In the Spring 2016 issue of Georgia Backroads magazine, authors William Warren Rogers and Robert Holladay describe a “bicycle craze” that swept through Thomasville, GA in the 1890’s, prompting construction of “wide pathways, trails and circular tracks linked to the town’s network of existing roads” for people riding bikes.
Like many cities in the US at the time, residents and visitors to Thomasville “enthusiastically embraced a new mode of transportation called the bicycle.” Bicycles seemed to find an especially receptive audience in Thomasville, a south Georgia city popular with tourists who believed its “pine-scented air held the promise of physical improvement.”
The article goes on to describe a vibrant, bike-friendly atmosphere in Thomasville:
Men and women contributed to bicycling’s phenomenal popularity in Thomas County. For any number of reasons — utilitarian, sport, or simple pleasure — bicycles immediately became popular. It was a natural fit for guests searching for relaxation, restoration, and pleasure in a warm and varied setting. In l886 a local resident wrote in the Thomasville Times, “This mode of transportation is growing in popularity everywhere.”
Today, a new generation of bicyclists in Thomasville is looking to revive this healthy, enjoyable form of transportation and recreation. I Bike Thomasville, an emerging advocacy organization, just started an online petition calling for a Complete Streets conversion of a local street to make it safer for families who want to walk and bike.
For the full, fascinating story on bicycling’s heyday in south Georgia, check out the full article here.