Learn More About Bikes with JSTOR

It’s time to haul your 2-wheeler out of winter storage (if you haven’t already), avoid the construction around town and enjoy the gorgeous summer weather and abundance of bike paths this city has to offer – June is bike month in Colorado. Regardless of whether you are a die-hard all-weather commuter, or a short weekend family jaunt kind of person, this is the month to celebrate. Especially as Bike to Work Day (June 25), and all the associated activities that week, draw near…

While we do not have a AnswerCache database here at the library dedicated solely to bicycles, the bicycle itself has such a long history and presence that articles can be found in many of our databases, and this month we will focus on JSTOR.

PRanswercacheJSTOR is a shared digital library that has digitized over 50 million pages to give online-access to articles from over 2,000 different academic journals. Their aim is to expand access to scholarly content as well as preserve it for future generations.

In JSTOR you can browse or do advanced searches. You can narrow your results by item type (article, book, pamphlet, etc.), date, language, discipline (i.e. Sociology, Language, Science, etc.), or even specific publication title. Additionally, you can create your own free account to save citations of articles you like, and create alerts for journals or specific searches to be sent to you as they are released.

Some interesting things I learned while playing around on JSTOR:

  • “Sociology of the Bicycle” by Sidney Aronson reveals that the bicycle was introduced to America from the UK in a real-life third-time-is-a-charm scenario (the 1819 “dandy-horse” and the 1869 “bone crusher” were ultimately too difficult to be anything but a novelty, however the 1879 model was a keeper). In addition, it turns out there was just as much antagonism between horse-riders /teamsters and the early cyclists, as there is between motorized vehicles and cyclists today.
  • An article on etymology explains that the word “Bicycle” was adopted from the French in 1868, and the shortened version of “bike” was an Americanization that came along 14 years later in 1882.
  • Lastly Alberto Minetti and others did some scientific enquiries and experiments investigating how difficult the early bikes were to ride, and the efficiency of their construction in relation to the mechanics of human anatomy. They found that, with one exception whose design focused on safety, each new version of the bike improved in aerodynamics and metabolic economy.

Access JSTOR from home today! All you need is your Poudre River Libraries card number.