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When President’s said cyclists deserved medals

The League of American Wheelmen was a highly influential organisation in the 1890s. It was non-partisan, bestowing its favours on whichever politicians would promise to support its Good Roads campaign, started in the 1880s.

In the 1896 Presidential election campaign, the League of American Wheelmen was the only organisation to have its own room in the campaign HQ of the Republican party.

Earlier, in 1892, this is what the New York Times said about ‘What Bicyclists Have Done’:

“It does not seem possible, even in these days of rapid growth and development of popular movements, that the subject of roads and the improvement of the same could be so widely disseminated by an athletic organization as has been the case with the League of American Wheelmen. Since the inception of the movement its growth has been marked, and the distinct credit that will come to the organization was forcibly expressed by the President of the United States, when he turned to Col. Charles E. Burdett, the President of the wheelmen’s league, upon the occasion of the visit of the cyclers at Washington in July, and said: “one thing; if wheelmen secure us the good roads for which they are so zealously working, your body deserves a medal in recognition of its philanthropy.”

There will be reams and reams of such quotes in ‘Roads Were Not Built For Cars’.

You can learn more about this e-book in the eight-page pitch below. Click to open the book in page-turning mode. (If you’re accessing this site from an iPad, you’ll see a big white gap, click on the iPad-specific link instead). The e-book will be free: it’s paid for by grants and advertising from bike companies. If you want to get updates on the book, pop your email in the sidebar box on the right.

 

2 thoughts on “When President’s said cyclists deserved medals

  1. Pascal Desmond / Reply December 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Back in 1998 when I was an activist with Transport 2000 North Lancs., yet another letter appeared in the Lancaster Guardian from a motorist saying that roads were built for cars and motor vehicles, not for cyclists, not for horses, etc. This time I decided to act — I contacted a retired high court judge and then I wrote the following:
    We sought legal advice on the view that “horses do not belong on roads”.
    Pedestrians, horses and their riders, farmers with animals and cyclists use the highway by right, motorists and cars use them by licence.

    • carltonreid / Reply December 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      And what did the judge say?

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