Bicycle

The History

By David V. Herlihy
(Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300104189, 480pp.)

Publication Date: November 2004

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Description

In the twenty-first century we have all experienced new technologies that promise to change our lives. During the nineteenth century, the bicycle evoked an exciting new world in which even a poor person could travel afar and at will. But was the “mechanical horse” truly destined to usher in a new era of road travel or would it remain merely a plaything for dandies and schoolboys?

In this, the definitive history of the bicycle, David Herlihy recounts the saga of this far-reaching invention and the passions it aroused. The pioneer racer James Moore insisted the bicycle would become “as common as umbrellas.” Mark Twain was more skeptical, enjoining his readers to “get a bicycle. You will not regret it—if you live.”

Because we live in an age of cross-country bicycle racing and high-tech mountain bikes, we may overlook the decades of development and ingenuity that transformed the basic concept of human-powered transportation into a marvel of engineering. This lively and engrossing history retraces the extraordinary story of the bicycle—a history of disputed patents, brilliant inventions, and missed opportunities. Herlihy shows us why the bicycle captured the public’s imagination and the myriad ways in which it reshaped our world.




About the Author

David V. Herlihy is a historian and freelance writer. He has been interested in bicycle technology since his days as a member of the Harvard Cycling Club, and for the past decade he has researched extensively the invention and early development of the bicycle. His work has been featured on National Public Radio and Voice of America and in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and Historic Preservation. In 1999 Herlihy received the McNair History Award from the Wheelmen, the preeminent American association of antique bicycle collectors. He lives in Hull, Massachusetts.




Praise For Bicycle

"David Herlihy is a widely recognized expert on the history of the bicycle, and this book offers the most comprehensive account to date of the bicycle and its development from a novelty for the elite to transportation for the masses. Frequently wry and always intelligent, Herlihy takes us on a marvelous tour of the bicycle's fascinating history."— Peter Joffre Nye, U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame and co-author of The Lance Armstrong Performance Program


"Bicycle is a fascinating book. David Herlihy is a true historian, and he has uncovered a stunning amount of new material about the history of the bicycle—at times it reads like a detective story."— David Gordon Wilson, professor, MIT and co-author, Bicycling Science, and Human-Powered Vehicles


"Bicycle is a fascinating book. David Herlihy is a true historian, and he has uncovered a stunning amount of new material about the history of the bicycle—at times it reads like a detective story."—David Gordon Wilson, professor, MIT and co-author, Bicycling Science, and Human-Powered Vehicles

-David Gordon Wilson

"If you could only own one book on bicycle history, Bicycle is it. David''s account is not only thorough and accurate, but offers a great read to both the aficionado and those new to the bicycle world. A great addition to anyone''s library."—Jill DiMauro, Owner Proteus Bicycles, "Bicycles through the Ages" hands on mobile bicycle exhibit

-Jill DiMauro

"The bicycle''s history is rife with confusion and myth, so it''s wonderful to have David Herlihy''s thoroughly researched and delightfully written account to set the record of this remarkable and important invention straight."—Jim Langley, Cycling Writer

-Jim Langley

"Profusely and charmingly illustrated."—Richard Eder, Boston Sunday Globe 








-Richard Eder

"An instant classic."—Simon Withers, Cycling Plus


-Simon Withers

“There are many, many illustrations in this book—on average one per page, it seems—and almost all of them engaging in themselves. Mr. Herlihy’s prose style is pleasant and easy to read. . . . An immensely interesting book.”—Henry Petroski, New York Sun

-Henry Petroski

“A copiously illustrated history of one of the most efficient and utilitarian machines of all time—perfect for any serious cyclist.”—Seattle Times


"Fun and informative."—Baltimore Sun 

"A definitive look at the bicycle."—Craig Wilson, USA Today


-Craig Wilson

Bicycle is the preeminent research document concerning the invention and early development of the bicycle, but most interesting is its analysis of the bicycle’s role within societal development.”—Velo News

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