4,000 Miles of Collectibles: The Adventure Cycling Bikecentennial Memorabilia Show
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
For the last 10 years of my life I’ve been staring at photos, patches, maps, and booklets from the Bikecentennial. When the track bike world was in a lull, I’d pull from the hundreds of amazing photos on Flickr of the Bikecentennial for Tracko content. The touring bike goes in and out of fashion quite often, but has always been something special in my book. A bike that can carry everything you need to live, smoothly and reliably across the open roads of America will always be the perfect bicycle to me and the people who ride them will always be the most interesting to talk to. The bicycle tourist may be the one that keeps the great American story teller alive. You’ll find eccentrics, artist, musicians, dirtbags, and all types of bike punks zigzagging their way across the world on these bikes and I think this is what originally drew me to the Bikecenntenial and vintage bicycle touring memorabilia.
I can still remember finding and purchasing the May, 1973 issue of National Geographic with the Bike Boom article in it, where I first learned of June and Greg Siple, and Dan and Lys Burden, who produced the Bikecentennial and would later create Adventure Cycling. From that moment on, I was scouring bike swaps and Ebay for any and everything Bikecentennial, or whatever else I could get my hands on, even remotely connected to bicycle tourism. Some of this stuff now graces the walls and cases of Golden Saddle Cyclery, but much of it has been given to bicycle travelers I’ve met over the years.
I felt it was time for a refresher course in the Bikecentennial and bicycle tourism. I wanted to see everything that I’d been looking at in magazines and on the internet for the last 10 years of my life in one place and in real life. That was exactly what Adventure Cycling was promising with their Bikecentennial Memorabilia Show they’d be hosting as part of their Montana Bicycle Celebration. This prompted me and my girlfriend to get on a bicycle and ride there to check it out, but that’s a whole other story that will be shared here in the near future.
I know that a lot of this stuff can be found on the internet and by viewing these photos, you the viewer are still only seeing this stuff on the internet, but hopefully the images provoke even a fraction of the immense joy I felt while being in the same room with so many people who had been a part of the Bikecentennial and all of their extremely rad stuff!