Motorists are the johny-come-latelies of highway history. This fact is explored at length in ‘Roads Were Not Built For Cars’, an exploration of the fascinating history of roads and the part that cyclists helped in saving them. The coming of the railways killed off the coaching trade and almost all rural roads reverted to low-level local use. Cyclists were the first group in a generation to use roads and were the first to push for high-quality sealed surfaces and were the first to lobby for national funding and leadership for roads.
Without cyclists, motorists wouldn’t have hit the ground running when it came to places to drive this new form of transport.
‘Roads Were Not Built for Cars’ is a history book, focussing on the 1880s and 1890s, a time when cyclists had political clout, in the UK and especially in America. The book researches the Road Improvements Association – a lobbying group created by the CTC in the 1880s – and the Good Roads movement organised by the League of American Wheelmen in the same period.
You can learn more about this e-book in the eight-page pitch below. Click to open the book in page-turning mode. (If you’re accessing this site from an iPad, you’ll see a big white gap, click on the iPad-specific link instead). The e-book will be free: it’s paid for by grants and advertising from bike companies. If you want to get updates on the book, pop your email in the box in the sidebar on the right.