David's Reviews > Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom

Wheels of Change by Sue Macy
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's review
Nov 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: history, kids-nonfiction, ya-non-fiction

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-like presentation uses vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs. Special segments include "Cycling slang," "Cycling songs," "The Cycling Press" newspapers devoted to cycling, and "Selling with Cycles" featuring advertisements. A final spread offers two complementary timelines of milestones in women's history and cycling history to put events in perspective. A bibliography, including websites, a source for quotes, picture credits, and an index are included.

The illustrations include vintage photographs, advertisements, song covers, and cartoons.

This lively historical look at the history of bicylces and its influence on women's history, fashion and women's rights should attract many readers with its witty tone, attractive layout and primary sources. Among its interesting features is a list from 1895 of “Don’ts for Women Wheelers.” Some “don’ts” from this list include:
* Don’t carry a flask.
* Don’t attempt a “century.”
* Don’t say, “Feel my muscle.”
* Don’t boast of your long rides.
* Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.
* Don’t ask, “What do you think of my bloomers?”
* Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”

I recommend it for school and public library collections.

For ages 10 and up, cycling enthusiasts, women's rights movement, history, fashion, transportation, sports, biographies, photography, and fans of Sue Macy.

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