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Book: Wheels of Change

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Another while since I’ve posted. I guess I was quite busy with bikes (riding and fixing them) plus I’ve been announced the death of Vic Mroszczak who was a friend and what a great man. It’s also been raining quite a bit lately which means more time to read. I’ve read lots of books but they were not interesting enough to post about. “Wheels of Change” I had read before but I have to admit that my reading was limited to the pictures. This time I read it all and loved it.

This book is by Sue Macy and published by the National Geographic. Macy also wrote Bull’s Eye and Bylines. I took a peak at Bull’s Eye and it was a nice book. So what is “Weels of Change: How Woman Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a few Flat Tires Along the Way)” about? This book is not very long (96 pages) and filled with beautiful pictures and the design is awesome. It’s easy to read and eye catching. Like most historical book it as a portion about how the bicycle was invented but it’s focused on the bicycle for the woman. You can see how the machines were made so the woman rode side saddle way to accommodate the skirts. I can’t believe how woman made it with those cumbersome lengths of fabric that could weight up to 25 pounds and those corset the cut you in half. There’s also a quick portion about bicycle related inventions by woman in the 1890’s which is basically when the high wheeler was in service. There’s a page on Alice Austen a woman photographer and avid cyclist. It mention celebrity cyclist such as Katharine Wright (the Wright brothers sister), Marie Curie and Annie Oakley.  There’s a nice part about bicycle fashion for woman and how the bloomers were created thanks to Amelia Bloomer. Believe it or not there was song written about woman cyclists like “The Bicycle Girl” by Nettie M. Wagner and j. Carroll Chandler. I liked the portion about woman racing bikes. Not just the safety one but the high wheelers. One of the known figures were Elsa von Blumen and Louise Armaindo. The later was a french Canadian so I saw my heritage in her. Then some woman like Annie Kopchovsky took the chalenge to go around the world by bicycle with no money on them and come back with at least 5000$. I was happy to read that back in the late 1800’s there was ladies cycling publications done like the “Bearings”. I love the name!

That resumes the book pretty well. Two thumbs up for that book that I can’t bring back to the library because I keep going back to re-read information. Captivating!


Book Cover


A peak of inside the book. Note the design.


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