4/7/2014 13:04

Bicycling History

I concede. Contrary to my wishful thinking, the best available documentary evidence shows that bicycling in the United States has always been dominated by upper middle class men wearing funny clothes.

More's the pity.

I do not concede this lightly. I would much prefer to believe that somewhere in our past there was an era of purity and light, or at the very least a time of general rationality. A time when people recognized that bicycles are a pleasant and effective mode of transportation, an alternative to the horse and an adjunct to the railroad.

At least the railroads were real.

I may still decide to believe in that arcadian heritage, notwithstanding the evidence. I may even write a fallacious history of that era, fully headnoted. It would have to be headnoted, not footnoted, as all the imaginary sources would be pulled out of my head. Although I've never been able to compose long narrative fiction, perhaps I could manage purely erroneous history.

As long as it is believable, does it really have to be true? So much of what is true is not believable.

I may not have the support of historical research, and apparently never will, but I can still take my stand against the legacy of class, gender, and fabric restrictions in bicycling.