A two-wheeled sensation is sweeping the nation: The bicycle.
It's not new and it's not high-tech, but people are falling in love with the 19th-century invention all over again.
Patrick Stephenson, a founder of the 30 Days of Biking movement, host of the bike podcast Pedal Hub (and an MPR employee), calls it "the big shift": Bicycling is changing from a sport or hobby into a way of life.
More and more people are integrating bicycles into their daily routines, as the National Household Travel Survey showed: The number of trips made by bicycle jumped from 1.7 billion in 2004 to 4 billion in 2009.
• The Thread: Stories for books and readers
As bike fever hits a high point, so have the tensions between bicyclists and motorists. In our roundup of books about biking, we cover everything from conflicts on the road to cross-country journeys. And there's a little something for the kids, too.
10 great books on biking
1) "Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road" by James Longhurst
Prepare to dive into 150 years of bike lane battles. Longhurst, a historian, starts all the way back in the 1870s to explain how modern bike policy has developed.
"Tensions on the road aren't new," said Stephenson, when recommending this book. "In the beginning, bikes were fighting for space with horses and buggies."
2) "Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey Across America" by Brian Benson
This book comes endorsed by the reigning expert in soul-searching journeys: Cheryl Strayed, of "Wild" fame.
Strayed called it "a take-it-with-you-everywhere-you-go-until-you've-read-the-last-page beauty of a book." In the memoir, Benson and his girlfriend takes a cross-country trip by bike from Wisconsin to Oregon.
The book explores "bicycles as a vehicle for self-discovery," Stephenson said.
3) "Bicycle! A Repair & Maintenance Manifesto" by Sam Tracy
The book promises to hold "everything you need to know to feed and care for you own swank, two-wheeled ride." Tracy, a bike mechanic, has pedaled through more than 15 snowy Minnesota winters. He's also put in his time on the hills of San Francisco. His book is not your standard repair manual — it comes with healthy dose of commentary.
The book comes recommended by Brian Fanelli, who volunteers at Boneshaker Books in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. Boneshaker actually has a bike delivery service for special orders — so if you want to get your bike book by bike, that's the place.
4) "Major Taylor" by Conrad Kerber and Terry Kerber
In 1907, Major Taylor was the most popular athlete in the world — yet today, few people remember the name.
Taylor was a black bicycle racer who rode to incredible fame and success, in spite of the rampant racism he faced at every turn. In "Major Taylor," the authors bring a legend back into the much-deserved spotlight.
5) "In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist" by Pete Jordan
Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, and Jordan fell for it — hard. In his memoir, he writes about his love affair with the city, weaving in stories about Amsterdam's cycling history.
6) "Cyclepedia: A Century of Iconic Bicycle Design" by Michael Embacher
Design lovers, prepare to drool. This coffee table book features 100 stunning bicycles, from modern racers to bizarre curiosities. (Winter bikers take note: There's a bike designed for ice.)
Embacher's personal bicycle collection is one of the largest in the world, and the book showcases his sleek and strange acquisitions.
7) "Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling" by BikeSnobNYC
This book comes from the anonymous blogger dubbed "BikeSnob," who has unleashed his acid wit on the biking world.
A cyclist and former bike messenger himself, the author pokes fun at two-wheeled stereotypes, like the fixie-riding hipster, but he does it from a place of love.
8) "Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)" by Sue MacyAges 10 and up
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling," Susan B. Anthony once said. "I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance."
"Wheels of Change" takes a cue from Anthony and rolls through the history of women and biking, with cartoons, songs and vintage photographs included in the book.
9) "Along a Long Road" by Frank VivaAges 3 to 6
This is a book of few words, but the striking illustrations tell the story of a beautiful bike ride. The Boston Globe proclaimed,"This is one of those rare picture books that deserves a place not only on a child's bookshelf but in an art museum."
10) "Gracie Goat's Big Bike Race" By Erin MirabellaAges 4 to 8
Mirabella knows bikes: The author is also a cyclist, who represented the U.S. in two Olympic Games.
In "Gracie," she tells the story of young goat too scared to ride her bike — until Grandma steps in.
And, if you can wait until November, check out "Urban Cycling: How to Get to Work, Save Money and Use Your Bike for City Living" by Madi Carlson.
The book is a guide for what Carlson calls the "Interested But Concerned" category of would-be bikers — those who want to make a change, but have questions about the rules of the road or fears about traffic.
Also, this may not be a book, but it does involve stories: Brian Fanelli runs "Spinning Stories," a local storytelling series that takes place by bike. At each event, a storyteller leads the audience on a bike adventure past locations that connect to the tale.
• Pedal Hub: Taking storytelling for a spin
What's your favorite book on biking? Tell us what two-wheeled tomes we shouldn't miss in the comments below, or share recommendations on Twitter @thethreadmpr.