This book examines the surging national interest in bike-friendly public policies and argues that this growth is likely to escalate. Currents in U.S. culture that have supported the dominance of the car are edging toward exhaustion. At the same time, other factors including congestion, contentious and unreliable energy resources, rising pollution, and global warming support the expansion of the bike's use. A surprising array of political organizations, visionary politicians, and colorful individuals powers this movement.
“This is vital reading for anyone with an interest in environmental issues, community action, or grassroots politics. Highly recommended.”
“Whereas the preponderance of cycle books currently in print deals with either its recreational or mechanical aspects, Pedal Power is the first to make a comprehensive case for bicycling’s acceptance as mainstream rather than fringe. … [The book] is persuasive in repositioning the conception of bicycling less in sentimental or iconic terms, and more as an essential vehicle of choice for the 21st-century green era. It is a credible effort, and one hopes that a large audience outside the circle of the bicycling community will be sufficiently inspired to integrate bicycling into its mode of living and life values.”
—Martin Zimmerman in Urban Land (July 2008)
“Wray aptly illustrates the struggle faced by those promoting the bicycle as a viable transportation alternative. … [he] provides bicycle advocates a template for understanding and organizing cycling interests so they can address concerns at the local, state, and federal levels. Pedal Power should be required reading for cycling advocates for the insight it provides to the issues, personalities, and projects that have shaped, and will continue to shape, the state of American bicycling.”
—Bradley Beck, Out There Monthly
“Pedal Power is an uplifting read that tells the stories of people, organizations, and a movement whose time is rapidly approaching. When the aberrations of the automobile age have passed, we will wonder how we ever lost the common humanity, simplicity and love of life embodied in the heroes so delightfully profiled in Harry Wray’s insightful book. Thank you, Harry Wray, for telling the stories of unsung but true American heroes who gently challenge conventional wisdom and eschew cultural norms.”
—Andy Clarke, League of American Bicyclists
"From improving air quality, overcoming social isolation, reducing carbon emissions, improving fitness . . . the bicycle solves more problems than any other technology I know. Harry Wray has the story right and tells it well. Pedal Power is a book for cyclists, moms, dads, policy wonks, and everyone who wants to solve many problems while creating none."
—David Orr, Oberlin College
"What an original and refreshing book! Wray deftly interweaves his own and others' experiences as bicycling enthusiasts with insights from political philosophy and American socio-political history to generate a compelling account of what bicycling can mean for America's future."
—Elaine B. Sharp, University of Kansas
Introduction Chapter 1 Contrasting Visions: The Bike Saddle versus the Car Seat and Why It Matters Politically Chapter 2 Biking in Amsterdam: The Politics of the Possible Chapter 3 Culture Storm Individualism and Materialism The American Experience American Dreamers The Gathering Culture Storm Tarnished Dreams Chapter 4 Biking Eccentrics: Who Are These Folks, Anyway? Randy Neufeld: The Pioneer Alex Wilson: The Saint Gin Kilgore and Michael Burton: Love Me, Love My Bike Jane Healy: Biker Mama Chapter 5 Building the Case: The Politics Advocates National Organizations Local Organizations Chapter 6 Pushing the Envelope: Populist Politics Critical Mass Shift (to Bikes) Chitown Cruisers The Rat Patrol Bike Clubs Chapter 7 Politicians Who Matter James Oberstar Earl Blumenauer Anne Paulsen Jerry Abramson Chapter 8 Metapolitics, Minibikes A Global Warming Primer Can We Respond? Not If… The Kyoto Protocol and Self-Interest Pedaling into a Future Chapter 9 Pedaling into the Future