Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle (Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Sports Book Awards 2023) (Hardback)
  • Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle (Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Sports Book Awards 2023) (Hardback)
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Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle (Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Sports Book Awards 2023) (Hardback)

(author)
£25.00
Hardback 416 Pages
Published: 04/08/2022
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Waterstones Says

Combining history, reportage, travelogue, and memoir, this deeply researched and wide-ranging exploration of the past and future of the bicycle is as revelatory as it is entertaining.

A panoramic revisionist portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming the twenty-first-century world.

The bicycle is a vestige of the Victorian era, seemingly out of pace with our age of smartphones and ridesharing apps and driverless cars. Yet across the world, more people travel by bicycle than by any other form of transportation. Almost anyone can learn to ride a bike - and nearly everyone does.

In Two Wheels Good, writer and critic Jody Rosen reshapes our understanding of this ubiquitous machine, an ever-present force in humanity's life and dreamlife, and a flashpoint in culture wars for more for than two hundred years. Combining history, reportage, travelogue, and memoir, Rosen unfolds the bicycle's saga from its invention in 1817 to its present-day renaissance as a 'green machine' in a world afflicted by pandemic and climate change.

Readers meet unforgettable characters: feminist rebels who steered bikes to the barricades in the 1890s, a Bhutanese king who races mountain bikes in the Himalayas, astronauts who ride a floating bicycle in zero gravity aboard the International Space Station.

Two Wheels Good examines the bicycle's past and peers into its future, challenging myths and cliches, while uncovering cycling's connection to colonial conquest and the gentrification of cities. But the book is also a love letter: a reflection on the sensual and spiritual pleasures of bike riding and an ode to an engineering marvel - a wondrous vehicle whose passenger is also its engine.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781847923073
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 626 g
Dimensions: 242 x 163 x 37 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

When I fell in love with riding a bike in New York City last year, what I found myself craving was a history-of the bicycle... that whoever wrote this history would find a way to make it personal and ruminative... Lo and behold: Jody Rosen has written that very book. My wish has come true and a door's been blown open. I got more than I knew I wanted - New York TImes

Two Wheels Good is full of interesting moments...and is often written with real verve... his [Rosen's] enthusiasm for what is sometimes described as mankind's "noblest invention" is infectious - Times Literary Supplement

The engaging tone of Rosen's memoir-travelogue-history is the grim cheerfulness of the urban cyclist. He gives a vivid sense of the cinematic pleasures of cycling through a city. - Spectator

A jovial historical narrative ... Rosen rightly get us to expand our narrow Western image of the bicycle to a global perspective [and] is skilled yet selective in navigating the complex and rich history of the bicycle, taking us across continents and through centuries ... a thoroughly enjoyable, and sometimes surprising read - Cycle

The bicycle has been loved and loathed... Rosen's vibrant history explores it all - BBC History Magazine

Comprehensive . . . [Two Wheels Good] often feels like a leisurely ride, full of spontaneous detours into unexpected delight. But what makes the book essential is its rigorous reporting - The Atlantic

The best thing I've ever read on a single subject... With curiosity, conscientiousness, and an exquisitely light touch, [Joden] makes a convincing case that the story of the bike is the story of modern life - Lauren Collins, author of When in French

Wide-ranging and inquisitive, Two Wheels Good is like an entire library of books on the bicycle - Lucy Sante, author of Low Life

Takes us on a ride-across the centuries and around the globe, through startling history and vivid first-person reporting-offering not just a wry, rich, deeply researched meditation on the bicycle and our relationship to it, but the headlong rush of cruising on two wheels into the unknown - Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain and Say Nothing

The stores are filled with books on little things that changed everything, but Jody Rosen's new book offers us a real little thing-the simple bicycle-that really did change everything, from the shape of our streets to the inner life of our imaginations... this is social history as it ought to be written: funny, precise, surprising, anti-dogmatic and unafraid of following a story, brakes off, to wherever the tale might want to glide - Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon

Love for two-wheeled transport runs through every sentence in the book... anyone who goes about mostly on two wheels, in defiance of the ever larger, ever more numerous powered vehicles on the road, will enjoy this entertaining ride. - Economist

[A] complex cultural history. . . . The strength of Two Wheels Good is the journalist's eye [Rosen] brings to a basic technology that has had radically disparate identities at different times and in different parts of the world - Curbed

A lively biography of a tool central to the greening of urban spaces. It's also a fascinating, sweeping everyday explainer, moving from the bike's 19th-century origins to its importance globally - Chicago Tribune

Full of delightful anecdotes and interviews, and fascinating historical tales, Two Wheels Good will expand your understanding of what a bicycle is and what it can do - Mail on Sunday

An enthralling overview of a quiet transport revolution - History Today

A terrific book... Rosen covers all the aspects of cycling you could imagine - Reader's Digest

Excellent - Cycling Weekly

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