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Bicycles Back in the Day

by Mary Feeney on 2019-04-04T19:39:00-07:00 in News & Newspapers, History | Comments

Cyclovia Tucson is right around the corner. Before you take a bike ride through open, car-free streets, take a look back at bicycles in days gone by!

One hundred years ago this week, El Mosquito, a Spanish-language newspaper published in Tucson from 1917 to 1925, had this ad for Ingham’s Cycle Shop at 272 East Congress Street, a few steps from the historic Hotel Congress

ad for Ingham's Cycle Shop

El Mosquito, April 6, 1919

The Tucson Bicycle Shop advertised in El Fronterizo, one of the earliest Spanish-language newspapers published in Tucson, starting in 1878. The bicycle store was located at Meyer and Congress in downtown Tucson. This ad is from 115 years ago this month. 

ad for Tucson Bicycle Shop

El Fronterizo, April 16, 1919

Bicycles could also be purchased and repaired at this shop on Fourth Avenue in Tucson, as advertised in an April 1941 issue of El Tucsonense, the longest-running Spanish-language newspaper in Tucson, published from 1915 to about 1959.

ad for bicycles-bicicletas

El Tucsonense, April 8, 1941

El Fronterizo, El Mosquitoand El Tucsonense were digitized several years ago by the University of Arizona Libraries for the Historic Mexican and Mexican American Press collection. Now, through a partnership with the Arizona State Library and funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are also able to add these Spanish-language newspapers to Chronicling America, available through the Library of Congress.

Ninety-nine years ago, Tucson's neighbors to the north in Phoenix, Arizona, celebrated National Bicycle Week during the first week of May 1920, as announced in the Arizona Republican (the earlier title of the Arizona Republic newspaper).

Ad for National Bicycle Week

Arizona Republican, May 6, 1920

One of the advertisements in the full-page display included this trio enjoying a happy bike ride.

bicycle ad

Arizona Republican, May 6, 1920

The Cycle Trades of America's promotional ad on the same page proclaimed: "Riding a bicycle saves money – time and trouble. It makes you independent of hot crowded street cars. It builds your health and is always a pleasant convenience."

Indeed! Enjoy Cyclovia this weekend, and discover more Arizona history at Chronicling America!

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