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The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle…
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The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life (Discovering…

by Margaret Guroff

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A nicely done history on the advent of the bicycle up to modern times. It leans toward explaining and projecting how the bike not only changed transportation and the lives of people but led the way in so many radical innovations we now take for granted.

One such leadership role was interestingly enough in the pioneering of air flight. The Wright brothers of course come to mind and were in fact bicycle mechanics from Ohio who engineered that first airplane from ideas honed in the making of bicycles of that time.

The book wraps up with how in todays market the bicycle continues its boom and bust cycle and reinvents itself every so many years to adapt to changing trends and desires in society. Anyone who rides can see however that despite changes the core of the bicycle remains and that is maybe what makes it so appealing in the overly high tech world of ours. ( )
  knightlight777 | Dec 27, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0292743629, Hardcover)

With cities across the country adding miles of bike lanes and building bike-share stations, bicycling is enjoying a new surge of popularity in America. It seems that every generation or two, Americans rediscover the freedom of movement, convenience, and relative affordability of the bicycle. The earliest two-wheeler, the draisine, arrived in Philadelphia in 1819 and astonished onlookers with the possibility of propelling themselves "like lightning." Two centuries later, the bicycle is still the fastest way to cover ground on gridlocked city streets.

Filled with lively stories, The Mechanical Horse reveals how the bicycle transformed American life. As bicycling caught on in the nineteenth century, many of the country's rough, rutted roads were paved for the first time, laying a foundation for the interstate highway system. Cyclists were among the first to see the possibilities of self-directed, long-distance travel, and some of them (including a fellow named Henry Ford) went on to develop the automobile. Women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses—as well as their restricted gender roles—so they could ride. And doctors recognized that aerobic exercise actually benefits the body, which helped to modernize medicine. Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle's story is really the story of a more mobile America—one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 21 Feb 2016 11:48:49 -0500)

With cities across the country adding miles of bike lanes and building bike-share stations, bicycling is enjoying a new surge of popularity in America. It seems that every generation or two, Americans rediscover the freedom of movement, convenience, and relative affordability of the bicycle. The earliest two-wheeler, the draisine, arrived in Philadelphia in 1819 and astonished onlookers with the possibility of propelling themselves "like lightning." Two centuries later, the bicycle is still the fastest way to cover ground on gridlocked city streets. Filled with lively stories, The Mechanical Horse reveals how the bicycle transformed American life. As bicycling caught on in the nineteenth century, many of the country's rough, rutted roads were paved for the first time, laying a foundation for the interstate highway system. Cyclists were among the first to see the possibilities of self-directed, long-distance travel, and some of them (including a fellow named Henry Ford) went on to develop the automobile. Women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses-- as well as their restricted gender roles-- so they could ride. And doctors recognized that aerobic exercise actually benefits the body, which helped to modernize medicine. Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle's story is really the story of a more mobile America-- one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life.… (more)

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