Member News

Local Author Robert Turpin to Speak at Johnson City Public Library
Johnson City, TN
05/07/2019 11:36 AM
JOHNSON CITY – Johnson City Public Library will host local author and Lees-McRae professor Dr. Robert Turpin on Thursday, May 23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. He will speak in the library’s Jones Meeting Room about his book First Taste of Freedom: A Cultural History of Bicycle Marketing in the United States.

Dr. Turpin’s love of bicycles began as a child, but it was not until he began mountain biking that he came to see cycling as a serious sport. He says, “I started on a borrowed bike that was way too small, and after my first crash in the dirt I thought, ‘This is awesome! I need to get a better bike.’” He became an avid and competitive cyclist. Then, as a graduate student at University of Kentucky he focused his research on the larger cultural and historical significance of cycling.

In First Taste of Freedom, Dr. Turpin highlights the evolution of the bicycle’s image in the United States and sheds light on how American consumer patterns have been shaped over time. He says, “The book focuses on conceptions of the bicycle, using it to talk about social and cultural phenomena throughout American history.” The story of the bicycle provides a deeper understanding of national culture and the forces that influence it.

Dr. Turpin is Assistant Professor of History at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. A native of Crab Orchard, Kentucky and a graduate of the University of Kentucky, he now lives in Johnson City with his wife, two daughters, and four bicycles.

For more information on this local author talk, contact Pam Murray at or 423-434-4454. Learn about other library programs and services by visiting, calling 423-434-4450, or dropping by the library at 100 West Millard Street. Follow Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram for updates.


Pam Murray
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