1936: The Bicycle comes back

Popular Science magazine recently put all of their archived issues on-line. A quick search for bicycles brought up this interesting article from July 1936.

The bicycle is back. Four millions Americans now pedal along streets and highways. And, last year factories in the United States turned out 750,000 machines, nearly equaling the peak production of the gay nineties. News items from all part of the country tell the story of this dramatic boom in popularity.

Bike polo. Bike rental stations. Trains on bikes. The bicycle news of 1936 wasn’t all that different than today.

And, they note that Detroit has created “handlebar paths” for bicyclists in several city parks. We’re guessing that included Belle Isle and Rouge Park.

The article also documents the rise of bicycles starting in 1885 and their subsequent fall by 1904. The depression spurred Americans to rediscover this “forgotten vehicle.”

That sounds similar to what has happened during our gas price spikes and tough economy.

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3 Responses to “1936: The Bicycle comes back”

  1. Dave Reid Says:

    True, though this time we need to avoid the downfall but continuing to invest in bike infrastructure.

  2. The bike court beat goes on « BikingInLA Says:

    […] needed. Can private businesses cut the locks of bikes parked in the public right-of-way? 1936 sounds a lot like 2010, at least as far as bikes are concerned. Eight months of riding culminates with a final leg from […]

  3. Mikael Says:

    You can hear WHY American cycling declined so dramatically in Episode 3 of the lecture by bicycle historian Iain Boal. It’s down to one man. Albert Pope. It’s at all 07:00 minutes in episode 3 on this post at Copenhagenize.com

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