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Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle

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A panoramic revisionist portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming the twenty-first century world. The bicycle is a vestige of the Victorian era, seemingly out of pace with our age of smartphones and ridesharing apps and driverless cars. Yet we live on a bicycle planet. Across the world, more people travel by bicycle than by any other form of tran A panoramic revisionist portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming the twenty-first century world. The bicycle is a vestige of the Victorian era, seemingly out of pace with our age of smartphones and ridesharing apps and driverless cars. Yet we live on a bicycle planet. Across the world, more people travel by bicycle than by any other form of transportation. Almost anyone can learn to ride a bike--and nearly everyone does. In Two Wheels Good, writer and critic Jody Rosen reshapes our understanding of this ubiquitous machine, an ever-present force in humanity's life and dreamlife--and a flashpoint in culture wars--for more for than two hundred years. Combining history, reportage, travelogue, and memoir, Rosen sweeps across centuries and around the globe, unfolding the bicycle's saga from its invention in 1817 to its present-day renaissance as a "green machine," an emblem of sustainability in a world afflicted by pandemic and climate change. Readers meet unforgettable characters: feminist rebels who steered bikes to the barricades in the 1890s, a prospector who pedaled across the frozen Yukon to join the Klondike gold rush, a Bhutanese king who races mountain bikes in the Himalayas, a cycle rickshaw driver who navigates the seething streets of the world's fastest-growing megacity, astronauts who ride a floating bicycle in zero gravity aboard the International Space Station. Two Wheels Good examines the bicycle's past and peers into its future, challenging myths and clich�s, while uncovering cycling's connection to colonial conquest and the gentrification of cities. But the book is also a love letter: a reflection on the sensual and spiritual pleasures of bike riding and an ode to an engineering marvel--a wondrous vehicle whose passenger is also its engine.


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A panoramic revisionist portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming the twenty-first century world. The bicycle is a vestige of the Victorian era, seemingly out of pace with our age of smartphones and ridesharing apps and driverless cars. Yet we live on a bicycle planet. Across the world, more people travel by bicycle than by any other form of tran A panoramic revisionist portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming the twenty-first century world. The bicycle is a vestige of the Victorian era, seemingly out of pace with our age of smartphones and ridesharing apps and driverless cars. Yet we live on a bicycle planet. Across the world, more people travel by bicycle than by any other form of transportation. Almost anyone can learn to ride a bike--and nearly everyone does. In Two Wheels Good, writer and critic Jody Rosen reshapes our understanding of this ubiquitous machine, an ever-present force in humanity's life and dreamlife--and a flashpoint in culture wars--for more for than two hundred years. Combining history, reportage, travelogue, and memoir, Rosen sweeps across centuries and around the globe, unfolding the bicycle's saga from its invention in 1817 to its present-day renaissance as a "green machine," an emblem of sustainability in a world afflicted by pandemic and climate change. Readers meet unforgettable characters: feminist rebels who steered bikes to the barricades in the 1890s, a prospector who pedaled across the frozen Yukon to join the Klondike gold rush, a Bhutanese king who races mountain bikes in the Himalayas, a cycle rickshaw driver who navigates the seething streets of the world's fastest-growing megacity, astronauts who ride a floating bicycle in zero gravity aboard the International Space Station. Two Wheels Good examines the bicycle's past and peers into its future, challenging myths and clich�s, while uncovering cycling's connection to colonial conquest and the gentrification of cities. But the book is also a love letter: a reflection on the sensual and spiritual pleasures of bike riding and an ode to an engineering marvel--a wondrous vehicle whose passenger is also its engine.

40 review for Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle

  1. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Bradford Morrill III

    “Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle,” by Jody Rosen (ISBN: 9780804141499), publication date: 24 May 2022, earns four stars. This book is quite the ride, guiding the reader through two centuries of the bicycle’s evolution—from its earliest days of a walking machine to the velocipede and on to the most modern range of bicycle types and derivatives today. Along the way, we traverse two centuries of history, visit a plethora of countries, and learn about the continually evolving “Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle,” by Jody Rosen (ISBN: 9780804141499), publication date: 24 May 2022, earns four stars. This book is quite the ride, guiding the reader through two centuries of the bicycle’s evolution—from its earliest days of a walking machine to the velocipede and on to the most modern range of bicycle types and derivatives today. Along the way, we traverse two centuries of history, visit a plethora of countries, and learn about the continually evolving uses for the bicycle and its derivatives. In our reading, we also learn the bicycle is far more than a mere conveyance. It is an object of prejudice, an expression of brilliance and unending renewal, a form of freedom, of exploration, a political statement, an instrument of war, a symbol of peace, and a hope for a greener future. The history of the bicycle is a personal account as well, filled with the anecdotes of various cyclists, the author included, from the youngest child to the oldest adult, from the most common man to a King. In the process, we find bicycles inside the Titanic deep in the Atlantic Ocean or floating inside the International Space Station. Whatever you thought you knew about the bicycle, once you finish reading this labor of love, you will realize how little you know and how great the impact of the bicycle is throughout the world. It is a compelling history. Thanks to the publisher, Crown Publishing, for granting this reviewer the opportunity to read this Advance Reader Copy (ARC), and thanks to NetGalley for helping to make that possible.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Interesting non fiction book : testimonies about love of bicycle from known and unknown users. First part about the history of bicycle starting XIX century until today is surprising. I was able to discover this book thanks to Goodreads Giveaways. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Megan Brotemarkle

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ernestine Allen

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christine Hensley

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leora Ayers

  7. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  8. 5 out of 5

    Random House Book Club

  9. 5 out of 5

    coffeegirlhere

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Engle

  12. 5 out of 5

    James Harrison

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mindy Jones

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael Bogin

  15. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Jonik

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josh Hedgepeth

  20. 5 out of 5

    Valentina Farray

  21. 5 out of 5

    R

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rainmelon

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Adams

  25. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Hughes

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sunnymay

  28. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  31. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Phung

  32. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  33. 4 out of 5

    Edward

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer MacMaster

  35. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  36. 5 out of 5

    Christa Colangelo

  37. 4 out of 5

    Alandrea

  38. 4 out of 5

    Sue aka Pooh Bear

  39. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  40. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

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