Bikes in Athelstan Museum's Collection

Cycles through the centuriesWe are not a transport museum but we have a small and interesting collection of bicycles and tricycles.

Cycling started to become popular in the late 1800s. The first competitive race was in Paris in 1868 – won by an Englishman. Penny farthings were popular in the 1870s but by the turn of the century bikes were starting to look like today’s machines.

Cycling was a new and very popular sport with yong ladies; it was considered very daring for some to be actually sitting astride their cycles!

Cycling has been credited with changing the face of rural England; inbreeding was no longer necessary. Courting was not restricted by the distance you could walk - with your bike you could roam much further afield. The increasing popularity of cycling clubs at the beginning of the nineteenth century opened up society for young people. The old folk disapproved and thought them most improper - imagine - young ladies riding astride!

Cycles were sometimes used for croquet at Cowbridge