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University of Iowa News Release

July 20, 2004

'Velocipedomania' Hits UI Libraries

As thousands of bicyclists pedal the state for RAGBRAI and the Tour de France enters its final week, the University of Iowa Libraries celebrates bicycling with the opening of the latest exhibition "Velocipedomania: The Origin and Evolution of the Bicycle" in the North Exhibit Hall of the Main Library.

"Iowa City is a bicycling town and with everyone gearing up for RAGBRAI, we wanted to share the Libraries' collection of cycling materials," says Brenda Conry, UI library assistant and longtime Bicyclists of Iowa City (BIC) club member.

The exhibition chronicles bicyclists and the bicycle from late 18th century innovators to the present-day Tour de France competitors. Reproductions of dramatic vintage bicycling posters highlight cycling around the world, and a variety of RAGBRAI paraphernalia rounds out the exhibition. Besides materials drawn from the UI Libraries collection, the exhibit also showcases bicycling artifacts provided by World of Bikes.

Another unique piece in the exhibit is the unicycle donated by UI librarian and unicyclist, Duncan Stewart. "I started riding a unicycle in junior high with my friends," says Stewart. "And today I commute to work on it."

While supplies last, safe cycling brochures, bookmarks and magnets from the Iowa Department of Transportation will be available. Bicyclists are also encouraged to contact the Iowa DOT for a free copy of the Iowa Transportation Maps for Bicyclists; check online at or call 515-239-1713. This statewide map shows hundreds of miles of bike trails that pass through woodlands, prairies and parks -- all highlighting the beauty of Iowa's landscapes. In addition to the off-road trails, traffic levels are indicated on all paved roadways so bicyclists can choose the road routes that match their levels of riding experience.

The exhibit, held through November in the Main Library's North Hall, will be open during regular library hours. Admission is free.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,