The subtitle of Wheels of Change is How Women Rode the bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). It is the story of how women embraced the bicycle during the cycle craze of the 1880s and 1890s. Published by the National Geographic Society, this is actually a book for “young adults,” or teens, and explains the graphic nature of the book. As a teacher, I know that non-fiction is often best served up with a healthy mix of text and interesting images.
And even though this is essentially a book for kids, I found it to be very informative, and even enlightening in places. For instance, I’d never read about how when Cambridge University announced their plan to offer full admission to female students, many male students protested by hanging a woman riding a bicycle in effigy.
Best of all, many of the images are from private collections, and so have not been published before.
This is the cover hidden beneath the dust jacket.
Yes, she is riding sidesaddle!
This has to be my favorite photo in the book. Denver, Colorado, circa 1905.
The image on the right is from a set of paper dolls that was published by the Pope Manufacturing Company, who made Columbia bicycles.
On the left is Annie Kopchovsky who traveled around the world with her bicycle.
The bicycling craze was used to sell just about anything.