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History on Two Wheels

The first bicycles were of wooden construction, from their frame to their wheels and later moved from wooden to iron elements. Bicycles evolved during the late 19th century and, by 1900, elements of modern bicycles had emerged. In the early 1900s, upgrades to bicycles during the “Safety Era” made them more sturdy, safe, and reliable modes of transportation with improvements to the seats, brakes, tires, and wheel spokes. Despite the rise of other transportation options, the bicycle has stood the test of time as the most healthy and reliable mode of travel, second only to walking.

Bicycles represented an enjoyable outlet for women, even as conservatives feared the “sinful wheel” would lead to female corruption because women sought to wear split skirts or pants for safety. Women pushed past the controversy to enjoy bicycles in all types and sizes, even joining clubs and participating in contests.

Size: 5 retractable free-standing banners with possible addition of artifact and reproduction cycles from North Carolina Transportation Museum.   Duration of Exhibit: 4-6 weeks

Note: there is the possible addition of reproduction and antique bicycles with this exhibit. These cycles are in the collections of the North Carolina Transportation Museum. If you would like to investigate borrowing the cycles on loan for the duration of the exhibit at your location, please contact Kelly Alexander, Executive Director North Carolina Transportation Museum, 704-636-2889, ext. 236 or kelly.alexander@nctrans.org.

The Division of Education and Outreach has created a series of traveling exhibits on a variety of topics. The exhibits are often accompanied by programming ideas, additional reading materials, and other tools to assist host institutions in sharing the great stories of our State.