Boston's Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels
At the end of the nineteenth century, cycling's popularity surged in the Boston area, but by 1900, the trend faded. Within the next few decades, automobiles became commonplace and roads were refashioned to serve them. Lorenz J. Finison argues that bicycling witnessed a renaissance in the 1970s as concerns over physical and environmental health coalesced. Whether cyclists hit the roads on their way to work or to work out, went off-road in the mountains or to race via cyclocross and BMX, or took part in charity rides, biking was back in a major way.
Finison traces the city's cycling history, chronicling the activities of environmental and social justice activists, stories of women breaking into male-dominated professions by becoming bike messengers and mechanics, and challenges faced by African American cyclists. Making use of newspaper archives, newly discovered records of local biking organizations, and interviews with Boston-area bicyclists and bike builders, Boston's Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance brings these voices and battles back to life.
Praise for Boston's Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels
"This book is a compendium of stories about people who participated in New England's cycling community as bike builders, racers, advocates, workers, and hobbyists. Admirably, Finison examines issues of race and ethnicity that have been ignored by many previous bicycle historians."—Margaret Guroff, author of The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American Life
"Finison demonstrates a remarkable eye for historical detail, making good use of local sources to offer new stories about old bicycling in an approachable, journalistic style. This local history of Boston adds well-researched detail to our understanding of twentieth-century cycling."—James Longhurst, author of Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road
"Lorenz J. Finison's engaging new book, Boston's Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels traces the history of cycling in this city, from a boom in the late 1800s, to a flagging popularity at the turn of the century, and an increase in fervency and cycling spirit in the 1970s."—Boston Globe
"Good local history explores how regional activities reflect national issues . . . Finison addresses the question of where the bicycle fits in urban transportation, and how it impacts issues of urban renewal and planning, gender, race, class, and gentrification. Recommended."—CHOICE