How the Bicycle Reinvented Modern Britain

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From today’s perspective, it is easy to see bicycles as fairly unremarkable and every day machines. But at the end of the nineteenth-century, there was no other piece of technology which attracted the same level of excitement, discussion or controversy. 

The story of the major societal shifts which followed the invention of the modern-day ‘safety’ bicycle is one that is little-known, and with cycling’s ever increasing popularity today there has never been a better time to tell it. Penny-farthing delves into the social history of cycling in 1890s Britain, while exploring international parallels that existed with countries including the US, France and Australia. 

Drawing on a range of sources, from cycling club journals to the writings of H.G. Wells, the book illuminates the major impact which the bicycle had on the day-to-day lives of men and women across the social spectrum with millions of men and women experiencing a cheap and personalised means of transport for the first time. This was especially the case for women as it was their great emancipator from crib, kitchen and convention. Cheaply available to the working class, this dramatically increased the number of potential marriage partners in the immediate vicinity leading biologist Steve Jones to rank the bicycle as the most important event in recent human evolution. 

From cycling as a source of fashion and socialising in sporting clubs, to travel around the British countryside, to its importance for widening the gene pool in remote rural areas and its significance in the women’s liberation movement, the bicycle is a marvel of modern technology that transformed Britain and the world.

***Praise for REVOLUTION***

'Superb.’ The Herald 

'Tells a wonderful tale from the Victorian invention through to modern Britain... impressive to make such a complicated history so concise and accessible to a wide readership.’ Mark Ian Macleod Beaumont, record-breaking long-distance British cyclist and author of the bestselling The Man who Cycled the World

'Well written, researched, and balanced, Revolution carefully documents early cycling and gives us a window into a world that's influenced every one of us who cycles today.’ Dave Barter, author of Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder

'Fascinating... an impressive, compelling social history of the bicycle... probably the definitive work available on the subject.’ Richard Peploe, Road.CC

'Extremely well-researched... a must-read for anyone interested in the history and development of the bicycle.’ Anna Hughes, author of Eat, Sleep, Cycle and Pedal Power

'A heart-warming, often humorous depiction of the development of the bicycle and its role in nurturing human relationships sporting, social, professional and romantic... touches the lives of cycling enthusiasts through the ages.’ Maria Leijerstam, first person to cycle to the South Pole and author of Cycling to the South Pole: A World First

'Manners takes us on a wild ride through cycling history in this richly researched, intelligent and beautifully written book.’ Dr Sheila Hanlon, Cycling UK

'One of the great things about Revolution is how William Manners shines a light on the fact that not only does the bicycle have the potential to change the world, it has actually been doing so since its earliest beginnings. A great read.’ Prof. Simon Jobson, Professor of Sport & Exercise Physiology, and co-author of Ultra-Distance Cycling: An Expert Guide to Endurance Cycling

Šport a outdoorové aktivity
14. júna
Duckworth Books

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