Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) Sue Macy
This is a very interesting book because it’s not just a look at bicycle history and how bicycle-mad America was in the late 19th century, but an in-depth look at how the bicycle helped the cause of women’s rights.
The bicycle allowed women greater freedom of movement and an acceptable way to exercise. In order to take part in its popularity, dress had to change and become less restrictive-- good by corsets, hello bloomers! (Did you know that the reason girl bikes don’t have that top bar is to make room for the heavy skirts worn at the time?) I also loved how women’s groups and farmers worked together to call for greater paving of roads-- and how the bicycle helped phase out horses in the years leading up to the automobile.
The design is wonderful-- frequent pull out boxes/side bars show different ways bikes were seen in pop culture-- one’s on racing, one on songs about biking (including, of course “Daisy Bell” aka “Bicycle Built for Two”) , one on bicycles used in advertising, etc, etc.
Lots of primary sources including frequent newspaper articles from around the country and big photographs. I especially loved that not all the photographs were of white riders-- there are a few of African-American women riding their bikes, too.
A refreshing quirky history that was very enjoyable to read.
OH! And a personal surprise-- the forward was written by Leah Missbach Day, the founder of World Bicycle Relief and MY OLD CAMP COUNSELOR. What?!
Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is over at Playing By the Book.
Book Provided by... my local library
Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.