The Golden Age of Wheeling: Bicycling In Louisville (1868-1917)

The Golden Age of Wheeling: Bicycling In Louisville (1868-1917)
Item# BB369

Book Summary

By T. Carson Torpey
6 x 9 inches
400 pages

ISBN 978-1-941953-57-0
Pub date: August 2018

Americans were crazy about bicycles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Enthusiasts bought and learned to ride the newest machines, formed clubs, held races, and sang popular songs about bicycling. In many ways, Louisville, Kentucky, was at the heart of this craze.

  • Three Louisville racers set world and national records.
  • The nation's first bicycling track, first electric-lit night racing track, and first all-cement track were built in Louisville.
  • The first "century" ride in the United States—100 miles in a day or less—was run in 1880 between Louisville and Frankfort.
  • The 1896 national meet of the League of American Wheelmen, hailed as the best of such meetings, was held in the city.
  • Louisville hosted the country's first women's bicycling road race, and women-only six-day track races.
  • Cycling was so popular that local newspapers routinely devoted three to four full pages to the sport.

The Golden Age of Wheeling: Bicycling in Louisville (1868–1917) is the thoroughly researched history and evolution of bicycling in Louisville. Fascinating and informative, this book is a must-read for bicycling enthusiasts.

About the Author

Carson Torpey is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. He attended Atherton High School and the University of Louisville, majoring in mathematics. He and his wife, Alison, have two children.

After working at Bicycle Sport for 20 years, he opened his own store, Bardstown Road Bicycle Company in 1994. He began riding a 10-speed bicycle in 1969 as a way to get to the soccer games at the park but found a love for cycling instead. On a ride with the Louisville Wheelmen in 1974, he discovered the lure of bicycle racing and went on to win several state championships.

His interest in cycling history began with the closing of Highland Cycle, Louisville's long-running bike store, after receiving one of Gil Morris's old bicycles. A customer let him ride a high-wheel bicycle, which reinforced his interest in cycling history. His wife, Alison, is the Kentucky captain for the national organization devoted to cycling history, The Wheelmen. More of Carson's writing can be found in the organization's magazine, The Wheelmen.

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