From the Collection of William E. Grigg
(member Wheelmen & ALPCA)
During the 1890's many organizations were formed by cycling enthusiasts. Sometimes they were formed as clubs while other times they were established for non-club purposes.
Wheelway Leagues were formed for the purpose of building and repairing wheel ways or side paths for cyclists riding pleasure. They were built next to automobile or carriage roadways, along canals or from community to community.
The paths were often made of cinders.
These organizations issued pins, buttons, badges, medals and other stamped metal licenses similar to the bicycle licenses appearing on other pages in this web site.
Wheelway Leagues were formed primarily in the East Coast states and Midwestern states.
Two examples appear above.
The Wheelway League Indianapolis above is a pin made by Whitehead & Hoag, Newark, NJ patented December 24 1896. It is celluloid on metal and measures 1¼ inches in diameter.
The Indianapolis Wheelway League was incorporated on February 29, 1896. The objective in the Articles of Incorporation state the Leagues purpose "is the constructions of a cycle path near the city".
The L.A.W Bulletin and Good Roads publication of September 18, 1896 stated:
"The most picturesque bicycle path in the United States was recently opened in Indianapolis with elaborate ceremony. Two months ago the Wheelway League of this city was incorporated for the purpose of building a bicycle path to be open to the public. It was capitalized at $10,000 and the riders of the city were asked to take stock at $5 a share."
The Wheelway League Oneida Co 1898 above is metal license type item made by C.H Hanson Chicago. It is meant to be wrapped around the front fork of the bicycle or attached in some other conspicuous location on the bicycle. Oneida County is in New York State.
From the December 10, 1897 issue of the L.A.W. Bulletin and Good Roads publication "The Oneida County Wheelway League was organized in 1895. Its purpose is to construct cinder paths. At first subscriptions were taken and a fund procured to start construction…. In 1896 it numbered five hundred members; in 1897 nearly 3,500. Each member pays fifty cents per year and ten cents for a nameplate.…Since its formation about thirty-five miles of paths in the vicinity of Utica have been made.
Other Wheelway Leagues are known to exist. One is the Wheelway League of Herkimer County New York.