From 24th September to 1st October our doctoral researcher Jannis Buschky went on a research trip to the University of Massachusetts Boston. In the archives at UMass Boston, Buschky examined the collections “League of American Bicyclists records, 1880-2012” and “Phyllis Harmon: League of American Wheelmen (LAW) collection, 1880-2006”.
The largest collections on the early history of bicycling in the world, they reveal that bicyclists played a major role in promoting the construction of better roads. Before the efforts of the Good Roads Movement lead to improved riding conditions especially in rural areas, much bicycling took place on dirt and gravel roads. Like early motorists, bicyclists had to navigate muddy terrain. Apart from bicycle racing, which emerged as a pastime activity of the middle class, many riders took their bikes into nature. OffRoad will be reviewing the material, asking in what ways perceptions of the environment were tied to specific forms of mobility and their cultural imaginations.
In his time at UMass Boston, Jannis Buschky presented the project’s research at a lunch-time colloquium hosted by the Department of English and spoke with students in a graduate seminar about ecocriticism.
We are grateful to the chair of the Department of English at UMass Boston, Eve Sorum, who invited Jannis Buschky to visit Boston. Our gratitude also goes to the “Landesprogramm Baden-Württemberg – University of Massachusetts”, which made his research stay possible by awarding him the „researcher mobility program“ grant.