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Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Citiesby Jeff Mapes
Mapes's fantastic and inspiring Pedaling Revolution deserves to be read by everyone, from the cycle-curious to the cycle-phobic. Love it or hate it, the pedaling revolution is upon us — read all about it!
Synopses & Reviews
"A growing number of Americans, mounted on their bicycles like some new kind of urban cowboy, are mixing it up with swift, two-ton motor vehicles as they create a new society on the streets. They're finding physical fitness, low-cost transportation, environmental purity — and, still all too often, Wild West risks of sudden death or injury." — from the Introduction
In a world of increasing traffic congestion, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on city streets. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities explores the growing bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities, suburbs, and small towns across North America.
From traffic-dodging bike messengers to tattooed teenagers on battered bikes, from riders in spandex to well-dressed executives, ordinary citizens are becoming transportation revolutionaries. Jeff Mapes traces the growth of bicycle advocacy and explores the environmental, safety, and health aspects of bicycling. He rides with bicycle advocates who are taming the streets of New York City, joins the street circus that is Critical Mass in San Francisco, and gets inspired by the everyday folk pedaling in Amsterdam, the nirvana of American bike activists. Chapters focused on big cities, college towns, and America's most successful bike city, Portland, show how cyclists, with the encouragement of local officials, are claiming a share of the valuable streetscape.
"In a time of climate change and car-worship, bicycle riding has become a political statement and a policy issue, with its own grassroots movement working 'to seize at least a part of the street back from motorists.' After a dry but brief history of the bicycle and its political significance (Susan B. Anthony said bicycles have 'done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world'), Mapes reports from the world capitals of bicycle culture. Mapes explores Amsterdam, marveling at the ease with which cyclists, motorists and pedestrians share the road. In San Francisco and New York City, he finds cycling groups at their most hip and radical, and joins them on a 'Critical Mass' protest, in which cyclists take to the streets en masse to block traffic and take over rush hour streets; they've caused siginificant headaches for the NYPD, especially during the 2004 National Republican Convention. Focusing largely on the cyclists themselves, Mapes puts a passionate and pragmatic face to the 'new urban bike movement' while connecting the dots between cycling culture and a host of quality of life issues." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"To date, Pedaling Revolution is easily the best book-length examination of cycling culture and its connection to big-picture issues. It could do for bicycling what Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma did to put food choices on people's radar, and what The Long Emergency has done to educate people about peak oil.... Hardcore advocates will even learn a thing or two." Joe Kurmaskie, The Oregonian
"Writing from Portland, the hub of the American cycling renaissance, Jeff Mapes, brimming with passion, humor and salutary insight, makes an admirably clearheaded, convincing and, ultimately, humane argument for making more room for the two-wheeler, in our lives and on our roads." Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
"Finally, the bicycling movement gets the serious examination that it deserves." Jane Holtz Kay, author of Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take It Back
In a world of growing traffic congestion, expensive oil, and threats of cataclysmic climate change, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on the streets of urban cityscapes. In Pedaling Revolution, Jeff Mapes explores the growing urban bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities across the U.S. He rides with bike advocates who are taming the streets of New York City, joins the street circus that is Critical Mass in San Francisco, and gets inspired by the everyday folk pedaling in Amsterdam, the nirvana of American bike activists. Mapes, a seasoned political journalist and long-time bike commuter, explores the growth of bicycle advocacy while covering such issues as the environmental, safety, and health aspects of bicycling for short urban trips. His rich cast of characters includes Noah Budnick, a young bicycle advocate in New York who almost died in a crash near the Brooklyn Bridge, and Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN), who took to bicycling in his fifties and helped unleash a new flood of federal money for bikeways. Chapters set in Chicago and Portland show how bicycling has became a political act, with seemingly dozens of subcultures, and how cyclists, with the encouragement of local officials, are seizing streets back from motorists. Pedaling Revolution is essential reading for the approximately one million people who regularly ride their bike to work or on errands, for anyone engaged in transportation, urban planning, sustainability, and public health—and for drivers trying to understand why they're seeing so many cyclists. All will be interested in how urban bike activists are creating the future of how we travel and live in twenty-first-century cities.
About the Author
Jeff Mapes is senior political reporter for The Oregonian. He has covered Congress, state government, and numerous local, state, and national campaigns. He is also author of the blog, Mapes on Politics. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is a longtime bike commuter.
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