The Bicycle - Towards a Global History

The Bicycle - Towards a Global History

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The modern bicycle as we know it today was developed in England in the 1880s. A decade later, cycling was already a popular spectator sport and a recreational fashion across western society. Women's rights, class mobility and a modern spirit of individualism helped fuel this bicycle boom. In China, on the other hand, the bicycle's ubiquity reflected state-controlled social uniformity. Briefly, it became a symbol of resistance in Tiananmen Square in the 1980s, but crushed by tanks it later turned into a downward marker of class with millions scrapped. In the 21st century, the bicycle is enjoying a global resurgence. It is favoured as a sustainable form of transport, while also reinventing itself as a chic and sportive fashion object, and a generic protest vehicle. With contradictory strands like these, the bicycle's cultural history is a rich subject for cross-cultural study. Beginning with the technical history of the bicycle's invention, and the socio-economic factors that precipitated it, the main focus of this book is the ever-changing cultural significance of the bicycle as an object, and of bicycling as a shifting, but ever popular social practice around the world.As Nicholas Oddy has shown, the original roadster design forces the rider into a a#39; sit up straighta#39; posture, and includes chain ... It is about exercise and speed and intended to appeal to a very different demographic: predominantly young, male and athletic. ... Towards the end of the 20th century, when manual and nonmanual labour were no longer clear demarcations of ... They began to customise old, fattyred Schwinn a#39;clunkersa#39; to compete in fringe cyclocross events in Marin County inanbsp;...

Title:The Bicycle - Towards a Global History
Author:Paul Smethurst
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan - 2015-05-22


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