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Re: Cyclists 200 Years On Wheels By Michael Hutchinson

Release date: 11th February, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Sport

List Price: £8.99
Our Price: £6.99
You Save: £2 (22%)
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Michael Hutchinson’s immersion into what was then a very restricted world of cycling came when his girlfriend’s father lent him a racing bike and suggested he might fancy a spin. “Within about ten miles,” says Hutchinson, “I felt ready to devote the rest of my life to riding bikes,” unequivocal evidence of love at first sight.

It’s clearly a love that has endured as the author’s devotion is soon re-affirmed: “To sit on something as simple and brilliant as a bike is to become a better, faster, nimbler version of yourself,” he writes, crediting this essentially simple machine with an extraordinary power known to anyone who has ever ridden one.

Today, there are, apparently, more than 60 different types of cyclist, from the full-on racer to the more sedate devotee who enjoys nothing more than an easy Sunday morning ride to the local shop. Re: Cyclists will appeal to every type and sub-sector of cycling’s continually expanding family. Even if it’s a while since you last straddled an old fashioned Raleigh, Hutchinson’s engaging manner and humour are likely to ensure you enjoy this entertaining history.

It’s a tale that begins in Indonesia in 1815 and the aftermath of the world’s most powerful-ever volcano when Mount Tambora blew 24 cubic miles of rock, dust and noxious gasses into the air, reducing the mountain’s height by almost 5,000 feet in the process.

Across the world, the following year was labelled “the year without a summer” as crops failed and hundreds of thousands of people died; famine, floods and civil unrest were rife.

Necessity being the mother of invention, it was in Germany that ‘Baron von Drais’ became the “man who accidentally invented the bicycle” as a replacement for his dying horses. The draisine was wooden simplicity itself, but the Baron’s idea soon caught on; the bike was up and running.

The level of detail contained within this introductory anecdote is testament to Hutchinson’s research and remains evident throughout this page-turner of a history. From the sport’s first official race through to a British golden age (1942-59), the impact of Lottery funding (1992-2016) and beyond.

Cycling has become one of the nation’s most popular sports and cyclists across the land will enjoy this well-written history which, in part, explains why.

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