Synopses & Reviews
In an era of steep gas prices, snarled traffic, catastrophic climate change, and a yearning for a higher quality of life, interest in bike-friendly public policies is surging nationwide. A surprising array of political organizations, visionary politicians, and colorful individuals powers this movement and a growing number of bike enthusiasts are taking to the streets. From the night rides of Critical Mass to the dumpster-diving Rat Patrol, this book shows the eccentric side of the bicycling universe even as it illustrates the mainstream efforts of politicians like U.S. Representative Jim Oberstar and plain folks like “Biker Mama” Jane Healy. Dedicated to the idea that biking is an ongoing act of nondestructive living, Pedal Power shows why the dominance of the automobile is yesterday’s idea and edges us closer to a more democratic, multimodal transportation system so essential in the age of global warming. The bike, regarded as irrelevant to the 20th century, is making a comeback in the 21st. Pedal Power takes us there and suggests that the most compelling thing about riding is that it changes the way people experience the world and, therefore, the way they think.
- Covers the growing interest in biking nationwide.
- Includes interviews with key political figures including U.S Representative Oberstar who have promoted bike-friendly policies.
- Features some of the bike eccentrics who have sprung up nationwide such as Critical Mass and the Rat Patrol.
- Includes more than 20 photos showing pedal power in action locally, nationally, and globally.
"Pedal Power is an uplifting read that tells the stories of people, organizations, and a movement whose time is rapidly approaching. When the aberrations of the automobile age have passed, we will wonder how we ever lost the common humanity, simplicity and love of life embodied in the heroes so delightfully profiled in Harry Wray's insightful book. Thank you, Harry Wray, for telling the stories of unsung but true American heroes who gently challenge conventional wisdom and eschew cultural norms." Andy Clarke, League of American Bicyclists
"From improving air quality, overcoming social isolation, reducing carbon emissions, improving fitness...the bicycle solves more problems than any other technology I know. Harry Wray has the story right and tells it well. Pedal Power is a book for cyclists, moms, dads, policy wonks, and everyone who wants to solve many problems while creating none." David Orr, Oberlin College
"What an original and refreshing book! Wray deftly interweaves his own and others' experiences as bicycling enthusiasts with insights from political philosophy and American socio-political history to generate a compelling account of what bicycling can mean for America's future."
Elaine B. Sharp, University of Kansas
About the Author
J. Harry Wray is a bike enthusiast and Professor of Political Science at DePaul University in Chicago, one of the bike-friendliest cities in the nation. He received his B.A. from Whittier College and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, where the country roads sparked his interest in biking. Now he teaches courses in which students bike through every side of the city of Chicago from the South Side to the lakeside and shows them how politics, economics, and the environment combine to affect culture and be affected by it. Wray's previous books include Sense and Non-Sense: American Culture and Politics (2000), and, with Robert D. Holsworth, American Politics and Everyday Life (1986).