When it’s too cold to ride, you can always read.

Old-timey literature.

The kind folks at Yale University Press and the University of Toronto Press were generous enough to send me a couple of books about cycling.  Well, to be honest, they arrived via a third-party online book retailer, who was good enough to dispatch these venerable tomes only minutes after I provided my credit card information.  I suppose, therefore, that these are less “review” copies than they are “my legal possessions because I paid full price for them.” The shipping was free, though.  I swear.

The first book is Glen Norcliffe’s The Ride to Modernity: The Bicycle in Canada, 1869-1900. According to the book jacket (which is the literary equivalent of a movie trailer on Youtube), Norcliffe’s “aim is to examine how the bicycle fits into the larger picture of change and progress in a period of dramatic economic, social, and technological flux.”  What’s more, the author “argues that the bicycle led to a host of innovations affecting the development of technology, modern manufacturing, better roads, automobiles, and even airplanes.”  As someone frequently annoyed by cars and generally distrustful of flight, I can only assume this book will make me surrender all my bikes and increase the membership number in groups like this.

The second monograph is David V. Herlihy’s Bicycle: The History.  “In this, the definitive history of the bicycle,” the copy reads, “David Herlihy recounts the saga of this far-reaching invention and the passions it aroused.”  I’ve witnessed some of those passions on INTERNET.  Having only flipped through the book, I can assure you that the font is a nice size and that there are many excellent pictures.  This image, for example, features a woman on a rare left-side drive bicycle (with an early-model carbon drive belt?) attempting her first elephant trunk:

This could also be an advert for Rapha's upcoming Tweed ride.

Two books about the history of cycling.  Given that I’ve just gotten in from a ride and need to warm up, I’ll use them as coasters for my cups of tea while I watch re-runs of Seinfeld.

Pedal quickly to stay warm this weekend. Enjoy.

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3 Responses to “When it’s too cold to ride, you can always read.”


  1. 1 jamesmallon 05/02/2010 at 6:13 pm

    It’s not too cold: you’re dressed wrong.

  2. 2 youaretheengine 05/02/2010 at 6:26 pm

    OH SNAP! I assume you’re using the royal “you.” Either that or you saw me earlier today pedalling through Montreal in a mini-skirt and halter top.

  3. 3 jamesmallon 05/02/2010 at 10:22 pm

    Montreal, you rule! I only cycle in this hick town: Toronto.


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