Invisible Bicycle

Parallel Histories and Different Timelines


The Invisible Bicycle brings together different insights into the social, cultural and economic history of the bicycle and cycling in historical eras of ubiquitous bicycle use that have remained relatively invisible in bicycle history. It revisits the typical timeline of cycling’s decline in the 1950s and 1960s and the renaissance beginning in the 1970s by bringing forth the large national and local variations, varying uses and images of the bicycle, and different bicycle cultures as well as their historical background and motivations. To understand the role, possibilities and challenges of the bicycle today, it is necessary to know the history that has formed them. Therefore The Invisible Bicycle is recommended also to present-day practitioners and planners of bicycle mobility.

Contributors are: Peter Cox, Martin Emanuel, Tiina Männistö-Funk, Timo Myllyntaus, Nicholas Oddy, Harry Oosterhuis, William Steele, Manuel Stoffers, Sue-Yen Tjong Tjin Tai, Frank Veraart.
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Biographical Note

Tiina Männistö-Funk, Ph.D. (2014) is a historian of technology currently working as a researcher at the Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. She has published on bicycle history in Technology and Culture, Transfers, ICON, Cycle history, Tekniikan Waiheita and edited volumes.

Timo Myllyntaus (Ph.D. 1989, LSE, UK) is Professor of Economic and Social History at Turku School of Economics, Finland. He has published extensively on history of technology and environmental history. His edited volumes include Thinking through the Environment (Cambridge 2011).

Table of contents

Timo Myllyntaus

List of Illustrations, Graphs and Tables
Note on Contributors

1 Introduction: The Historical Production of the Invisible and Visible Bicycles
Tiina Männistö-Funk

part 1: Discourses and Materialities of the Bicycle

2 Rethinking Bicycle Histories
Peter Cox

3 Entrenched Habit or Fringe Mode: Comparing National Bicycle Policies, Cultures and Histories
Harry Oosterhuis

part 2: Political and Economic Shaping of the Bicycle

4 Waves of Cycling Policy: Policies of Cycling, Mobility, and Urban Planning in Stockholm since 1970
Martin Emanuel

5 Making the Bicycle Dutch: The Development of the Bicycle Industry in the Netherlands, 1860–1940
Sue-Yen Tjong Tjin Tai & Frank Veraart

Part 3 : Bicycle in the Practices

6 Betting on the Wheel: The Bicycle and Japan’s Post-War Recovery
M. William Steele

7 Modernizing the Bicycle: The International Human-Powered Vehicle Movement and the “Bicycle Renaissance” since the 1970s
Manuel Stoffers

8 History, Tweed and the Invisible Bicycle
Nicholas Oddy



Bicycle historians, cyclists, transport historians, cultural historians, historians of technology, economic and social historians, urban planners, policy makers and other practitioners interested in bicycle mobility and promotion.


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