Somewhere in a German forest 200 years ago, during the darkest, wettest summer for centuries, the story of cycling began. The calls to ban it were more or less immediate.
Re:Cyclists is the tale of the following two centuries. It tells how cycling became a kinky vaudeville act for Parisians, how it was the basis of an American business empire to rival Henry Ford's, and how it found a unique home in the British Isles.
The Victorian love of cycling started with penny-farthing riders, who explored lonely roads that had been left abandoned by the coming of the railways. Then high-society took to it--in the 1980s the glittering parties of the London Season featured bicycles dancing in the ballroom, and every member of the House of Lords rode a bike.
Twentieth-century cycling was very different, and even more popular. It became the sport and the pastime of millions of ordinary people who wanted to escape the city smog, or to experience the excitement of a weekend's racing. Cycling offered adventure and independence in the good times, and consolation during the war years and the Great Depression.
Re:Cyclists tells the story of cycling's glories and also of its despairs, of how it only just avoided extinction in the motoring boom of the 1960s. And finally, at the dawn of the 21st century, it celebrates how cycling rose again--a little different, a lot more fashionable, but still about the same simple pleasures that it always has been: the wind in your face and the thrill of two-wheeled freedom.
Michael Hutchinson is a writer, a journalist, and a former professional cyclist. He has won multiple national titles in both Britain and Ireland, and has raced at the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. He isCycling Weekly's principle columnist, and is a regular broadcaster on cycling.Re:Cyclists is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed bookFaster: The Obsession, Science and Luck behind the World's Fastest Cyclistsand the award-winningThe Hour: Sporting Immortality the Hard Way. He lives with far too many bicycles in Cambridgeshire and London.
"As witty, accurate and eloquently written a history of the bicycle as you are ever likely to read." -Chris Boardman
"An essential look at how cycling has taken over the world." -Sir Chris Hoy
"As if Bill Bryson had taken to two wheels." -Financial Times
"A thorough and fascinating read, as you would expect from Dr Hutch. It charts the strange evolution of what we now unthinkingly accept: cycling is cool. How it came to be is another story altogether." -Ned Boulting
"An excellent history of the two-wheeled machine … Hutchinson plots his way through the physical, social and sporting history of cycling with immense pleasure, pace and humour." -Daily Express
"Michael Hutchinson will already be known to many for his entertaining and humorous writing, and this book carries on in the same vein." -road.cc
"Michael Hutchinson has written a funny book about what could be – and often is – dry-as-sticks: the history of the bicycle." -bikebiz.com
"Re:Cyclists is an enjoyable romp through Britain's cycling history ... If you want to know how the British got from the hobby-horse to hipsters on fixies, this is as good a place as any to start finding the answers." -Podiumcafe
"Whether you’re a city boy banker racing into the Square Mile or a hipster wheeling around Shoreditch, this is for you." -Gentleman’s Journal
"An historical and fascinating account of the last 200 years of the progression of cycling … A well-written and intelligent read." -Outdoor Fitness