There’s much more to the history of
bicycles and bicycling than the evolution from “Hobby-Horses” to “Boneshakers,” and from there to “High-wheelers.” Indeed, cycling has been an important social activity in most countries of the world, the first form of modern “individual mobility.”
For many years, the history of cycling and of the bicycle has been handled in a very cavalier fashion. Only too often, unsubstantiated rumors were copied from one book to the next, and even reputable historical museums had very little factual information about items in their own collections.
The first International Cycling History Conference was instituted in 1990 in Glasgow, Scotland, to counter this trend, offering historians of the sport and the technology a forum to exchange their findings and ideas.
Since these first beginnings, a conference has been held each year in locations ranging from San Remo (Italy) to Osaka (Japan), and from Cambridge (England) to Stellenbosch (South Africa).
At each of these conferences, delegates make presentations about specific aspects of the history of cycling and the bicycle.
In many cases, myths are debunked (such as Hans-Erhard Lessing’s work on
uncovering the hoax of the alleged “Leonardo da Vinci bicycle.”
Each conference is organized by a different group, institution, or individual sometimes with sponsorship of one or more companies or organizations. After each conference, Van der Plas Publications / Cycle Publishing produces the Proceedings in the form of a very handsome large-format jacketed hardcover book. These books provide the most complete and up-to-date inventory of the state of the art in cycling history available anywhere in the world, and they are available from this web site.
If you are interested in attending a conference, please check the link at the bottom of this page, which will give detailed information about the next upcoming conference.
Beware of the
Internet, Wikipedia, etc.
Unfortunately, the Internet has led to even
more unsubstantiated and outright incorrect
information. If you were to search for "Bicycle
History" using your search engine, you'll find a
lot of information, and except for this website
and a few other ones, they all feed you myths
instead of facts.
Two websites that offer real
cycling history-releveant information are the
websites for the British Veteran-Cycling Club (www.v-cc.org),
the Ameican Wheelmen (www.wheelmen.org) and the
International Cycling History Conference (www.ichc.biz).