Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle

Books on Tape. May 2022. 12:50 hrs. ISBN 9780593210338. $95. HIST
Told through excerpts from old letters, anecdotes, newspapers, political cartoons, etc., this is journalist Rosen’s (White Christmas: The Story of an American Song) vibrant homage to the bicycle. The origin of the bicycle is a matter of national pride. Google “father of the bicycle,” and you will find a whole page of results that all attribute the coveted title to a different person, often from a different country than the previous person. The bicycle is indicative of the political and economic history of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its rise coincided with the industrial revolution, mounting class warfare and racial tension, and progress overall. It has adapted and evolved over the decades as countries urbanized and grew more interconnected. Sean Patrick Hopkins’s narration and Rosen’s writing work well together, making the audiobook a fun and entertaining listen.
VERDICT Although the middle section is slightly bogged down by newspaper clippings strung together in a row, and longtime readers of the New York Times might recognize some of Rosen’s previous articles reappearing as chapters in here, this is nevertheless a good purchase.
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