Popularity of Bicycles

The bicycle first gained mass popularity in the 1890s, when the “safety” bicycle replaced its perilous, giant-wheeled predecessor. While automobiles gave bicycles strong competition, manufacturers quickly pivoted and began making children’s bicycles after the end of World War I (about 1919).

Schwinn’s balloon-tired Excelsior model debuted in 1933 and remained one of the most popular models for over 30 years. After World War II ended in 1945, bicycles exploded in popularity and allowed kids to roam throughout the suburbs that were cropping up all across America.

Bike designs of the 1950s were often inspired by motorcycles and rocket ships. In the 1960s and 1970s, Schwinn’s Sting-Ray bicycle was extremely popular; it featured a banana seat and an elongated strut. In the 1980s, racing bikes became a popular mode of exercise for adult men and women. Today, bicycles come in many styles, including retro or comfort bikes, trick bikes, mountain bikes, racing bikes, plus simple bikes for kids.

For kids, the wheel size will vary. For kids age 2-4 a 14” wheel, for ages 4-6 years it is 16” and ages 5-8 it is 20”, then for ages 8-11 years old it is 24” wheel size.

About 1 Billion bikes are used around the globe today.

Photo: Early youngsters’ bikes.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Women and Bikes in the late 1800s

Females Wearing Trousers

Having Fun for Our Ancestors in the 1880s

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