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When President’s said cyclists deserved medals

The League of American Wheelmen was a highly influential organisation in the 1890s. It was non-partisan, bestowing its favours on whichever politicians would promise to support its Good Roads campaign, started in the 1880s.

In the 1896 Presidential election campaign, the League of American Wheelmen was the only organisation to have its own room in the campaign HQ of the Republican party.

Earlier, in 1892, this is what the New York Times said about ‘What Bicyclists Have Done’:

“It does not seem possible, even in these days of rapid growth and development of popular movements, that the subject of roads and the improvement of the same could be so widely disseminated by an athletic organization as has been the case with the League of American Wheelmen. Since the inception of the movement its growth has been marked, and the distinct credit that will come to the organization was forcibly expressed by the President of the United States, when he turned to Col. Charles E. Burdett, the President of the wheelmen’s league, upon the occasion of the visit of the cyclers at Washington in July, and said: “one thing; if wheelmen secure us the good roads for which they are so zealously working, your body deserves a medal in recognition of its philanthropy.”

There will be reams and reams of such quotes in ‘Roads Were Not Built For Cars’.

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