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Fellowship on the road?

During day-long, even weekend excursions by bicycle clubs, a bugler signaled  orders from the group’s “Captain:” prepare for mounting, mount, form single rank, form twos, dismount, and—most important of all—dinner call.

San Francisco Bicycle Club; H.A. Green, Captain, undated

San Francisco Bicycle Club; H.A. Green, Captain, undated

Courtesy of California Historical Society

“Now I am a bold Bicycler

And I ride a great big wheel

I’m a member of the brotherhood,

That binds us firm as steel.”

—League of American Wheelmen’s Club Songs for Wheelmen, 1885

Bugle, 1880s

Bugle, 1880s

Advertisement, 1880s

Advertisement, 1880s

Compact bugles were made especially for the bicycle trade

Graces of the Bicycle, 1880

Graces of the Bicycle, 1880

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Early bicycle clubs were enclaves of upper-class white men; they excluded women, African Americans, and recent immigrants. Although this Currier & Ives print uses derisive stereotypical ethnic caricatures, it shows that cycling was becoming a pastime for more and diverse riders—many of whom formed clubs of their own.