Celebrate summer cycling with Elmer Lovejoy!

Summer seems to be the season for multi-day bicycle tours–each state seems to have its own unique ride–RAGBRAI in Iowa, Ride the Rockies in Colorado, the Tour de Wyoming, and of course, internationally speaking, there’s the mother of them all, the Tour de France.  With so many bicycle events taking place this summer, we thought it would be fun to share some local bicycling history with you from the Elmer Lovejoy papers.

Here's one way to make the miles go by faster--on a bicycle built for two! Elmer Lovejoy (left) with a tandem bicycle he built in 1893. Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 21, Negative Number 1335. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Here’s one way to make the miles go by faster–on a bicycle built for two! Elmer Lovejoy (left) with a tandem bicycle he built in 1893. Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 21, Negative Number 1335. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Elmer Floyd Lovejoy was a Laramie, Wyoming, businessman and inventor. He came to Laramie in 1883 for health reasons and soon developed an interest in mechanics. Lovejoy was active in the Laramie Bicycle Club and was an amateur photographer.

Laramie Bicycle Club members at the corner of 3rd and Ivinson in Laramie. They look as if they could be rolling into town for a rest stop! Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 20.

Laramie Bicycle Club members at the corner of 3rd and Ivinson in Laramie. They look as if they could be rolling into town for a rest stop! Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 20.  American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

A little background on Lovejoy might be helpful here, too.  He opened a general repair shop, Lovejoy Novelty Works, at 412 S. 2nd St. in 1893, and a few years later he built a steam-powered automobile incorporating design innovations of his own. In 1902, he built and drove Laramie’s first steam-driven automobile. In 1905, he invented an automobile steering gear, and in 1918 and 1921 he patented designs for automatic garage door openers. Lovejoy also operated a dealership for Franklin automobiles.

The first page of the Laramie Bicycle Club's rule book.  Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 3.  American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The first page of the Laramie Bicycle Club’s rule book. The rules begin by stating, “The orgranization of the club having been affected for the purpose of thereby obtaining increased facilities for, and enjoyment in the pursuit of Bicycling as a manly and healthful pastime” before continuing on to spell out the specific regulations that governed the group. Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 3. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

 Hope you have enjoyed this brief dip into cycling history in the Laramie area.  (Also, we are entirely confident that your bicycle seats are much more comfortable than the antiques in these photos!)  We wish you happy riding this summer!

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