Monday, March 05, 2012

Wheels of Change

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). Sue Macy. 2011. National Geographic. 96 pages.

Sometime between May and November, 1876, Colonel Albert Augustus Pope took a trip that changed American life forever. 

Wheels of Change is a great little book! It is so well-written, so informative, so engaging! So what is the book about? Well, it's about how the introduction of the bicycle into American culture/society, changed the way women saw themselves, and how others saw them too. Bicycling was fun, yes, and it was physically challenging; but it was so much more than that. At a time when everyone assumed women were weak and mindless and needed to stay that way. Well, I exaggerate slightly, perhaps. But in terms of what women could do--inside or outside the home, in terms of what women could wear, in terms of where women could go, in terms of what kind of relationships and friendships women could have, etc. Forgetting the morality of it all, there were some that believed that women should not exert themselves physically at all. That any type of exercise at all could damage a woman's body or mind. But of course, morality does come into it. What kind of woman rides a bicycle? Who does she ride with? Does she ride on a bicycle built for two? What else is going on besides bike riding in these meetings? And a woman who wears bloomers?! Well, that has to say something about her moral character, right?!

As you can guess, this one is such a great little book. Each chapter is fascinating. And this one is designed so well! It is so reader-friendly. There are so many pictures, so many photographs, so many little asides...this one just says read me, read me, read me!
  • Chapter 1: Inventing the Bicycle
  • Feature: Celebrity Cyclists
  • Chapter 2: The Devil's Advance Agent
  • Feature: Cycling Slang
  • Chapter 3: Fashion Forward
  • Feature: Cycling Songs
  • Chapter 4: Fast and Fearless
  • Feature: The Cycling Press
  • Chapter 5: New Freedoms
  • Feature: Selling with Cycles
This one was well-researched. And I'd definitely recommend it!!!

Read Wheels of Change
  • If you love nonfiction
  • If you are interested in women's history
  • If you are interested in bicycling, the history of it
  • If you are interested in American history during the Victorian period

Women's Independence
Women's Liberation and the Bicycle
Courting with a Bicycle
New Bicycle Technology

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Kailana said...

I wonder if my library has this...