The Pryor Dodge Bicycle Collection


This collection offers a glimpse of the 19th Century from the handlebars of a bicycle, the most efficient machine ever invented. Over 2,200 original artifacts from Europe and the Americas portray the technical, social and esthetic aspects of this medium during its first 100 years, dating from 1819.

Viewers will discover the fascination the public had for this remarkable human-powered contraption. It was a liberating vehicle for women in the 1890's that facilitated freedom of movement & association and was instrumental in the introduction of "rational dress". The seemingly unlimited ways artists imagined bicycle use is colorfully represented in magnificent prints and posters.

Several of the exhibition's highlights include: a magnificent Michaux velocipede tricycle with a carved dragon's head, a Phantom velocipede, the first to have a rubber tire, an Ariel, the first manufactured high-wheeler, and a BSA safety, one of the earliest manufactured chain-drive bicycles. Novel use of materials is represented with a bentwood hickory and a bamboo-framed bicycle. There is a Columbia chainless bicycle that belonged to John D. Rockefeller, a c1905 Terrot Levocyclette, the earliest manufactured bicycle with 10 speeds, and a c1925 BSA racer that once belonged to Henry Ford.

The exhibition ends with sections on the bicycle's contribution to the development of the automobile and the Wright brothers, who began in the bicycle trade.



********** Please visit – THE VIRTUAL BICYCLE MUSEUM **********  


Velocipede Tricycle, Michaux & Cie., Paris, 1867-8


This unique velocipede with the magnificently carved dragon's head was made by the celebrated pioneering manufacturer of velocipedes, and was exhibited in Paris at the first bicycle history exhibition: the Exposition Retrospective du Cycle at the Grand Palais in 1907.

The carved head clearly has oriental elements resembling a dragon horse: the Chinese Quilin (ki-lin) or Japanese Kirin.

This extraordinary tricycle is considered by bicycle historians to be one of the most important historical bicycles in the world. It is thus the greatest piece in the collection and would be the most significant piece in most bicycle collections.

The Bicycle
Pryor Dodge
Flammarion, Paris and New York: 1996, 1997
224 pp., 341 illustrations

French edition: La Grande Histoire du Vélo, Editions Flammarion, Paris: 1996, 2000

German edition: Faszination Fahrrad - Geschichte, Technik, Entwicklung, Delius Klasing - Edition Moby Dick, Kiel: 1997, 2001, 2007, 2011

A beautifully illustrated book on the history of the bicycle, based on the author's collection...

Order from Amazon


The Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 2010 (14 years after publication):

10 great books about cycling

"The Bicycle, by Pryor Dodge. If you want to revel in the sheer beauty of the bicycle, this is your book. Pryor Dodge has assembled a coffee-table book that not only serves as an illustrated history of the bicycle, but also encourages readers to treat the bike as a work of art."

The Guardian, Manchester (UK), February 27, 1997:

" Pryor Dodge...has combined what is unquestionably the most finely illustrated history of cycling ever produced with a text which is both erudite and elegant. Dodge not only reminds us of the curious paths and byways the bicycle has travelled down; he points a way forward by documenting the bicycle renaissance of recent years."

London Review of Books, April 24, 1997:

" The Bicycle is full of delights....adds up to what used to be called a wonder book....close-ups of clean, shining mechanisms can have an elegance all their own..."

Bicycle Culture 11, York (UK), December 1996:

" This is the most sumptuous book ever on the history of cycling. The author borrows generously from his astonishing collection of historical illustrations: revealing images not previously known even to cycle historians.  That so many of them are in colour is particularly delightful. The many finely-lit studio photographs make old, worn machines look truly beautiful, from the pitted and scratched Levocyclette of 1905 on the front cover, to the two-page spreads devoted to a Velocipede pedal detail and to the Simpson lever chain."

VELO, 1996 Fall/Winter Catalogue:

" This book is nothing short of the finest cycling history/picture book ever published...This book is a treasure for any cycling enthusiast....Outstanding color photographs."



  The Oakland Museum, Oakland, California, 1999




La Vuelta a la bici — organized by ITDP: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy; digital images combined with bicycle collections in Mexico

2016     Museo Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Mexicanos, Puebla, Mexico

             Museo El Amate, Parque Ecológico de Chapultepec, Cuernavaca, Mexico

2015     Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City, Mexico


2010     Bicycles and Bloomers: Women's Emancipation and the Bicycle, Coronado Historical Association, Coronado, California


The Bicycle Takes Off   1865–1900, From Boneshaker to Boom

2002       Springfield Science Museum, Springfield, Massachussetts

2001       Queens Hall of Science, (Flushing Meadow) New York City

               Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk , Connecticut

2000       Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington, Massachussetts


Bicycles : History – Beauty – Fantasy

1999       The Oakland Museum, California

1998       San Diego Historical Society, San Diego, California

               Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles

1997       The Design Museum, London, England

               The Morris Museum, Morristown, New Jersey

       UBSPaineWebber Gallery, New York City

1995       The Evansville Museum of Arts & Science, Evansville, Indiana

               The Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, Tennessee

       Durham Western Heritage Museum, Omaha, Nebraska

               The Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, Washington

       The Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii

               The San Francisco Airport—United Airlines Terminal connector

1987       The Old Pueblo Museum, Tucson, Arizona

1983       OK Harris Gallery, New York City



Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, Tennessee, 1995



Pryor out for a weekend ride on one of his favorite streets,
the rue St. Vincent, Montmartre, Paris, 1971


Selected Articles:

The Daily Beast, September 15, 2014

Maine Antique Digest, July, 2013, December 27, 2000

Cambridge Cycling Campaign Newsletter,(UK) December 15, 1997

The New York Times, July 13, 1997

The New York Times, May 12, 1996

The New York Times, December 18, 1983


Some excellent sites for your consideration:

The Wheelmen – Dedicated to the Enjoyment and Preservation of our Bicycling Heritage

Myths and Milestones in Bicycle Evolution

Automobility – Karl Drais and the Unbelievable Beginnings, by Prof. Hans-Erhard Lessing

The Bicycle Museum of America – The Schwinn Collection, New Bremen, Ohio

Velorama, National Bicycle Museum – The Gertjan Moed Collection, Nijmegen, Holland

Japanese Bicycle History Site by Ootu Yukio

Jim Langley website

International Bicycle Fund – Tours of Africa

Copake Antique Bicycle Auctions                                                        



Photographs ©2016 Pryor Dodge. Links to this page are permitted.
Photographs can only be reproduced with written permission and photo credit.