On Bicycles: A 200-Year History of Cycling in New York City


Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
6.3 X 1.0 X 9.1 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Evan Friss is an associate professor of history at James Madison University. He is the author of The Cycling City: Bicycles and Urban America in the 1890s (2015). He used to pedal around New York City, but now lives in Virginia with his family.


A thoughtful, entertaining look at an essential form of transportation in New York City.--Publishers Weekly
Witty and wise, engaged and engaging, surprising, fun and fabulous--I'm running out of adjectives to describe Evan Friss's wondrous new book. Move over Amsterdam: New York City is a bicycling city too, though with fits and starts, grunts and guffaws, and more than a handful of bike haters (some in high places). A great way to learn about the history of the city that never sleeps--and has never stopped arguing about its bicycles and bicyclists.--David Nasaw, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Professor of History, CUNY Graduate Center
This social history of the transformation of New York's relationship to cycling is elegantly researched, gracefully written, and nearly as delightful as the bicycle itself.--Kim Phillips-Fein, author of Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics
In On Bicycles, Evan Friss fills in the missing chapters that bicycles hold in New York City's near-miraculous transportation history and shows how the city's streets are finally catching up with them.--Janette Sadik-Khan, Bloomberg Associates, former NYC transportation commissioner
Two hundred years ago, the first riding machines that resembled what would become bicycles began pouring into Manhattan, and New York City would never be the same again. On Bicycles is brilliantly researched, noting the battles against local government, sexism, the automobile, and the railways, as the bicycle fought its way to become more popular today than ever before. Vive le vélo!--Phil Liggett MBE, "The Voice of Cycling"
A fresh and personalized perspective on what the bicycle has meant to New Yorkers over the years.--David Herlihy, author of Bicycle: The History
A superb history of New York's cycling cultures over the last two centuries, On Bicycles surveys the evolution of the bicycle in the city from urban menace and medium of feminist liberation to weekend joyride and mainstay of the transportation network. Written with verve and precision, it reads like a long glide down Broadway with the wind at your back, catching green light after green light.--Samuel Zipp, author of Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York
An essential contribution to multiple fields--New York history, transportation history, urban history, and planning history--this compelling and fascinating story takes you along with ease, artfully offering a barrage of digestible information, including previously unknown morsels. Even the most well-read New Yorkers, cyclists, and urban historians will find something new here.--Owen Gutfreund, Hunter College
[An] absorbing new book...--Ginia Bellafante "New York Times "