02 November 2006


Yale University Press, £20 (£18); 0-300-10418-9

This poster by Edward Penfield (right), dating from 1897, for a firm that took up motor-cycle production when the boom in bicycles began to peter out, is one of many illustrations in a splendid history of cycling, which records the decades of development that transformed the basic machine into a marvel of engineeringThe bicycle, says the author, was the culmination of a long quest for a “machine or carriage for travelling, without horses or other animals to drag it”, as a journalist wrote in 1819. The book ends with the possibility of an “ebike”, powered by electricity

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