The Best Books On Bicycles And Cycling

The Books I Picked & Why

Bicycle: The History

By David V. Herlihy

Bicycle: The History

Why this book?

An absolutely beautiful, lavishly illustrated book chronicling the history of the bicycle, an invention whose impact on society is vastly underappreciated. Herlihy is perhaps the world’s foremost historian of the bicycle.


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Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran

By Thomas Stevens

Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran

Why this book?

First published in 1887, Stevens was the first person to circumnavigate the earth on a bicycle, and a high-wheeler at that. Over three years he pedaled, pushed, and dragged his bicycle through all corners of the globe on one of the most epic journeys ever undertaken.


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Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

By Andrew X. Pham

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

Why this book?

This New York Times Notable Book of the Year by a Vietnamese-American who was forced to flee his native country after the fall of Saigon is both travelogue and memoir, beautifully written, and a profound meditation on identity.


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Life Is a Wheel: Memoirs of a Bike-Riding Obituarist

By Bruce Weber

Life Is a Wheel: Memoirs of a Bike-Riding Obituarist

Why this book?

Weber was for many years the lead obituary writer for The New York Times, hence the somewhat odd subtitle of this wry chronicle of a bicycle journey from Oregon to New York City. Weber has a sardonic wit that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.


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

By Sue Macy

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

Why this book?

Written for young adults and kids, this book does an excellent job teaching an underappreciated (and relatively unknown) chapter in women’s history. We take the bicycle for granted today, but it was the catalyst for radical changes in the lives of women in the U.S. and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


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