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Gallery: Vintage cycling from New York City archives
Major Taylor The New York Public Library recently released thousands of images from its archives into the public domain, including quite a few from cycling’s early American heyday.
Marshall “Major” Taylor in 1898 at at 19. Taylor was a star of the blossoming six-day race scene at Madison Square Garden and a world record holder in the 1/4-mile and 2-mile distances by the time this photo was taken. In 1899, he won the 1-mile track championship and set seven more world records across distances from .25 miles to 2 miles. His 1-mile record was 1:41, which stood for 28 years. Photo: George H. Van Norman Six-day racing A six-day race at Madison Square Garden on December 3, 1928. Photo: New York Public Library Bicycle performance A photo of two women performing at the World’s Fair, taken some time between 1935 and 1945. Photo: New York Public Library Bicycle police New York’s bicycle policemen in 1899. Photo: New York Public Library Racing in 1890 A penny-farthing race in 1890. Photo: George Barker | New York Public Library Racing in 1890 Same event, different equipment. This is the finish of the Safety Bicycle race — note both wheels are the same size. Photo: George Barker | New York Public Library Sing-along cycling Sheet music for “Since Katie Rides a Wheel,” composed by Chas K. Harris in 1893. Photo: New York Public Library Sing-along cycling Any musicians out there want to play this and send us the audio? Photo: New York Public Library Cycling parade A safety bicycle parade in Rochester, New York, 1895. Photo: New York Public Library Mile-a-Minute Charles “Mile-a-Minute” Murphy with the bicycle he used to become the first man to ride a mile in less than one minute on June 21, 1899. How did he do it? He convinced a railroad company to board up two miles of track so he could draft a train. He rode a mile in 57.8 seconds. Murphy was also a New York City policeman and claims to be the first policeman to fly a plane. Photo: New York Public Library Mile-a-Minute Charles “Mile-a-Minute” Murphy on his record-setting bike at the World’s Fair. Photo: New York Public Library Around the world in two years A poster for Thomas Stevens, who rode his bicycle around the world. He started in Oakland, California in 1884 and it took him two years. Photo: New York Public Library Bike messengers The original bike messengers. Photo: Alice Austin | New York Public Library Six-day cigarettes A six-day themed ad for Players Cigarettes. Image: New York Public Library Wartime vacation Wartime vacations outside Washington D.C. during WWII. Photo: Marjory Collins | New York Public Library