Last month the local RI paper, The Providence Journal, recommended a book: Wheels of Change, by Sue Macy. It was written as a book for young adults, but the paper said adult cycling enthusiasts would enjoy it as well. The understatement of a decade.
I borrowed this book from the library and found it totally fascinating. The book focuses on how the first bicycles gave freedom to women in the late 1800s. It describes “lady bicyclists”, women who rode for fun, for sport or for competition.
In spite of describing how much the bicycle did for women, most readers will be amazed at the history of cycling. Although I consider myself an avid cyclist, I am clueless about the history of bicycles. I had no idea how much press they received in the late 19th century. Newspapers printed daily articles about them, and companies manufacturing any type of product would feature people riding their bikes (or “ordinaries” or “safeties”), even if the product had nothing to do with bicycles. Apparently, the cycling world took America by storm.
Fast forward to today: the book recommends two places to visit: Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio, and Metz Bicycle Museum in Freehold, New Jersey. Cool.
If you enjoy reading anything and everything about cycling, read this book. Now that I’ve read this library book, I cannot wait to buy one for myself. It’s a keeper.