|Published online: June 20, 2014||$US5.00|
By examining the promotion of the bicycle, first to adults and then to children, we can gain insights into alterations in American culture and have a better basis for understanding the forces that undergird national identity. This essay uses trade journals, advertisements, sales figures, and changes in bicycle design to show that the automobile did not immediately or automatically supplant the bicycle. Instead, automobiles further influenced the way the bicycle was marketed and designed, as bicycle designs changed to appear more like cars, motorcycles, and airplanes. This development not only signaled the capitulation of the bicycle industry to motorized vehicles, but also worked to instill in children a love for consumer items that were antithetical to the bicycle. As cycling became an activity predominately for white middle-class children, its status as a legitimate means of transportation and popular form of recreation took a back seat to the automobile. The essay will not only seek to answer why the bicycle was relegated to the status of child's toy, it will implicitly highlight the increasing divergence of American culture from other cultures.
|Keywords:||Consumption, Bicycle, Childhood, Transportation, Advertising|
Instructor, Department of History, University of Kentucky, Campbellsville, Kentucky, USA