Celebrating 128 years of Bicycle Clubs in Wyoming
On this day in 1891, the Laramie Cycling Club was organized. The first bicycle created in the Cowboy State had only been assembled a few years earlier in 1867. At the time, bicycles were thought to be the next mode of transportation to replace the horse, and bikes were being assembled and created all across the western states as they expanded with the introduction of the railroad.
Down on 1st street here in Laramie, right next to the very railroad that once brought this mode of transportation to the Gem City, is the Pedal House. The Pedal House features a full-service bike shop that keeps alive the culture of bicycling in Laramie that stretches back to that first bicycle back in 1867. It also features a very passionate owner and operator who keeps the memory of the original Laramie Wheelmen, the first bike club in the Gem City, alive.
Dewey Gallegos hangs the photo of the first bike club on their mantle in the shop, remembering Elmer Lovejoy, an inventor and Laramie native that brought the first bicycle to Laramie and helped start the culture of two wheels on the streets of Laramie.
"Today is one of the most influential days in Wyoming history because of the influence of Thomas Stevens, and he was very close friends with Elmer Lovejoy," Gallegos says, "When he came through he said that these guys cared for the streets so well that they put streets in cities like San Francisco to shame, and it's all because of the influence of the Laramie Bicycle Club."
Gallegos has researched the history of the first bicycles in Laramie, finding that the culture started as soon as the town was founded, and continues today, with neighboring towns not having the same love for two wheels that the Gem City continues today.
"Elmer Lovejoy was a visionary," Gallegos said. "The way he thought was beautiful and amazing and I'm really appreciative to be a part of the culture and community of bicyclers in Laramie. We wouldn't have that if it wasn’t for Elmer Lovejoy and them."
You can celebrate the history of Wyoming bicycles with Dewey and company at the Pedal House. Every year on August 26th, they make the 18-mile trek to Red Buttes, the very same bicycle ride the Laramie Wheelmen, joined by visionary Elmer Lovejoy took back in the late 1800s.