How Bicyclists Paved the Way for the Rise of the Automobile

Sarah Goodyear shares insight into a book by Carlton Reid titled "Roads Were Not Built for Cars," which details the secret history of the bicyclists that helped launch the fledgling automobile industry in the late 19th century.
December 2, 2014, 12pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sarah Goodyear writes for CityLab:

"The book, which is engaging and anything but dry, tells a story that has been mostly lost to time and politics: how cycling pioneers in the late 19th century, many from the powerful ruling classes, lobbied successfully for the improvement of the road networks in the United States and Europe, and how many of those same leading cyclists then went on to become leaders in the fledgling automobile industry. In so doing, they steered the future of transportation away from rails and onto roads."

The article goes on to provide a lengthy interview between Goodyear and Reid. Here Reid discusses the ethos of personal freedom shared by bicyclists and the early motorists in the late 19th century: "For motoring to take off, you had to have a bunch of people who were happy to be off in the sticks mending stuff. Because the first cars weren’t terribly reliable. Who were the bunch of people who were comfortable being off in the sticks mending stuff? The bicyclists."

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Published on Monday, December 1, 2014 in CityLab
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