The Wright brothers lived here most of their lives (Orville was born here) and owned a local cycle shop, which still stands in town. They designed and built their aircraft here.
In an interesting crossover between cycling tidbits is that the Wright brothers did alot of work/testing at Huffman Prairie Flying Field. The Huffman family later founded Huffy corp.
Huffy Corp, founded in Dayton may now be best known worldwide for cheap, department store bikes. While this is true, it's a relatively recent "problem" (past 20 years or so). Huffy used to be a mass manufacturer of some renown, and sponsored bikes ridden professionally in major worldwide events (including Le Tour). While I have no love for current Huffy bikes, I bear in mind that mass-market manufacturers like Trek and Giant are only a few bad marketing decisions from the same fate.
Here in Dayton, we look at Huffy and the Huffman family in a different light than simply cheep bikes. Huffmans were instrumental in key development areas of the community, (http://www.huffman.org/default.htm
). From a cyclists point of view, the most important contributions were the groundwork and development of one of the largest networks of bicycle paths, currently 216 miles with many more in development right now! (http://www.bikemiamivalley.org/home.htm
). The bridge shown in the picture above is part of this network and is located just north of Dayton in Triangle Park.
Huffy and the Huffman family were also advocates of bicycles as transportation, and helped start several local advocacy groups like Bike Miami Vally and the Dayton Cycling club (http://www.daytoncyclingclub.org
). Thanks to the efforts of these groups, the Huffmans original work is carried on today and manifests itself in forms like cooperation of local transit authorities, awareness days, and professional cycling events (Dayton Pro-Am is one, a stop on the Saturn uspro tour. Sadly, I saw Nicole Reinhart race here just a few short weeks before her tragic death during a race in Pensylvania in 2000.)
The Bicycle Museum of America is located localy in New Bremen. The Dicke Family, owners of Crown Equipment Co, bought the Schwinn bicycle collection at auction in Chicago and moved them to New Bremen, Ohio. The museum features around 200 bicycles and associated accessories dating from 1816 to the present. http://www.bicyclemuseum.com
Dayton has several of the League of American Bicyclists "bicycle friendly communities" including Yellow Springs Vandalia, and Xenia (the most bicycle friendly community in the midwest).
Dayton is also home to the first mountan-bike mounted police patrol, and one of the founding members of the International Police Mountain Bike Association, Officer Allan Howard. Police Daepartments would send their prospective bike patrols to Dayton for bike-specific training before the IPMBA started training in 1993. Back about 15 years ago, if you wanted to buy a mountain bike, you checked with the nearest bike cop downtown to see what was good and what was crap before even setting foot in a shop. At the time, DPD was testing tons of bikes from many manufacturers, and were happy to give pointers to anyone who asked. As cyclists and commuters, we have a pretty good relationship with the local PD. Chances are good you'll never get a ticket on a bike unless you're doing something realy boneheaded that would endanger others.
I kind of like it here. Only thing that's not cycling-friendly is the weather!