The Bedford Rest: Brooklyn’s Bicycle Craze of the 1890s

With Suzanne Spellen & Morgan Munsey

The love of cycling took over Brooklyn quickly, filling the streets with two-wheeled enthusiasts. Cycling was enjoyed by every age group, males and females, every ethnic and racial group, professionals and amateur groups alike. In response to the great demand, cycling and repair shops opened along the most popular routes, offering the latest in bikes, gear and maintenance. Some people complained that the bikers were dangerous and taking over the streets, but the “knights of the double-wheel” simply whizzed by them, laughing in the wind. Sounds like today, right? But this was in the 1890s, and Brooklyn was the cycling capital of the United States. Our tour takes you down Bedford Avenue, at the heart of Brooklyn’s cycling world, to Coney Island and beyond. We’ll introduce you to a world of rivaling bicycle clubs, trick riders and day trippers. Join us for this journey to a time that may look as familiar as today, but with bloomers and waistcoats. And the Bedford Rest? Well, that was the place to be and be seen.

All tours are Eastern Time Zone. Registration is now closed.

Saturday, November 21
11:00 AM

Virtual Tour

Member: $15
Non-member: $25

numerous cyclists ride on a bicycle path as people watch from roadside, 1896
Cyclists ride the Bicycle Path From Prospect Park, Brooklyn, to Coney Island in 1896. Photo: New York Public Library.