Free eBook The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American LifeAuthor Margaret Guroff –

Of all the physical woes attributed to the bicycle as it became popularin the 1890 s, the one that most strained credulity was the bicycle face.Characterized by wide, wild eyes a grim set of the mouth and a migration of facial features toward the center, the disorder was saidto result from the stress of incessant balancing.A German philosopher claimed that the condition drained Every vestige of intelligencefrom the sufferer s appearance and rendered children unrecognizableto their own mothers The bicycle face hung on, too, warned a journalist Once fixed upon the countenance, it can never be removed Adapted from The Mechanical Horse How The Bicycle Reshaped American Lifeby Margaret Guroff. 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 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 Th 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 Mobile America One In Which Physical Mobility Has Opened Wider Horizons Of Thought And New Opportunities For People In All Avenues Of Life The Book Is Published By University Of Texas Press What a fresh, entertaining lens through which to view American history Days later, I m still thinking about the passage recounting the creation of time zones The author s research is exhaustive but unobtrusive, thanks to an excellent notes system, and the prose strikes a great balance between authority and charm You don t even have to be a bike fanatic to get a lot out of it, but if you know people who are, I m thinking good gift. The moment that you meet the author in the book s introduction, wheeling through Georgetown morning traffic with amused awareness of a hostile gray Porsche, you know you re in for a great ride through important highways and quirky byways of the history of the bicycle in the U.S From when Philadelphia swells who startled onlookers with their upscale push bikes draisines in 1819, through Victorian era warnings of imagined health and moral hazards for women out about on affordable pedal bikes, to the central role of bicycle technology in the Wright brothers invention of the airplane, to today s proliferation of bicycles on city streets, Ms Guroff tells a richly rewarding tale Not interested in bikes Think again this book is like an irresistible conversation with clear eyed, witty historian, whose depth and mastery of U.S social trends, technological developments and political influences converging on the bicycle are smoothly brought together in a book that the Wall Street Journal justifiably called fascinating. In clear and lively prose, Guroff charts the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise and fall, etc of the bicycle in America This boom and bust cycle pardon the expression is the through theme and perhaps the newest element to this slim but pleasing volume, which is a social history as much as a bike book Think women abandoning the corsets, the better to breathe as they enjoy the newfound, and scandalous , freedom of the bike Many of its bits the velocipede, the role of bicyclists in the development of paved roads, the invention of the MTB, have been told before, but rarely in once place Guroff zooms along like a Bianchi on a downhill stretch and she ll have you home before you break a sweat.