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On rails-to-trails bike paths, city streets, and winding country roads, the bicycle seems ubiquitous in the Badger State. Yet there’s a complex and fascinating history behind the popularity of biking in Wisconsin—one that until now has never been told. Meticulously researched through periodicals and newspapers, Wheel Fever traces the story of Wisconsin’s first “bicycling boom,” from the velocipede craze of 1869 through the “wheel fever” of the 1890s. It was during this crucial period that the sport Wisconsinites know and adore first took shape. From the start it has been defined by a rich and often impassioned debate over who should be allowed to ride, where they could ride, and even what they could wear. Many early riders embraced the bicycle as a solution to the age-old problem of how to get from here to there in the quickest and easiest way possible. Yet for every supporter of the “poor man’s horse,” there were others who wanted to keep the rights and privileges of riding to an elite set. Women, the working class, and people of color were often left behind as middle- and upper-class white men benefitted from the “masculine” sport and all-male clubs and racing events began to shape the scene. Even as bikes became more affordable and accessible, a culture defined by inequality helped create bicycling in its own image, and these limitations continue to haunt the sport today. Wheel Fever is about the origins of bicycling in Wisconsin and why those origins still matter, but it is also about our continuing fascination with all things bicycle. From “boneshakers” to high-wheels, standard models to racing bikes, tandems to tricycles, the book is lushly illustrated with never-before-seen images of early cycling, and the people who rode them: bloomer girls, bicycle jockeys, young urbanites, and unionized workers. Laying the foundations for a much-beloved recreation, Wheel Fever challenges us to imagine anew the democratic possibilities that animated cycling’s early debates.
On rails-to-trails bike paths, city streets, and winding country roads, the bicycle seems ubiquitous in the Badger State. Yet there’s a complex and fascinating history behind the popularity of biking in Wisconsin—one that until now has never been told. Meticulously researched through periodicals and newspapers, Wheel Fever traces the story of Wisconsin’s first “bicycling boom,” from the velocipede craze of 1869 through the “wheel fever” of the 1890s. It was during this crucial period that the sport Wisconsinites know and adore first took shape. From the start it has been defined by a rich and often impassioned debate over who should be allowed to ride, where they could ride, and even what they could wear. Many early riders embraced the bicycle as a solution to the age-old problem of how to get from here to there in the quickest and easiest way possible. Yet for every supporter of the “poor man’s horse,” there were others who wanted to keep the rights and privileges of riding to an elite set. Women, the working class, and people of color were often left behind as middle- and upper-class white men benefitted from the “masculine” sport and all-male clubs and racing events began to shape the scene. Even as bikes became more affordable and accessible, a culture defined by inequality helped create bicycling in its own image, and these limitations continue to haunt the sport today. Wheel Fever is about the origins of bicycling in Wisconsin and why those origins still matter, but it is also about our continuing fascination with all things bicycle. From “boneshakers” to high-wheels, standard models to racing bikes, tandems to tricycles, the book is lushly illustrated with never-before-seen images of early cycling, and the people who rode them: bloomer girls, bicycle jockeys, young urbanites, and unionized workers. Laying the foundations for a much-beloved recreation, Wheel Fever challenges us to imagine anew the democratic possibilities that animated cycling’s early debates.
As Evan Friss shows in his mordant history of urban bicycling in the late nineteenth century, the bicycle has long told us much about cities and their residents. In a time when American cities were chaotic, polluted, and socially and culturally impenetrable, the bicycle inspired a vision of an improved city in which pollution was negligible, transport was noiseless and rapid, leisure spaces were democratic, and the divisions between city and country blurred. Friss focuses not on the technology of the bicycle but on the urbanisms that bicycling engendered. Bicycles altered the look and feel of cities and their streets, enhanced mobility, fueled leisure and recreation, promoted good health, and shrank urban spaces as part of a larger transformation that altered the city and the lives of its inhabitants, even as the bicycle's own popularity fell, not to rise again for a century.
The majestic high-wheel bicycle, with its spider wheels and rubber tires, emerged in the mid-1870s as the standard bicycle. A common misconception is that, bound by Victorian dress and decorum, women were unable to ride it, only taking up cycling in the 1880s with the advent of the chain-driven safety bicycle. On the contrary, women had been riding and even racing some form of the bicycle since the first vélocipèdes appeared in Europe early in the nineteenth century. Challenging the understanding that bicycling was a purely masculine sport, Muscle on Wheels tells the story of women's high-wheel racing in North America in the 1880s and early 1890s, with a focus on a particular cyclist: Louise Armaindo (1857–1900). Among Canada's first women professional athletes and the first woman who was truly successful as a high-wheel racer, Armaindo began her career as a strongwoman and trapeze artist in Chicago in the 1870s before discovering high-wheel bicycle racing. Initially she competed against men, but as more women took up the sport, she raced them too. Although Armaindo is the star of Muscle on Wheels, the book is also about other women cyclists and the many men – racers, managers, trainers, agents, bookmakers, sport administrators, and editors of influential cycling magazines – who controlled the sport, especially in the United States. The story of working-class Victorian women who earned a living through their athletic talent, Muscle on Wheels showcases an exciting moment in women's and athletic history that is often forgotten or misconstrued.
In recent years, American shoppers have become more conscious of their food choices and have increasingly turned to CSAs, farmers' markets, organic foods in supermarkets, and to joining and forming new food co-ops. In fact, food co-ops have been a viable food source, as well as a means of collective and democratic ownership, for nearly 180 years. In Food Co-ops in America, Anne Meis Knupfer examines the economic and democratic ideals of food cooperatives. She shows readers what the histories of food co-ops can tell us about our rights as consumers, how we can practice democracy and community, and how we might do business differently. In the first history of food co-ops in the United States, Knupfer draws on newsletters, correspondence, newspaper coverage, and board meeting minutes, as well as visits to food co-ops around the country, where she listened to managers, board members, workers, and members. What possibilities for change-be they economic, political, environmental or social-might food co-ops offer to their members, communities, and the globalized world? Food co-ops have long advocated for consumer legislation, accurate product labeling, and environmental protection. Food co-ops have many constituents-members, workers, board members, local and even global producers-making the process of collective decision-making complex and often difficult. Even so, food co-ops offer us a viable alternative to corporate capitalism. In recent years, committed co-ops have expanded their social vision to improve access to healthy food for all by helping to establish food co-ops in poorer communities.
"Visionaries, researchers, curators, and volunteers launched a massive preservation initiative to salvage fast-disappearing immigrant and migrant architecture. Dozens of historic buildings in the 1970s were transported from various locations throughout the state to the Kettle Moraine State Forest. These buildings created a backdrop against which twenty-first-century interpreters demonstrate nineteenth- and early twentieth-century agricultural techniques and artisanal craftsmanship." --Back cover.

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