June 13, 1893

Biking on Nantucket. In an Inquirer & Mirror article on bicycling, Max Wagner wrote in 1893, “The miracle that the bipede has wrought all over the civilized world has probably been nowhere more pronounced than on this beloved sand heap of ours, that the world generally knows as the island of Nantucket.”

The first bicycles on Nantucket were so heavy few people wanted to ride them. But in 1880, the Brockton Bicycle Club gave an exhibition of a new, lighter model and a bicycle craze was born. “Two years ago the cyclist here flocked all by himself; now everybody, irrespective of age, sex or previous condition of laziness, rides – or wants to ride – a wheel,” Wagner noted.

An increase in mishaps caused town voters to create a law in 1894 that fined bicycle riders $20 if they didn’t have a bicycle bell when they were riding faster than 10 miles an hour, riding at night or riding on the sidewalk.


Excerpted from On This Day In Nantucket History
By Amy Jenness
The History Press
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The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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