Think bicycles are a new trend in Minneapolis? Think again. In 1887, Frederick Roach opened his bicycle sales and repair store at 5th & Hennepin across from the West Hotel. Business was soon booming, and by 1896, the possible date of this photograph, Roach was firmly established a local leader in the burgeoning bicycle community. The Minneapolis Journal profiled Roach in 1904, noting, “Mr. Roach is firm in his belief that the wheel is to be not only serviceable but very popular for years to come.” In 1903 Minneapolis sold 30,000 bicycle tags and employed a full-time bicycle inspector to enforce bicycling regulations. Bicycling has ebbed and flowed in popularity over the past century, but Mr. Roach’s vision has proven true.
Photograph from the collection of the Hennepin History Museum. Learn more about the museum and its offerings at hennepinhistory.org or 870-1329.