Cycling History, Brought to You by Big Tobacco

Thanks cigarettes!

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Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library.

You can learn a lot from a cigarette pack. The percentage of smokers who die from lung cancer each year, the number of chemicals stuffed into a single smoke, and, apparently, the history of biking.

Back in the day, when smoking was still acceptable enough to market freely, cigarette packs contained trading cards to collect and share amongst friends. This was also during the days of American Bicycle Boom, and companies like Player’s and Odgen’s Cigarettes distributed cigarette trading cards aimed at encouraging cycling, and offering cycling safety tips to riders. The New York Public Library recently released a digital archive of these fascinating relics. We certainly don’t encourage you to take up smoking, but we are thankful for this pretty intriguing look back into the history of cycling.

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