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History on Two Wheels: The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame

Updated: Jan 4

USBHOF website banner

Photo in Courtesy of USBHOF

Davis is known far and wide as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the nation, so it comes as no surprise that it’s also home to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.

Located near Central Park in downtown Davis, the Bicycling Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of bicycle racing in the United States. It highlights the journeys of the nation’s top cyclists from the late 1800s to today.

vintage bicycles

Photo in Courtesy of USBHOF

The museum serves as a reminder that the nation has a long history of bicycle racing. In fact, during the early 20th century, bicycle racing was more popular than baseball as a spectator sport! Multi-day races would pack arenas and the fastest riders were some of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

The Hall of Fame recognizes all forms of bicycling, including road biking, track, cyclocross, BMX and mountain biking. Inductees include Major Taylor, who set records in every sprint distance in 1898; Margaret Gast, who set endurance records in 1900; and Charles “Mile a Minute” Murphy, the first man to ride a bicycle for one mile in less than a minute in 1899.

group of cyclists

Other inductees include Susan DeMattei, America’s first Olympic medalist in mountain biking; Cheri Elliott, considered the greatest female BMXer of all time; and Greg LeMond, three-time Tour de France winner. The Hall of Fame also recognizes those who have contributed to the sport of bike racing, including photographers, inventors, and promoters.

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame was founded in 1986 in Somerville, New Jersey, home of the nation’s oldest bicycle race. After a nationwide competition, Davis was chosen as its new home in 2008, in part due to Davis being recognized as a “Platinum” Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

vintage bicycles

Photo in Courtesy of USBHOF

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame also includes a museum that features bicycle-related artifacts from the 19th century to today, including photographs, posters, periodicals, awards, and racing apparel. Of course, it also has a collection of antique and modern bicycles, including the high-wheelers of the late 1800s, Major Taylor’s wooden-rim Peugeot, and a paratrooper folding bicycle from WWII.

Bob Bowen, president of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, said it’s the only such museum in the nation and its appeal extends to anyone who has an interest in bikes or bicycling.

“You don’t have to be a bike geek to enjoy not only the bikes but the history of America through the eyes of bicycling,” he says.

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is located at 303 3rd Street, Davis, CA 95616. It is open Wednesdays from 4–6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.


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