Cycle Town USA: Unpacking Rochester’s Bike History

Monday, April 24 | 7 PM – 8 PM | Zoom

Did you know that Rochester was known as Cycle Town in the 1890s and that one visiting journalist thought we were “the greatest bicycle town in the country”? Join Reconnect Rochester on April 24th from 7-8pm on Zoom for a deep dive on Rochester bike history. Local history bike tour guide and Cycling Manager Jesse Peers will share his research findings with us, and we’ll have a panel discussion with three historians who’ve also researched in Rochester for their books. We’ll discuss:

  • 1890s bicycle mania
  • The prominence of Rochester and WNY in the Side Path movement
  • How this history is relevant today

Evan Friss is a history professor at James Madison University. He’s the author of On Bicycles: A 200-Year History of Cycling in New York City, and The Cycling City: Bicycles and Urban America in the 1890s. He was also the guest curator of “Cycling in the City,” an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. His research has been profiled in The New Yorker, Slate, National Geographic, The Economist, The New York Times, and other media outlets.

James Longhurst is a historian of urban and environmental policy at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, with a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. The author of the book Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, he volunteers his time for a variety of active transportation policy projects. He was named “Advocate of the Year” by the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation in 2016 and is a member of the board of directors of the advocacy group 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.

Robert McCullough is Professor and Director of Historic Preservation, University of Vermont.  He lives in Montpelier, surrounded by challenging gravel roads, and is the author of several books exploring America’s cultural landscapes and built environments, including Old Wheelways: Traces of Bicycle History on the Land.  His current book project, Old Wheel Works: Places of Industrious Architecture, Engineering, and Invention, is nearing publication.

Can’t get enough of Rochester’s Bike History? Sign up for one of our Local History Bike Tours here!