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Bicycling photos for National Bike Month

May 19, 2014

In celebration of National Bike Month, we present photographs that provide glimpses of bicycling in Texas from the 19th century to the 1980s. Our photograph of a young man with his high-wheeled bike in front of a photographer’s backdrop is typical of the earliest photographs of bicycles. By the mid-1890s, the smaller safety bicycles were available for purchase in the larger communities in the state.  Bicyclists began appearing in photographer’s street scenes and in group portraits of members of the newly formed bicycle clubs.

News photographers produced records of the various ways bicycles were used in the 20th century. Images in our San Antonio Express–News and San Antonio Light photograph collections show bicycles used for both work and recreation—and how they were sometimes adapted by the owners for special needs.

 

Bicyclist stands beside a high-wheeled bicycle, Flatonia, circa 1886.  (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 074-1301)

Bicyclist stands beside a high-wheeled bicycle, Flatonia, circa 1886. (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 074-1301)

 

Bicycle club on country lane near Victoria, circa 1897.  (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 080-0138)

Bicycle club members on a country lane near Victoria, circa 1897. (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 080-0138)

Bicyclists pose with Judge Roy Bean outside the Jersey Lilly, Langtry, 1890s.  (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 083-0871)

Bicyclists pose with Judge Roy Bean outside the Jersey Lilly, Langtry, 1890s. (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 083-0871)

 

Alfred Brucks pauses on his way to the Medina County Fair Parade in Hondo, circa 1925.  (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 096-0439)

Alfred Brucks pauses on his way to the Medina County Fair Parade in Hondo, circa 1925. (General Photograph Collection MS 362: 096-0439)

Leo Menchaca wearing earphones attached to a radio that he installed on his bicycle, San Antonio, 1929.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-1202-C)

Leo Menchaca wears earphones attached to a radio that he installed on his bicycle, San Antonio, 1929. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-1202-C)

Dorothy Willis demonstrates “parabiking” shortly after it was introduced to the area, San Antonio, August 1937.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-1606-O)

Dorothy Willis demonstrates “parabiking” shortly after it was introduced to the area, San Antonio, August 1937. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-1606-O)

Walter Gallaway (left), postal telegraph messenger, and Travis Singleton, Western Union messenger, San Antonio, February 1938.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-1766-F)

Walter Gallaway (left), postal telegraph messenger, and Travis Singleton, Western Union messenger, San Antonio, February 1938. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-1766-F)

Billy Woodward takes his dog along while he delivers newspapers from his bicycle, San Antonio, May 1941.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2760-B)

Billy Woodward takes his dog along while he delivers newspapers from his bicycle, San Antonio, May 1941. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2760-B)

L. B. Seibel, Jr. poses with a bicycle that he improved by replacing the handle bars with an automobile steering wheel, San Antonio, June 1941.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2771-B)

L. B. Seibel, Jr. poses with a bicycle that he improved by replacing the handle bars with an automobile steering wheel, San Antonio, June 1941. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2771-B)

Charles Merritt gives friends Mary Catherine Grimes (left) and Doris Burnham a ride in the trailer he built for his bicycle, San Antonio, June 1942.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2976-A)

Charles Merritt gives friends Mary Catherine Grimes (left) and Doris Burnham a ride in the trailer he built for his bicycle, San Antonio, June 1942. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2976-A)

Because of the World War II rubber shortage, Eugene Bouse (left) and Leslie Maly have combined their bicycles for the duration of the war, San Antonio, June 1942.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2972-A)

During the World War II rubber shortage, Eugene Bouse (left) and Leslie Maly adapt by combining their bicycles until better times, San Antonio, June 1942. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection MS 359: L-2972-A)

Joe Brown, trick bike rider, San Antonio, June 1982.  (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection MS 360:  E-0104-153)

Joe Brown, trick bike rider, San Antonio, June 1982. (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection MS 360: E-0104-153)

Fiesta Bike Ride, San Antonio, April 1979.

Fiesta Bike Ride, San Antonio, April 1979.  (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection MS 360:  E-0053-102)

.  (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection MS 360:  E-0104-153)

A 30-mile and 50-mile cycling event in Olmos Park and surrounding area, March 1984. (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection MS 360: E-0104-153)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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