On Bicycles A 200 Year History of Cycling in New York City by Evan Friss,
In this funny, absolutely absorbing and beautifully written book, I discovered not only that bicycles and bicyclers tried to exist in NYC from 200 years, but that bycicles' s lovers fought a lot for obtaining rights.
Yes, because the advent of bicycles as you will read hasn't been simple and at first it was a passionate, abrupt, but at the same time volatile love. In a summer the one of 1868's New Yorkers discovered velocipedes for men and women with all the differences of the case; there was the birth of a magazine telling everything about this world, the birth of associations... Then the passion and love, went away for various decades as it was born.
You will read about important promoters of bicycles like mr. Arthur Hyde. He went, since very little, in all the possible corners of the city, and also the countrysides with his bike. Substantially he spent in the bicycle crucial moments of his existence.
Hyde was one of the main promoters of love for bicycles; he became member of the most influential association about New Yorkers' s bicycles's lovers writing down a lot of pieces, keeping journals of his trips far or close from home and saying what he thought about the matter with strenght.
Who, differently, as you will read in another chapter, was a lover of bicycles but did all his best for changing the face of NYC adapting it more to cars than not to a vehicle with just two wheels, was Moses. The Last chapter will involve Mayor Bloomberg and the re-launch of spaces dedicated to bicycles's lovers.
I found this book not just interesting - I love NYC so when I can read news or curious facts of the city I am always happy - but funny, interesting, stimulating. It was written with joy, it's informative but at the same time engaging, fresh, highly communicative, with the desire of telling an unknown aspect of NYC's story with passion: what this book gives back is a wonderful portrait of a past, populated by the idea of a healthier way of travelling up and down in the city in complete freedom (absolutely wonderful and humurous the numerous trials and temptative by members of various associations of stopping bicycles in the city and in Central Park) seeing through the decades and centuries, the mutations of the city, thanks also to the constructions of a lot of other structures, like Bridge Verrazano, and what it means today for a person to use a bicycle in a city crowded like New York City is.
This book will also let us see the various mutations of bicycles during the centuries and decades, and what the business of bicycles meant and means for New York.
I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.
Anna Maria Polidori