From its cultural history to tales of love and friendship — how the bicycle became a tool for freedom
It helps keep the air clean. It lets people explore new places on their own. It forges bonds between strangers in difficult circumstances. Here are 8 books that will give you a glimpse of the bicycle’s role in shaping our lives.
The Girl And The Bicycle by Mark Pett
This is about a little girl who walks past a store and her eyes fall on a beautiful bicycle. She dreams of buying it but has to give up on it for not having enough money. She then comes across a kind old lady whom she helps and saves enough money for her dream bicycle. She rushes to the store only to find that it is gone. She buys a tricycle for her little brother instead. As a reward for her selflessness, a neighbour surprises her with the very green bicycle she wanted.
It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit Of Happiness On Two Wheels by Robert Penn
This book is about Robert Penn’s experience in different places where he goes riding a bicycle. Penn throws light on the cultural history of the bicycle and the technical innovations it has seen. He uses the bicycle as a tool to explore and venture out of his comfort zone.
Road To Valor: A True Story Of WWII Italy, The Nazis, And The Cyclist Who Inspired A Nation by Andres McConnon
This is based upon a true story during World War II. It is about Gino Bartal, a famous Italian cyclist who went against all odds to save Jewish refugees, risking his own life. The most amazing part is how Bartali got back to his previous form post-World War and won the Tour de France (1948).
Pedal It! How Bicycles Are Changing The World by Michelle Mulder
The writer focuses on how the bicycle has evolved over time and brought about a drastic change in our lifestyle, how it has helped reduce pollution and let people feel the joy of pedalling. The catchy illustrations show the different ways in which the bicycle is used around the globe.
The Green Bicycle by Haifaa-al-Mansour
The story takes place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where women have to abide by the rules imposed on them. But 11-year old Wadjda rebels against these societal norms and decides to buy a beautiful green bicycle. One of the major reasons for her to get a bicycle is to race with one of her friends, Abdullah. She turns against the law that says that riding a bicycle is not a womanly behaviour and is not afraid to question the systems of oppression.
Two Bicycles In Beijing by Teresa Robeson
The author has instilled life in two bicycles named Lunzi and Huangche. They enjoy each other’s company standing side by side in a store. The happiness becomes temporary when a girl buys Huangche and separates him from Lunzi. Lunzi then becomes a ride for a delivery boy and desperately looks for her friend. The readers also get to know about the beauty of Beijing in the process.
Ride Ricardo Ride by Phil Cunnings and illustrated by Shane Devries
This is an illustrated storybook which paints the horrors of war. Amidst the chaos, we find a beautiful bond between a little boy named Ricardo who loves to ride his bicycle and his father who cheers him by saying “Ride Ricardo Ride”. But this does not last long as an invading army attacks the place. Ricardo wonders if he will ever be able to ride his bicycle again.
Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy
The book talks about how cycling allowed women to break the stereotypical image of wearing giant skirts and corsets in the West. It also outlines the history of the bicycle and its role as a device that could be used in protest movements.
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