Monday, November 14, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Wheels of Change

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

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Leah Missbach Day said...

Jennie, How are you and yours?

You were the entire impetus to begin the series; Burt Lodge. As you are so aware, the photography is about identities you and fellow H.S. age campers were trying on at such a critical time to do so in such a safe place.

Thank you kindly for the mention. I love our work with World Bicycle Relief and will explore yours top to bottom. If this blog allowed me to send an image I'd send your pinnacle photo pronto. How else can I contact you?

I can be reached at:

Sent with love, Leah

Ms. Yingling said...

I loved this one, and it has gotten checked out a lot at my library. I think about it, too, when I don't want to ride to work in the rain--I try to be grateful that I can!