nonfiction nuggets…a bicycle built for nine and other two-wheeled wonders

pedal it cover imagePedal It!: How Bicycles are Changing the World, by Michelle Mulder

Have you ever seen a pet shop on a bike?
How about a bicycle-powered blender making smoothies to go?
Or a load of children going to school on a bicycle bus?

Bicycles are used all over the world. They carry extremely unusual loads, perform tasks from sharpening knives to producing electricity, and act as ambulances, taxis, bakeries, school buses and more. Travel around the world with Michelle Mulder, and learn gobs of incredible, awesome information about bicycles.old-fashioned-bicycle from boston dot com

Mulder is an avid bicyclist, and her love for these machines shines through in many personal anecdotes, as well as compelling stories about the difference a bicycle can make in the lives of so many people, with all sorts of different needs. Beginning with a fascinating history of bicycles, we move on to learn a little about the mechanics involved and some unusual new materials being used to build bikes. Mulder shares lots of amazing stories of the myriad ways bicycles are used as transport and the really unusual services bicycles provide — there’s even a centrifuge powerd by a special bicycle used to from averagejoecyclist dot comtest for anemia in India.

Throughout the book, the bicycle is presented as a useful, economical, environmentally friendly machine that’s fun to ride, and surprisingly helpful all over the globe. Mulder dishes out her information in highly-readable, energizing text, with lots of side bars containing extra cool facts. The pages are laid out beautifully with plenty of excellent photographs. A nice list of books, websites and one movie is included to keep learning more.

 I found this to be an engaging, fascinating book. With a couple of bicycle-enthusiasts in my household, and having lived in West Africa where we certainly saw some from oddstuffmagazine dot comstaggering loads being hauled on bikes, it’s a subject I’m prone to love. I didn’t expect a book on bicycles to have as much of a heart for the world, though, and this does tremendous double duty in that respect. Plus — I learned why the Jolly Postman rides a bicycle! At about 60 friendly pages long, it will hook readers from 10 to adult, and could be shared with younger listeners.

Coming out of Canada…thank you, neighbor!