Bicycles began to become popular in the second half of the 19th century, and historical accounts from the 1880’s talked of a bicycling and tricycling craze in New York. (Those crazy tricyclists!)
In Central Park, bicyclists actually had to get a badge and wear it on their chests, according to the annual report from Central Park in 1885. They were also given instructions to “observe due care and caution at all times, especially in the vicinity of pedestrians; they must conform promptly to all directions and cautions from the keepers and other officers of the park, and in case of accident render such assistance as may be necessary, give their name and address, or badge number, if required, and assume such responsibility as circumstances may warrant.”
Check out the photos above and below from the Museum of the City of New York.
A group of people standing behind a row of parked bicycles on a grassy meadow at the “Clermont” (likely the Claremont Inn near Grant’s Tomb). 1895.