From Publishers Weekly
In a time of climate change and car-worship, bicycle riding has become a political statement and a policy issue, with its own grassroots movement working "to seize at least a part of the street back from motorists." After a dry but brief history of the bicycle and its political significance (Susan B. Anthony said bicycles have "done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world"), Mapes reports from the world capitals of bicycle culture. Mapes explores Amsterdam, marveling at the ease with which cyclists, motorists and pedestrians share the road. In San Francisco and New York City, he finds cycling groups at their most hip and radical, and joins them on a "Critical Mass" protest, in which cyclists take to the streets en masse to block traffic and take over rush hour streets; they've caused siginificant headaches for the NYPD, especially during the 2004 National Republican Convention. Focusing largely on the cyclists themselves, Mapes puts a passionate and pragmatic face to the "new urban bike movement" while connecting the dots between cycling culture and a host of quality of life issues.
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In a world of increasing traffic congestion, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on city streets. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities explores the growing bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities, suburbs, and small towns across North America.
From traffic-dodging bike messengers to tattooed teenagers on battered bikes, from riders in spandex to well-dressed executives, ordinary citizens are becoming transportation revolutionaries. Jeff Mapes traces the growth of bicycle advocacy and explores the environmental, safety, and health aspects of bicycling. He rides with bicycle advocates who are taming the streets of New York City, joins the street circus that is Critical Mass in San Francisco, and gets inspired by the everyday folk pedaling in Amsterdam, the nirvana of American bike activists. Chapters focused on big cities, college towns, and America’s most successful bike city, Portland, show how cyclists, with the encouragement of local officials, are claiming a share of the valuable streetscape.