1920s Europe, the mass-produced bicycle evolved into a transport tool for working stiffs. On both sides of the Atlantic, cyclists faded from view. They became invisible in the Netherlands because bicycles were classless and ubiquitous; and they became invisible in Britain and America because bicycles were deemed to be proletarian or for play.

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© Carlton Reid 2017

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  • Carlton Reid

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