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Stories from a Century of Boston’s Cycling History

June 25, 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Local author Larry Finison discusses the importance of bicycling to Boston’s culture for more than a century. Focusing on a few hotspots, including Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, and Arlington, topics will include racing, touring, commuting, bikeways, rails-to trails, bike-trains, bike building, women’s cycling. He will introduce the exploits of the Arlington Cycle Club of the 1890s. He will also introduce a star character, Kittie Knox, a young bi-racial seamstress who was well known in Boston cycling during the 1890s, and then largely forgotten. Cycling slid into the shadows of the automobile, until it came back in the cycling Renaissance of the 1970s. Bicycle institutions like the Bicycle Repair Collective, the Bicycle Exchange, and the Boston Area Bicycle Coalition came to the fore. Rails-to-trails, like the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, struggled and some finally succeeded. Finison will detail its history, especially its Arlington connections.

A Needham resident, Finison is a social psychologist, public health practitioner, and historian. He researches issues of race, class, and gender and how these factors influence factors such as who can ride with whom?  Who is included and who is excluded? Where? How dressed? At what speed?   He has written many articles and two books on the history of bicycling including Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900: A Story of Race, Sport, and Society (UMass Press, 2014) and Boston’s Twentieth Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels (UMass Press, March, 2019).

Books will be available for purchase and signing.



June 25, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Robbins Library
700 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476 United States
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