Wheel Fever

Author: Jesse J. Gant
Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
ISBN: 0870206141
Format: PDF, Kindle
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On rails-to-trails bike paths, city streets, and winding country roads, the bicycle seems ubiquitous in the Badger State. Yet there’s a complex and fascinating history behind the popularity of biking in Wisconsin—one that until now has never been told. Meticulously researched through periodicals and newspapers, Wheel Fever traces the story of Wisconsin’s first “bicycling boom,” from the velocipede craze of 1869 through the “wheel fever” of the 1890s. It was during this crucial period that the sport Wisconsinites know and adore first took shape. From the start it has been defined by a rich and often impassioned debate over who should be allowed to ride, where they could ride, and even what they could wear. Many early riders embraced the bicycle as a solution to the age-old problem of how to get from here to there in the quickest and easiest way possible. Yet for every supporter of the “poor man’s horse,” there were others who wanted to keep the rights and privileges of riding to an elite set. Women, the working class, and people of color were often left behind as middle- and upper-class white men benefitted from the “masculine” sport and all-male clubs and racing events began to shape the scene. Even as bikes became more affordable and accessible, a culture defined by inequality helped create bicycling in its own image, and these limitations continue to haunt the sport today. Wheel Fever is about the origins of bicycling in Wisconsin and why those origins still matter, but it is also about our continuing fascination with all things bicycle. From “boneshakers” to high-wheels, standard models to racing bikes, tandems to tricycles, the book is lushly illustrated with never-before-seen images of early cycling, and the people who rode them: bloomer girls, bicycle jockeys, young urbanites, and unionized workers. Laying the foundations for a much-beloved recreation, Wheel Fever challenges us to imagine anew the democratic possibilities that animated cycling’s early debates.

The Cycling City

Author: Evan Friss
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022621091X
Format: PDF
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As Evan Friss shows in his mordant history of urban bicycling in the late nineteenth century, the bicycle has long told us much about cities and their residents. In a time when American cities were chaotic, polluted, and socially and culturally impenetrable, the bicycle inspired a vision of an improved city in which pollution was negligible, transport was noiseless and rapid, leisure spaces were democratic, and the divisions between city and country blurred. Friss focuses not on the technology of the bicycle but on the urbanisms that bicycling engendered. Bicycles altered the look and feel of cities and their streets, enhanced mobility, fueled leisure and recreation, promoted good health, and shrank urban spaces as part of a larger transformation that altered the city and the lives of its inhabitants, even as the bicycle's own popularity fell, not to rise again for a century.

Bike Battles

Author: James Longhurst
Publisher: University of Washington Press
ISBN: 0295805994
Format: PDF
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Americans have been riding bikes for more than a century now. So why are most American cities still so ill-prepared to handle cyclists? James Longhurst, a historian and avid cyclist, tackles that question by tracing the contentious debates between American bike riders, motorists, and pedestrians over the shared road. Bike Battles explores the different ways that Americans have thought about the bicycle through popular songs, merit badge pamphlets, advertising, films, newspapers and sitcoms. Those associations shaped the actions of government and the courts when they intervened in bike policy through lawsuits, traffic control, road building, taxation, rationing, import tariffs, safety education and bike lanes from the 1870s to the 1970s. Today, cycling in American urban centers remains a challenge as city planners, political pundits, and residents continue to argue over bike lanes, bike-share programs, law enforcement, sustainability, and public safety. Combining fascinating new research from a wide range of sources with a true passion for the topic, Longhurst shows us that these battles are nothing new; in fact they�re simply a continuation of the original battle over who is - and isn�t - welcome on our roads. Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNleJ0tDvqg

The Two Wheeled World of George B Thayer

Author: Kevin J. Hayes
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 080325525X
Format: PDF, ePub
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Cyclotourism has recently risen to prominence with growing national media coverage and thousands of participants taking to America’s roadways on two wheels and under their own pedal power. But the concept is not new. More than a century ago, George B. Thayer took his own first “century,” or one-hundred-mile bicycle ride. The Two-Wheeled World of George B. Thayer brings to life the experience of late nineteenth-century cycling through the heartfelt story of this important cycling pioneer. In 1886, just two years after his first century, Thayer rode his high wheeler across the United States, traveling from his home in Connecticut to California and back. Thayer took an indirect route without any intent to set speed records, but his trip was full of adventure nonetheless. Thayer loved going downhill, his legs over the handlebars, risking life and limb atop the large wheel on often rough and muddy roads. With aplomb and humor, he dealt with the countless other hazards he encountered, including dogs, mule teams, and wild hogs. Even bad weather and poor sleeping conditions could not keep Thayer down. After his epic tour across the United States, Thayer had the urge to cycle abroad and eventually toured England, Germany, Belgium, and Canada on his bike. His later travels were in part aided by his hometown of Hartford, Connecticut, which was the epicenter of American bicycle manufacturing in the late 1890s. In addition to telling Thayer’s cycling story, Kevin J. Hayes brings to life the culture of cycling and its rise at the end of the nineteenth century, when bikes became more affordable and the nation’s riding craze took off.