I recently purchased a Souvenir of Detroit booklet which contains “a sketch of Detroit’s History, Resources and Points of Interest to Visitors.”
It was written in 1891 during the golden age of bicycling. Sure enough, the booklet contained this text on the city’s cycling scene:
The Detroit Wheelmen are the outgrowth of the two Bicycle Clubs, the Detroit and the Star. These, after several meetings, united in the spring of 1890, everything seeming favorable for re-organization. Wheeling up to this time, owning to many reasons, had been indulged in by but the few, and was looked upon as a pastime. Since that time the club has grown in membership, and among its members may be found many of the brightest and most energetic young men in the city.
The Club House, 64 Washington Ave., is cosy and comfortable, where any visiting wheelman finds a welcome. The twelfth annual meet of the League of American Wheelmen fell in good hands, and was the largest and most successful in the League’s history, and stamps Detroit as an important cycling center, around which the rider will find many delightful tours.
The booklet also highlighted Detroit’s early parks, including Belle Isle and Clark, and concludes that “the city is wonderously well provided with lungs.”
And while describing Belle Isle, it notes its “perfect roadbeds furnish facilities for wheelsmen and their ‘bikes’ not excelled anywhere.” It’s not clear why “bikes” is in quotes unless that was a newer term in 1891.