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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 

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The Nasby: 1905
... did a number on that place. Geez. A safer time for bikes Not a bike lock in sight. Nooks and Crannies What I wouldn't ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:39pm -

The Nasby: 1905

Rutland: 1904
... the curb. These days it seems, most kids just drop their bikes right outside the front door of whatever store or custard stand they ... They look better than baseball caps. Water Truck and bikes Many of Shorpy's urban scenes show wet streets. I wondered if they ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/14/2012 - 9:23pm -

Rutland: 1904

Three Indians: 1915
... must have kept the lads awake with fear if that lap's bikes had no front brakes either. The first time I drove from Reno to ... out who these men are and see if their families have these bikes behind the barn. Safety first! At least for the fellow with the ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/06/2013 - 12:57pm -

Three Indians: 1915

Sugar and Spice: 1900
... play... "In my day, no one wore helmets riding their bikes and we all lived to tell about it!" "In my day, had metal monkey bars ... above and cracked their heads open, fell off their bikes and got concussions, and broke their arms falling off the monkey bars. ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/07/2012 - 3:04pm -

Sugar and Spice: 1900

Breaking Away: 1908
... At least three riders have decided that motors on their bikes will make the six days fly by. Spirits! Think we should call it ... Looks like a motorcycle race to me. Looks closely at the bikes, they have tanks and motors. Then there is the advertising for ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:32pm -

Breaking Away: 1908

Speed Racer: 1925
... and over the handlebars you go. Fixie Track racing bikes still have no brakes (and no freewheel device). The rider slows down by ... and in the 1950s and '60s "Beezers" were legendary racing bikes. They couldn't keep up with Japanese manufacturers, though, and by the ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:34pm -

Speed Racer: 1925

Instant Messenger: 1913
... the shadow you can see that it is a skip-link. On modern bikes the teeth on the sprockets are right next to each other. But on this ... hole for the gear tooth, hinge (ASCII art: *-*-*-). On old bikes the pattern was hinge, hinge, hole for the gear tooth, hinge, hinge ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 03/28/2014 - 8:41pm -

Instant Messenger: 1913

Harley-Davidson: 1925
... Awesome! Great pic Dave. Would love to see their bikes. I don't think 'elf and safety was top priority then. Time Traveler ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 04/06/2013 - 12:56pm -

Harley-Davidson: 1925

Board Track: 1925
... mph on the boards and having splinters thrown up by other bikes with such force that they would pierce the protective leather gear. At ... board track When I was a kid, we used to ride our bikes in the woods there. Unfortunately, the current image above does't show ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 09/04/2012 - 5:56pm -

Board Track: 1925

Seabreeze: 1904
... the whole town turned out in their winter finery, riding bikes, carriages or just coming on foot to watch a pig take a swim. Proof ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 05/08/2013 - 4:01pm -

Seabreeze: 1904

Incognito: 1890
... (the penny) and the little wheel (the farthing). The bikes were mounted via a little step just above the small wheel -- partially ... - the pedals ratchet while coasting, just as most modern bikes do. The small "finger" looking device at the top of the wheel is the ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:26pm -

Incognito: 1890

Vital Foods: 1937
... a Colson or a Huffman Best I can tell. Both of these bikes of this vintage had the radical curve in the twin bars near the seat. ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:35pm -

Vital Foods: 1937

Our New Ride: 1921
... full size. On the fringe Looks very close to the bikes we had in the 50's. Just add handle bar fringe and a few playing cards in ... The lady's bike in the window is something to admire too. Bikes were built for transportation back then, not just playing a sport as so ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:38pm -

Our New Ride: 1921

Tashmoo Trippers: 1900
... Detroit. - Dave] Lovely day Great collection of bikes, too. Do you think the group of white-coated boys is a band, or a ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2012 - 9:18pm -

Tashmoo Trippers: 1900

The End of the Innocence: 1941
... spring fork setup used on millions of Schwinns and other bikes over the past hundred-plus years. Still in use. Not unusual. ... least 100 different badges, as Schwinn made private label bikes for hardware stores, tires stores and many other outlets. The model is ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:35pm -

The End of the Innocence: 1941

Stadium Parking: 1942
... Bike Support I love the old-fashioned kickstands on the bikes. Lifts the whole rear wheel off the ground. Better than the ones on newer bikes. Time Machine & the 10th Commandment It's a good thing that ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:33pm -

Stadium Parking: 1942

Over and Under: 1900
... still! The General A picture of the boys and their bikes would be interesting enough but this is an amazing picture. There's ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:44pm -

Over and Under: 1900

Chevy Baby: 1963
... car seats. Not to mention the pedestrians and kids on bikes all over the place. Backseat Rider I was put in a seat like this ... 
 
Posted by deluxeczech - 12/31/2008 - 7:46am -

Chevy Baby: 1963

Raymond Bykes: 1911
... thing now with the pedals on the curb. For utilitarian bikes kickstands are also back in favor. Bykes? Why do I get the ... to the top tube. Deux Fixies I think both the bikes are fixed gears. Note the lack of rim brakes or a reaction arm for a ... 
 
Posted by Ken - 08/13/2013 - 4:37pm -

Raymond Bykes: 1911

Ithaca: 1901
... as primary transportation. But just look at all the bikes on the street! Comparing photos This has to be my favorite then ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/20/2012 - 12:05pm -

Ithaca: 1901

The Summer of '42
... to judge from the license and lack of one on the two bikes. Catching Up Along with some relaxation and lunch, looks like ... Been there Done that! My wife and I used to ride our bikes there and later drive that in the early 60s when we were dating. It was ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:34pm -

The Summer of '42

Birmingham Messenger: 1914
... Lee birmingham messenger interestingly, fixed gear bikes are especially popular among urban bike messengers. fixed gear baby! ... I've been on touring rides where a few of riders had track bikes: they are tough going up hill and scary downhill. A number of years ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:39pm -

Birmingham Messenger: 1914

Our Little Pony: 1938
... I guess "Cleveland" sounded better), advertised their bikes in Europe with marvelous posters showing western themes -- cowboys and, ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:26pm -

Our Little Pony: 1938

Street View: 1905
... Bicycle technology I don't know too much about bikes (god knows I haven't ridden one in 30 years) but when did someone invent ... bike racks? Many of these Shorpy street views include bikes leaning against the sides of buildings buildings or perilously propped ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 07/30/2012 - 5:31pm -

Street View: 1905

Speedy Cyclists: 1913
... in shorts? Fixies These guys were riding fixed gear bikes before it was cool... in fact, it was just about their only choice for ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/23/2013 - 8:36pm -

Speedy Cyclists: 1913

Look, Ma: 1921
... how pedaling energy and speed is affected. Most modern bikes now have a drive sprocket that is several times as big as the driven one. ... for trick riding). Modern "trials" and other trick bikes have the same kind of gearing. About the saddle, which looks rather ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:06pm -

Look, Ma: 1921

Cycle Cops: 1918
... golf course in those outfits. I wonder when fenders for bikes appeared. Ooohhhh My legs are itching from the sight of those wool ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 4:34pm -

Cycle Cops: 1918

Washington Flyer: 1921
... "Hell, give us two legs (each) and a couple of those Tarty bikes, we could do that! And what's with that sissy helmet? And why didn't he ... 
 
Posted by Dave - 08/13/2013 - 5:09pm -

Washington Flyer: 1921

Big Wheel: 1977
... own world pretending to be the characters of CHiPs on our 'bikes.' Super-size it, you say? Here's the Marx page (it is Big Wheel's ... 
 
Posted by rizzman1953 - 06/03/2012 - 4:06pm -

Big Wheel: 1977

Junior Driver: 1949
... much closer to those of a motorcycle than the bigger bikes possessed. When I outgrew it, I inherited my mother's Schwinn, complete ... 
 
Posted by historic52 - 12/08/2012 - 6:25pm -

Junior Driver: 1949
 
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