Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)” as Want to Read:
Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  748 Ratings  ·  200 Reviews
NCSS—Notable Social Studies Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2012

School Library Journal Best Books of 2011

Finalist YALSA Excellence in Non Fiction for YoungAdults

SLJ’s 100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2011

Amelia Bloomer List

Take a lively look at women's history from aboard a bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women's libe
...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by National Geographic Children's Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wheels of Change, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jenni Frencham This looks like a question from a homework assignment. I recommend reading the chapter and finding examples where women did well in bicycle racing…moreThis looks like a question from a homework assignment. I recommend reading the chapter and finding examples where women did well in bicycle racing even though some people didn't think they should do it. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kathryn
Aug 24, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: cycling enthusiasts and those interested in an important chapter in the women's rights movement
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel." -- Susan B. Anthony, February 2nd, 1896.

Though Ms. Anthony was too advanced in years by the time the cycling craze came about to ride one herself, she saw in it a grand advancement for women's rights as the bicycle led them to more freedom of mind, body and spirit. This, then, is the story of how women "rode t
...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Wow. I had no idea that bicycles had such a profound effect upon American society. This book opened my eyes. Bicycles were cheaper than horses, so more people had transportation, especially women. Because of bicycles, a movement began to pave roads for smoother and less hazardous rides. (And here I thought the automobile started that.) Because of bicycles, women began to adopt more comfortable styles of dress, such as bloomers and shorter skirts. (And here I thought these were just styles ...more
Carol
Jan 16, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I was absolutely delighted by Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). Of course there are other books that outline the history of the bicycle but the unique quality of Macy’s is her look at how it changed and shaped the woman’s world in the 1800’s wheeling us right into the present day.

I was surprised to see that our library is the only library that owns this book in the state of Connecticut and that’s a shame as there is a lot to be learne
...more
Sesana
Jan 16, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
Brief, with plenty of illustrations, Wheels of Change ended up being a much more interesting read than I had thought it would. Macy argues that the bicycle, with its inherent freedom of movement and the freedom of clothing that successfully riding one required, was an important factor in the women's movement at the time. It makes immediate sense, of course. For most young women, this would have been their first and only taste of freedom, something that they would have been unwilling to entirely ...more
Betsy
May 03, 2011 Betsy rated it really liked it
A history book for kids can do any number of things. It can concentrate on a topic that has been well-documented in adult books, synthesizing and simplifying the text so that a 10-year-old could understand what is written there. Or it can do original research, never seen before on the adult page, culling from a variety of sources and coming up with something wholly new. The former nonfiction history book is pretty common. Even bestsellers like An Inconvenient Truth and Fast Food Nation end up wi ...more
Ms. McCall
An easy-to-read, colorful and heavily illustrated nonfictional read, Wheels of Change provides a fresh, new take on the history of the bicycle and how important an instrument it was in helping women break out of their gender roles as early as the mid 1800s. The book is organized chronologically, although I did tend to find when it came to national and international competitive races nearing the end that it was difficult to comprehend the time frame. Wheels of Change uses straightforward ...more
Rebecca Binks
May 12, 2012 Rebecca Binks rated it really liked it
Wheels of Change was a finalist in the Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction category for YALSA-ALA in 2011. It uses blended-narrative form to reveal the impact that the bicycle has had on the lives of women. Women today take a lot of their freedoms for granted, but the bicycle was key in terms of both increase self-reliant mobility and less restrictive clothing for women. Many would be shocked to know that the bicycle was initially considered to lead girls “into paths that lead directly to sin.” ...more
Barbara
Nov 30, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla, strong-women
This is an incredibly informative book that is a treat to read. I've always been a history buff despite the dearth of material on women in the history books I studied in school. Had I been lucky enough to have seen this book as a middle grader, I would have snapped it up. Macy shows how the invention and subsequent popularity of the bicycle led to more freedom for women. Suddenly, women were able to move from place to place on their own, and with that mobility came a need for more freedom, often ...more
Caitlin
Apr 22, 2016 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Wheels of Change is a relatively short, fun look at the history of cycling in the United States and how the bicycling craze contributed to the movement for women's independence.

There are only a few chapters and they deal with the history of the bicycle including the move to mass manufacture them via Alexander Pope and the Columbia Bicycling company, the ways in which women became involved in riding bicycles and the freedom that this added mobility gave them, some of the challenges faced by wome
...more
Anastasia
Feb 17, 2014 Anastasia rated it it was amazing
This is such a great little book. It's billed as a kids' book, but I don't really think it is one. It's a great, short history of the intersection between women's history and the rise of the bicycle. The section on racing and long distance cycling records set by women was my favorite part. I can't believe how many miles some of those women rode (one woman did a century [100 miles] EVERY day for 20 days in a row!).
Suzette Kunz
This is a fun history of women and bicycling. Macy makes the point that bicycles offered women more freedom and tied in with other changes in women's rights. This quote was funny: "I can't see but that a wheel (bike) is just as good company as most husbands. I would as well talk to one inanimate object as another; and I'd a great deal rather talk to one that can't answer than one that won't."
Jennifer
Dec 08, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-nonfiction
I appreciated the slightly cheeky tone, colorful design, and short, meaty chapters of this unusual history book. Teen girls will find the section where health professionals of the day were concerned that “the shape of the bicycle seat, or saddle, could damage or overstimulate the pelvis” particularly amusing:)
Kirstin
Aug 25, 2016 Kirstin rated it really liked it
As a bicyclist who loves the feel of the wind in my hair and the burning sensation in my legs on a good uphill, I enjoyed this spunky look at the history of the bicycle. That alone was worth the read. Even more delightful was its examination of how the bicycle led to ever-increasing freedom for women.
Jordan Funke
Mar 02, 2012 Jordan Funke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
First of all, it's a great theme, one that I never would have guessed. It's also beautiful. Graphics, layout, and text work together so nicely. I consider myself fairly well-educated about this period in history and I still learned a lot. The level is perfect for middle school or lower high school and is interesting enough and visually appealing enough to hold students' interest.
Kathy
Oct 24, 2014 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A National Geographic Book.
It has the look of a magazine, with great vintage pictures and good writing.
Just a short history of the bicycle and the influence on women during its heyday.

I never thought of my bicycle this way before.

laura
Apr 02, 2011 laura marked it as to-read
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.” -Susan B. Anthony
Edward Sullivan
Fascinating history that links the rising popularity of bicycles with women's struggle for equality.
Rebecca
This is a well-researched book with many primary sources, historical photographs and illustrations, and notes. Macy uses the first 25 pages cover the technical development of the bicycle, then moves into the promised topic of women and bicycles. Her prose is fine, but this book at times reads like a research paper--fine for me as an adult reader, but less so for middle school students and certainly not a book they would select for leisure reading. The biggest flaw is the layout which was clearly ...more
Mark McGinty
Feb 26, 2011 Mark McGinty rated it it was amazing
The celebration of International Women’s Day 2011, a global day to recognize the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future, is perhaps a perfect time to look at how the bicycle changed women’s lives in the late 19th Century and helped them ride to freedom. Sue Macy and National Geographic bring us Wheels of Change, an excellent full-color book on the history of the bicycle’s impact on society and the lives of women. To men, the bicycle was a toy but to women ...more
Amanda Wall
Jul 26, 2013 Amanda Wall rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-678
Pairing:
Because of the large numbers of female teenagers seeing the movie Fast and the Furious 6, I chose the nonfiction book Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). This book details how the invention of the bicycle in the 19th century allowed women a huge measure of freedom. The bicycle allowed women to travel freely and independently. Its invention even began changing women’s fashion.

Book Citation
Macy, Sue. Wheels of Change: How Women R
...more
Rebecca H.
Mar 27, 2011 Rebecca H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This weekend I had the pleasure of reading a book about women and cycling called Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy. It’s a wonderful book. It’s a fast read, at only 96 pages with lots of pictures and not a lot of text; it’s aimed at a young adult market, but great for anybody interested in the subject.

The pictures themselves were wonderful: pictures of cool old bicycles, of old advertisements for bikes and cycling gear, of w
...more
Lauren Stoolfire
Mar 11, 2013 Lauren Stoolfire rated it it was amazing
In this book, Macy details the history of bicycles from the 1880s to 1900 in the context of women’s rights, freedom, and societal restrictions. She discusses the invention of the bicycle in its different styles leading up to what we are presently familiar with and how women became key riders in the wheel craze which opened up opportunities available to them. In relation, she also discusses how cycling began to have an effect on clothing styles for women. The bicycle presented freedom of ...more
Katie
May 21, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, young-adult
Bicycle history and first-wave feminism are deftly woven into a five-chapter narrative tracing the impact of the "silent steed" on 19th-century America. The historical tour begins in the 1870s, when Albert Pope imported the bicycle industry from England, and then navigates the social commentary of the 1890s concerning women on bicycles. Next the book delves into the significant fashion changes wrought by this new form of transportation and the daring exploits of the first female competitive ...more
David
Nov 18, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy is a look at women's history regarding the bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women's liberation.

Wheels of Change transports young readers into the past to see how women used the bicycle to improve their lives. The book deftly covers early (and comical) objections, influence on fashion, and impact on social change inspired by the bicycle. The scrapbook
...more
Jessica
Sep 19, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
This would be great for a kid's book report; it left me wanting a more thorough exploration of the material. Back to the library I go!
Ed
Macy, Sue. (2011). Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). Washington D.C.: National Geographic. 96 pp. ISBN 978-1-4263-0761-4 (Hard Cover); $18.95.

Impeccable research, vintage archival images, and an engaging narrative flow characterize Macy’s scintillating and often humorous look at how the bicycle pumps up our view of women in our society. I especially enjoy the long list of “don’ts” for women wheelers in the Omaha Daily Bee. “Don’t carr
...more
Veronica
May 19, 2011 Veronica rated it it was amazing
Do you remember the freedom you felt once you were old enough to get a two-wheeled bike and allowed to zoom around your neighborhood? Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy recalls when women first got their own set of wheels and set off unescorted into the world.

And that whole unescorted thing really ticked off conservatives at the time. As Macy notes in chapter 2, The Devil's Advance Agent, in the late 1800s women and men dated
...more
Wendy Nelson
Dec 01, 2014 Wendy Nelson rated it it was amazing
Junior Books

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom
Macy, S., Emmett, J., Hiscott, J., Epstein, L., Ittner, M., Olesin, K., Hill, G., & Bassford, L. R. (2011). Wheels of change: how women rode the bicycle to freedom (with a few flat tires along the way). Washington, D.C.: National Geographic.

YALSA Finalist, SLJ Best Book of 2011

One of the most interesting ways to study history is to view it through a particular lens or device--in this case, the invention and evolution of the b
...more
Heather
Feb 11, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing
Why are the two books released in 2010 related to women and cycling both classified as children's books? This book is pretty great, and I suspect would be equally educational and otherwise valuable to most adults. The research is top-notch (I discovered something I could use in my thesis, so I know it's good material!), the writing done well, the design interesting, and the illustrations rich.

A couple of very minor complaints: some of the background illustrations are placed in such a way that ma
...more
Colleen Graves
Jul 24, 2012 Colleen Graves rated it liked it
Shelves: great-ya-books
Macy, Sue. Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). Washington, D.C: National Geographic, 2011. Print. 96 p. 9781426307621

This historical nonfiction book analyzes the way bicycles helped empower women. It describes the first bicycles (can you believe some women actually rode bicycles side saddle?!) and it details how bicycles allowed women to ditch hoop skirts for pantaloons!

What I found really interesting is that there were many female athl
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition
  • Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein
  • Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science
  • Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
  • Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
  • The Elephant Scientist (Scientist in the Field Series)
  • The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery
  • Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream
  • The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe
  • Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95
  • Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917
  • Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot (Scientists in the Field Series)
  • They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
  • We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
  • Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans during World War II
  • Black and white : the confrontation of Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor
  • Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry
  • Tillie the Terrible Swede: How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History

Share This Book