Photo Album: Brooklyn Bike History
In the late 19th century, advances in manufacturing made the bicycle suddenly accessible and affordable to average New Yorkers. Bicycle riding became wildly popular, and streets increasingly chaotic, with cyclists sharing unpaved roads with horseback riders, horse-drawn carriages and streetcars.
Reclaim teamed up with Brooklyn Historical Society to celebrate ye olde velocipeders of yore, and peek back at a century of bicycling in New York. You can visit Brooklyn Historical Society, open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 5 pm at 128 Pierrepont Street, or at brooklynhistory.org.
Ruth and Hazel Shellens outside their family home in Sunset Park with a ladies safety bicycle. The lowered crossbar made bicycling more accessible to women.
Alfred Cranston (right) in the backyard of his home on Quincy Street; his high socks were common cycling gear at the time.
Before automobiles were common, local “wheelmen” organized cycling clubs to finance the paving of the first asphalt roads in New York City.
The Vernon Avenue Bridge opened in 1905 and was demolished in 1954 to make way for the Pulaski Bridge. Cyclists would likely have had to pay a toll to cross.
Pothole locations are listed in a letter from the Associated Cycling Clubs of Long Island to the Corporation Counsel of New York.
Images courtesy Brooklyn Historical Society.