United States Bicycling Hall of Fame
The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing American competitive cyclists and contributors to the sport. The Hall of Fame includes numerous exhibits that pay tribute to early cyclists and the importance of cycling to early Americans. The museum preserve the history of American cycling and also seeks to promotes cycling as both a sport and fitness activity. Although there are several exhibits dedicated to the ways that women enjoyed greater mobility thanks to bicycles, the main emphasis of the organization is to preserve the history of those who have achieved success in racing or have enhanced the sport of cycling through innovation and coaching.
Backstory and Context
The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame occupies an 8,000 square foot building in in downtown Davis. The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame preserves and expresses the rich history of American cycling that spans from the champions of the 1880’s to today’s best athletes. It also recognizes all varieties within the sport of cycling including road, track, cyclocross, BMX, and mountain biking. Inductees include legends such as Greg LeMond, Juliana Furtado, Nelson Vails, Frank Kramer, Cheri Elliott, Alf Goullet, and Connie Carpenter-Phinney.
During the early 20th century, bicycle racing was a more popular spectator sport than baseball. Successful cyclists such as Frank Kramer and Major Taylor earned more than the highest paid baseball players of their day, like Ty Cobb. Six-day races ran around-the-clock to sold out crowds and head-to-head racing filled venues to their capacity in urban cities. The U.S. has been a major player in the cycling movement since the invention of the first bicycle — from the world’s first mountain bike races held in California to its present-day success on the Olympic stage.
For more information about how cycling provided mobility for 19th century women, click on the link to an article about early feminist Frances Willard and cycling at the bottom of this entry.