Wheels of Change by Sue Macy

TitleWheels of Change–How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
Author: Sue Macy
Genre: nonfiction (women’s rights, bicycles, sports)
ISBN: 9781426307621
Length: 91 pages
Published: 2011
Source: public library
Rating: 3/5
Resolutions/Challenges: Non-Fiction Resolution 2011

Reason for Reading: I read an article in American History (a magazine), which was basically a shorter version of this book. And the article interested me, so I thought I’d look into this book, especially since it’s short.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Take a lively look at women’s history from aboard a bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women’s liberation. Through vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs, Wheels of Change transports young readers to bygone eras to see how women used the bicycle to improve their lives. Witty in tone and scrapbook-like in presentation, the book deftly covers early (and comical) objections, influence on fashion, and impact on social change inspired by the bicycle, which, according to Susan B. Anthony, “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.

My Thoughts: As with a lot of nonfiction that I read (especially that nonfiction that I don’t have to read), I felt pretty neutral towards this book upon finishing it. Basically I could have lived without reading it, but I wasn’t really uninteresting either. There are two basic themes throughout the book–the impact of the bicycle on the larger society, and then again on the society of women. As far as larger society goes, the book discusses how the bike affected slang, songs, and advertising. Then, pertaining to women, about their independence, involvement in sports, and their clothing. All of these things I found at least slightly interesting. And, as the summary points out, it is presented with lots of images in it. I always liked seeing images in history-type books. While I like imagining with fiction, I find images help me with nonfiction.

I’ll be honest. There is probably nothing I will remember from this book. I already knew that bikes impacted women’s independence and clothing. And that’s probably what I would remember, if anything.

But I’m not saying it’s not worth reading. It’s still interesting.

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