________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 30 . . . . April 5, 2013


Pedal It! How Bicycles Are Changing the World. (Orca Footprints).

Michelle Mulder.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2013.
48 pp., hardcover, pdf, epub, $19.95 (hc).
ISBN 978-1-45980-219-3 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-45980-220-9 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-45980-426-5 (epub).

Subject Heading:
Bicycles-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Sherry Faller.

**** /4

Reviewed from f&g's.



These days, to many people in North America and Europe, bicycles represent not wealth or poverty but good thinking. By using bicycles for what they do best covering short distances quite quickly, saving the need for parking space and encouraging people to be outside and getting exercise people have come to see them as an important part of building community, protecting the environment, promoting fitness and reducing stress. Now that we know cycling is good for both the cyclist and the environment, why not use this old, nonpolluting technology when it works best?

Around the world, people are using bicycles in ways we might never have imagined before. The possibilities might surprise you!

Authors are most successful when they write about a topic with which they are familiar. Michelle Mulder is a bike enthusiast who has written a hugely entertaining and informative nonfiction book about bicycles. After buying her first bike when she was 15 and riding it for 20 years, Mulder is a guru when it comes to bicycles. Her personal experiences found in sections labeled 'On My Route' and photos add to the easy flow of her narrative. She begins with the history of the bicycle including descriptions and archival photos of the walking machine, the boneshaker and the high wheeler. Next invented were bikes with air in the tires to save poor bodies from all the bumps in the road. There are drawings of bike parts and gears and even instructions on how to ride by making the bike become an extension of your body. Flight engineers, like the Wright brothers and Paul B. MacCready, are cited for their use of the bicycle in their early attempts at flight.

internal art      Mulder is clearly a bike promoter. Not only do she and her family ride everywhere, having no family car, but she writes about all the ways in which cycling can help to save the earth. While cars are draining the world's supplies of oil and natural gas, using the bicycle for transportation seems like the obvious solution. Not only used for transporting people, bicycles are used in many countries to transport goods, power other machines like knife sharpeners and to charge batteries. In hard to reach parts of the world, bicycles are even used as ambulances, transporting sick people to hospitals.

      The format of Pedal It! is easy to follow, and interesting facts are on every page. "Quick Bike Fact[s]" are scattered on various pages as well as tracks and drawings of old fashioned bikes and gears. Colour and black and white photos are displayed. Interestingly, many photos were sent to Mulder from all over the world to be included in this book. The websites included at the back of the book offer a chance to contact Bicycles for Humanity and the Bamboo Bike Project, to name only two exciting bicycle projects.

      Hang onto your handlebars! Pedal It! is a must-read for kids and adults alike. Now go dust off your bike!

Highly Recommended.

Sherry Faller is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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