Bicycles make a lot of people happy—and fit. They help a lot of people get where they need to go.
And they did the same for people 100 years ago.
With both gas prices and carbon dioxide levels in the air steadily rising, bicycles are helping many replicate the time when we weren’t so dependent on fossil fuels.
See our slideshow of old-time bicycling in Utah.
And read John Held Jr’s fun memoir of the early bicycling in Salt Lake City:
In the archives of my memories the bicycle fills many pigeonholes, and my archives go back to the high-wheel job that Father rode before the introduction of the "Safety" model.
It was the days before the streets of Salt Lake knew the smoothness of paving.
My primary memory was the time Mother spent almost a week picking gravel out of the skin on Father's face.
Just inside the Eagle Gate there was a horse's watering trough for the horses to refresh [themselves] with cold mountain water before the hard pull up the hills to the North Bench.
Dad… was riding home in the dark of the late evening. Only Brigham Street [South Temple] was lighted with street lights, so on State Street inside the Eagle Gate it was dark as pitch. Father, pedaling gayly homeward atop his high wheel, turned a sharp curve into the darkness and ran smack bang into the watering trough that some prankster had pulled across the sidewalk.
The high wheel came to a sudden halt, but Father kept on, and did a standing-sitting-Jack-knife dive into the gravel path. Father carried the scars of the extracted gravel through his life.
The next bicycle highlight came with the "Safety" type of wheel. Pleasure riding was the mode, and it was the era of the "Century," or one hundred mile ride. Father equipped himself with a "White," and for Mother he imported the last word in a "Victor."
I need not emphasize the sensational attention that Mother attracted. She made her bicycle debut in—bloomers. They were long and baggy but exceptional enough to bring out long editorials in the Press. Thus Mother became Salt Lake's first "Bloomer Girl."
I wasn't much for size at my age. Father was fortunate in being able to supply me with a bicycle, where I was able to reach the pedals. No boy's bicycle securable met that requirement, so mine was a girl's model.
Dad did an exceptional job of salesmanship in convincing me that I would not meet with ridicule when I rode out, and I didn't. I was the envy of all my contemporaries, and I grew to love my girl's model…