Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

“A Spin Down the Road”: Photographs of Kansas Cyclists

May 30th, 2017

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes stories, in Scientific American, 1896

May is National Bike Month, so this week we’re sharing some photographs from the Kansas Collection that show turn-of-the-century Kansans with their bicycles.

Photograph of a group of bicyclists, 1896

Group of bicyclists participating in a Leavenworth-Kansas City bicycle race, 1896.
Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72.
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Mattie Parrish with a bicycle, 1897

Mattie Parrish with a bicycle, Junction City, Kansas, 1897.
Joseph J. Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of F, 1 Bicycle Corps with their Bicycles, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1897

F, 1 Bicycle Corps with their bicycles, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1897.
Joseph J. Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Samuel Elliott with his children on a bicycle, circa 1904

Samuel Elliott with his children Maude, Jeannette, Sam,
and Louise on a bicycle, circa 1904. Photo by Alfred Lawrence,
734 Massachusetts, Lawrence, Kansas. Elliott Family Papers.
Call Number: RH MS-P 338. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of a group sitting on a loading dock with a bicycle, circa 1913

Group sitting on a loading dock with a bicycle, circa 1913.
Kansas Collection Photographs. Call Number: RH PH P1088.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Be sure to also check out additional digitized photos of bicyclists in the Pennell Collection.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services