Motorists are the johnny-come-latelies of highway history. The coming of the railways in the 1830s killed off the stage-coach trade; 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 a time when cyclists had political clout, in Britain and especially in America. The book researches the Road Improvements Association – a lobbying group created by the Cyclists’ Touring Club in the 1880s – and the Good Roads movement organised by the League of American Wheelmen in the same period.
The book will be published in April 2012 and, thanks to research grants and advertising support, will be free to read online and free to download to Kindles, iPads, iPhones and other e-book readers. The free distribution model will be used in order to get the book seen by as many eyes as possible.