Bicycle: The History

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Yale University Press, 2004 - History - 470 pages
2 Reviews

During the nineteenth century, the bicycle evoked an exciting new world in which even a poor person could travel afar and at will. But was the "mechanical horse" truly destined to usher in a new era of road travel or would it remain merely a plaything for dandies and schoolboys? In Bicycle: The History (named by Outside magazine as the #1 book on bicycles), David Herlihy recounts the saga of this far-reaching invention and the passions it aroused. The pioneer racer James Moore insisted the bicycle would become "as common as umbrellas." Mark Twain was more skeptical, enjoining his readers to "get a bicycle. You will not regret it--if you live."

Because we live in an age of cross-country bicycle racing and high-tech mountain bikes, we may overlook the decades of development and ingenuity that transformed the basic concept of human-powered transportation into a marvel of engineering. This lively and engrossing history retraces the extraordinary story of the bicycle--a history of disputed patents, brilliant inventions, and missed opportunities. Herlihy shows us why the bicycle captured the public's imagination and the myriad ways in which it reshaped our world.

 

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User Review  - rcsj - LibraryThing

This is a truly fascinating and well written history of the origin of bicycles. With the advent of the automobile its easy to ignore the great engineering triumph that the bicycle represented in the ... Read full review

Bicycle: the history

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This extraordinarily researched work is not just for those interested in the history of the bicycle but for anyone who wants to follow the international history of an idea or invention. Herlihy ... Read full review

Contents

The High Mount Prevails
159
The Pinnacle of the High Wheeler
182
Growing Safety Concerns
200
io The Rise of the Rover
225
n The Bicycle Boom
251
Legacy of the Boom
283
The Twentieth Century
309
Recreational Cycling
343
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About the author (2004)

David V. Herlihy is a historian and freelance writer. He has been interested in bicycle technology since his days as a member of the Harvard Cycling Club, and for the past decade he has researched extensively the invention and early development of the bicycle. His work has been featured on National Public Radio and Voice of America and in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and Historic Preservation. In 1999 Herlihy received the McNair History Award from the Wheelmen, the preeminent American association of antique bicycle collectors. He lives in Hull, Massachusetts.

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