The cycling city : bicycles and urban America in the 1890s

Friss, Evan author

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  • Creator Evan Friss
  • Format Books
  • Publication Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2015. ©2015
  • Series
  • Physical Details
    • x, 267 pages ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9780226210919, 022621091X, 9780226211077
  • OCLC ocn904756000


  • As Evan Friss shows in his mordant history of urban bicycling in the late nineteenth century, the bicycle has long told us much about cities and their residents. In a time when American cities were chaotic, polluted, and socially and culturally impenetrable, the bicycle inspired a vision of an improved city in which pollution was negligible, transport was noiseless and rapid, leisure spaces were democratic, and the divisions between city and country blurred. Friss focuses not on the technology of the bicycle but on the urbanisms that bicycling engendered. Bicycles altered the look and feel of cities and their streets, enhanced mobility, fueled leisure and recreation, promoted good health, and shrank urban spaces as part of a larger transformation that altered the city and the lives of its inhabitants, even as the bicycle's own popularity fell, not to rise again for a century. --Publisher's description.


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • Introduction -- The rise of the cycling city -- The cyclists -- Rules of the road -- Good roads -- The bicycle paths (not) taken -- Riding for recreation and health -- Riding for utility: the commuters -- Riding for reform: wheelwomen -- The crash -- Epilogue
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