Unknown Stories of WNY: Buffalo's Bicycle Traditions

A look back at the Queen City's proud two-wheel tradition.

BUFFALO, NY -Buffalo was a boomtown in the late 1800's. It was a busy port city, producing more millionaires per capita than any other city in the nation, and always on the cutting edge of technology.

Today, as hundreds of cyclists roll through city streets in what has become a weekly tradition known as the Slow Roll, they are also part of a tradition that started as a symbol of that early prosperity. Between the horse and carriage and the horseless carriage, the Queen City became a king of the bicycle industry.
 
Jim Sandoro, founder of the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce Arrow Museum says, "The whole city moved on bicycles in the 1890's."  Many parts of the world also moved on Buffalo-made bikes. Buffalo Cycle even had a distributor in Paris.
 
The bike biz was also a gateway from two wheels to four for a pair of Buffalo's most prominent auto manufacturers, Thomas Motors and Pierce Arrow.  In fact, Pierce Arrow first rolled their wheels out of a factory that sits where thousands flock today, on Hanover Street at Canalside. Thomas is recognized as producing the first practical motorcycle in the United States.
 
Now they are both recognized as a couple big wheels taking a spin through the Unknown Stories of WNY. 

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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