Monday, November 4, 2013

Pedal It! How Bicycles are Changing the World

Full disclosure, I am a super environmental, earth saving, reducing, reusing, recycling hippie.  So, when a book has an environmental sway or message involved, I will buy into that.  This book combines fabulous, fascinating information about the history of bicycles and current interesting uses for their potential powerhouse of…power.  The health benefits and decreased impact to our planet are all good reasons for everyone to put down this book (when finished reading, of course) and hop on a bike (with a helmet, of course – no “headers” here!). 

Within Chapter One: Who Thought This Up, Anyway, there is a side paragraph highlighting the resurgence of “push bikes” (previously known to me as balance bikes).  A little less than a year, we purchased a balance bike for my daughter and we have seen her body getting accustomed to the feel of a bike without need for training wheels.  Many people have asked us about it and just recently, I saw a window display of balance bikes in an independently owned bicycle shop.  It’s exciting when something “old” is “new” again!

Also from Chapter One, I learned that the term “taking a header” was invented from people falling off of high-wheel bicycles onto their heads.  I am looking forward to reading another CYBILS nonfiction nominee “Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football: Make-or-Break Moment” and made the connection between the “header”. 

Having read Matt Phelan’s Around the World, I had read about Thomas Stevens’ journey (around the world) on a bicycle in 1884.  I was somewhat surprised that this bit of history was not included in the book as it added to the phenomena of bicycles becoming more of a mainstream mode of transportation and recreation.

Mention of the Wright Brothers background as bicycle builders and mechanics reminded me of Matt McElligott’s “Benjamin Franklinstein Meets the Fright Brothers” in which the re-animated Wright Brothers are the proprietors of the “Right Cycle Co.”

Finally, the section highlighting the bicycle’s part in the women’s right movement and change in fashions made me thing of “You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer” by Shana Corey.

Overall, the information is presented in a visually appealing way that keeps the reader interested in the content throughout.  Different facets of the bicycle’s impact on the world we live in and the evolution of its uses throughout history are helpful to build the reader’s knowledge of the bicycle.  The photography and illustration help to build a better understanding of how a bicycle might power the lights of a house or transport a bakery.  I really enjoyed “Pedal It” by Michelle Mulder.

Pedal It!  How Bicycles are Changing the World
ISBN: 978-1-4598-0219-3
Published 2013 by Orca Book Publishers
I borrowed this copy from my public library to read and review.

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