- Hardcover: 217 pages
- Publisher: Flammarion (July 3, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 2080135511
- ISBN-13: 978-2080135513
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,378,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Bicycle Hardcover – July 3, 2001
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In documenting some of the most important developments in bicycle history, this is more than just a collection of pictures. The accompanying text is among the most detailed, carefully researched and accurate narratives ever produced and is able to meet the most rigorous criticism of professional scholarship. In addition to being well-researched it is very well-written. Instead of being a tedious recitation of facts, this book recounts the history of bicycle development for the revolution in transportation that it was and recounts the powerful effect it had on society.
Outstandingly researched from primary sources, this book can reliably be used as a source for almost any of the events it describes. In doing historical research it is one of the most carefully researched books on bicycle history ever & I came to rely on this book as one of the most informative & authoritative books I could find. This is one of the most carefully written books on bicycle history ever written.
After returning to Canada, I had the opportunity to ride the Yongjiu to work once when my regular commuter bike, an elderly Gitane ten-speed, required some major repairs. The five kilometer trip was interminable. The bicycle was awkward and ponderous. It was undergeared for load-carrying, meaning I had to spin at much too fast for comfort. But the bike was so heavy that even speed bumps took on Matterhorn dimensions. The brakes did not appear to slow what little forward progress there was, although I could hear them working. And I had to ride with my feet pointed outwards to prevent my knees from being whacked by the handlebars on every revolution of the crank. And everyone at the office who saw the Yongjiu was enchanted by it.
This fascination for old bicycles seized Pryor Dodge at an early age. His epiphany was seeing Cantinflas ride a high-wheeler in the film "Around the World in 80 Days" and the result has been many years of collecting old bicycles and related paraphernalia. And this wonderful book, which traces the development of the bicycle from Baron Karl Friedrich Drais von Sauerbronn's Laufmaschine ("Running Machine") of 1817 to the velocipede, with its cranked front wheel, to the elegant but precarious high-wheeler and, finally, the safety bicycle of 1886. The last thirty pages are devoted to the bicycle in the Age of the Automobile, but you can tell Mr. Dodge's heart is not really into relating the story of the BMX or mountain bike.
No, Pryor Dodge loves bicycles from before 1900, when an inventive madness swept the world and the bicycle took so many whimsical forms. One can savour the details of the 1884 Kangaroo geared high-wheeler, the steam-powered velocipede (!), the bamboo bicycle or the bizarre Coventry Rotary Tricycle, whose appearance defies description but which is beautifully illustrated in one of the many superb photos that grace this book. The text, which is somewhat overwhelmed by the quality of the images, is full of interesting facts, conveyed in a clear and attractive style. The photos of bicycles are supplemented by images of posters, medals, club uniforms and other amazing things.
For anyone with any feeling for bicycles (or gorgeous books), "The Bicycle," which has been published in at least three languages, is a must, and a steal at the price.
And on page 193 is a photo of people in Shanghai riding to work on their Yongjius.