> Skip to content
Play sample
  • Published: 14 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780099593591
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $29.99

Two Wheels Good

The History and Mystery of the Bicycle (Shortlisted for the Sunday Times Sports Book Awards 2023)

A panoramic portrait of the nineteenth-century invention that is transforming our twenty-first century world


'Full of delightful anecdotes and interviews and fascinating historical tales' Mail on Sunday

A panoramic portrait of the wonderous vehicle whose passenger is also its engine.

A toy, a tool, a liberator, or complete nuisance: the bicycle has been many things to many people over the decades, yet it endures as the most popular form of transport in the world. How has such a simple machine achieved so much?

Combining history, travelogue and memoir, Jody Rosen reshapes our understanding of this ubiquitous vehicle from its invention in 1817 to its present-day renaissance as a 'green machine'. Readers meet unforgettable characters: women's suffragists who steered bikes to the barricades in the 1890s, a Bhutanese king who races mountain bikes in the Himalayas, astronauts who ride a floating bicycle in zero gravity.

By examining the bicycle's past and peering into its future, Two Wheels Good forms a joyful ode to an engineering marvel of global importance.

'Funny, precise, surprising' Adam Gopnik

'Love for two-wheeled transport runs through every sentence' Economist

'Wry, rich, deeply researched' Patrick Radden Keefe

  • Published: 14 November 2023
  • ISBN: 9780099593591
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $29.99

Praise for Two Wheels Good

Takes us on a ride-across the centuries and around the globe, through startling history and vivid first-person reporting-offering not just a wry, rich, deeply researched meditation on the bicycle and our relationship to it, but the headlong rush of cruising on two wheels into the unknown

Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain and Say Nothing

The best thing I've ever read on a single subject... With curiosity, conscientiousness, and an exquisitely light touch, [Joden] makes a convincing case that the story of the bike is the story of modern life

Lauren Collins, author of When in French

When I fell in love with riding a bike in New York City last year, what I found myself craving was a history-of the bicycle... that whoever wrote this history would find a way to make it personal and ruminative... Lo and behold: Jody Rosen has written that very book. My wish has come true and a door's been blown open. I got more than I knew I wanted

New York TImes

The stores are filled with books on little things that changed everything, but Jody Rosen's new book offers us a real little thing-the simple bicycle-that really did change everything, from the shape of our streets to the inner life of our imaginations... this is social history as it ought to be written: funny, precise, surprising, anti-dogmatic and unafraid of following a story, brakes off, to wherever the tale might want to glide

Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon

Wide-ranging and inquisitive, Two Wheels Good is like an entire library of books on the bicycle

Lucy Sante, author of Low Life

Love for two-wheeled transport runs through every sentence in the book... anyone who goes about mostly on two wheels, in defiance of the ever larger, ever more numerous powered vehicles on the road, will enjoy this entertaining ride.


Comprehensive . . . [Two Wheels Good] often feels like a leisurely ride, full of spontaneous detours into unexpected delight. But what makes the book essential is its rigorous reporting

The Atlantic

[A] complex cultural history. . . . The strength of Two Wheels Good is the journalist's eye [Rosen] brings to a basic technology that has had radically disparate identities at different times and in different parts of the world


A lively biography of a tool central to the greening of urban spaces. It's also a fascinating, sweeping everyday explainer, moving from the bike's 19th-century origins to its importance globally

Chicago Tribune

The engaging tone of Rosen's memoir-travelogue-history is the grim cheerfulness of the urban cyclist. He gives a vivid sense of the cinematic pleasures of cycling through a city.


Full of delightful anecdotes and interviews, and fascinating historical tales, Two Wheels Good will expand your understanding of what a bicycle is and what it can do

Mail on Sunday

An enthralling overview of a quiet transport revolution

History Today

The bicycle has been loved and loathed... Rosen's vibrant history explores it all

BBC History Magazine

A terrific book... Rosen covers all the aspects of cycling you could imagine

Reader's Digest

Two Wheels Good is full of interesting moments...and is often written with real verve... his [Rosen's] enthusiasm for what is sometimes described as mankind's "noblest invention" is infectious

Times Literary Supplement

A jovial historical narrative ... Rosen rightly get us to expand our narrow Western image of the bicycle to a global perspective [and] is skilled yet selective in navigating the complex and rich history of the bicycle, taking us across continents and through centuries ... a thoroughly enjoyable, and sometimes surprising read



Cycling Weekly