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One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility (Sporting) Paperback – March 28, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I love One Less Car for its depth of field. Furness weaves together the myriad sociological, artistic, political and ethical impacts of the bicycle in a scholarly 300-page treatise."
-Jacquie Phelan, Mountain biking pioneer, three-time national champion, and founder of the Women's Mountain Bike & Tea Society (WOMBATS)

"[I]mpressive in its scope and detail.... One Less Car offer[s] insights into an aspect of U.S. cycling that, until recently, has been overlooked." 
-Transfers: Journal of Interdisciplinary Mobility Studies

"Furness has produced a remarkable book. It is at once a history of bicycling in (mostly) the US; a cultural analysis of the bicycle, the car, and auto-mobility; and a solid piece of advocacy for bicycle-friendly policies. This solidly researched book covers a remarkable amount of territory....Highly Recommended."

"[Furness] puts forward an intelligent (and clearly impassioned) picture of a safer, saner, and sounder approach to mobility in the form of the bicycle...[T]his book brings our attention to an understudied and significant arena in the understanding of mobility...a valuable and delightful read." 
-Contemporary Sociology

"Furness offers a firm and thoroughgoing political critique of assumptions and practices inherent in much cycling work that is often missing from other analyses.
-Technology and Culture

"One Less Car is a serious update and expansion of the social and political history of bicycling. I would own this book for the notes and bibliography alone." 
Robert Hurst, author of The Cyclist's Manifesto and The Art of Cycling

Book Description

Although millions of people in the United States love to ride bicycles for exercise or leisure, statistics show that only 1% of the total U.S. population ride bicycles for transportation—and barely half as many use bikes to commute to work.  In his original and exciting book, One Less Car, Zack Furness examines what it means historically, culturally, socioeconomically, and politically to be a bicycle transportation advocate/activist.


Presenting an underground subculture of bike enthusiasts who aggressively resist car culture, Furness maps out the cultural trajectories between mobility, technology, urban space and everyday life. He connects bicycling to radical politics, public demonstrations, alternative media production (e.g., ‘zines), as well as to the development of community programs throughout the world.


One Less Car also positions the bicycle as an object with which to analyze and critique some of the dominant cultural and political formations in the U.S.—and even breaks down barriers of race, class and gender privilege that are interconnected to mobility. For Furness, bicycles not only liberate people from technology, they also support social and environmental justice. So, he asks, Why aren’t more Americans adopting them for their transportation needs?