As well as a front cover shot of a rather enterprising South African cyclist, the Teacher magazine waxes lyrical about the multi-disciplinary nature of bicycles.
In a box out on ‘curriculum tips’, TES experts outline the subjects that could benefit from pedal-powered insights. These subjects include history ("list all the ways in which the bicycle created and fostered freedom and directly or indirectly led to radical thoughts and actions…"); modern foreign languages ("the Tour de France provides scope for teaching geography, dates and numbers…"); art ("explore the drama of the cycle race emphasising crowds, speed, colourful banners…"); primary techology ("investigate gears and the way toothed wheels make one shaft turn another…"); maths ("make a collection of bicycle tyres…investigate radius, diameter and circumference…"); and science ("why do Olympic cyclists wear the helmets they do?").
The four page piece is also very strong on the role of the bicycle in the emancipation of women at the end of the 19th century, a usually overlooked part of history.
The piece includes the (famous in cycle advocacy circles) quote of US women’s activist Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), one of the leading lights in the American women’s rights movement:
"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance."
And, bicycles could be seen as more than just agents of social change, they were ‘marital aids’ that expanded the gene pool, said the article:
"It’s even been suggested that the bicycle made us all cleverer because, with its aid, boys and girls could more easily meet and marry partners from outside their immediate area, thus widening the genetic background of their descendents."
Go get your own copy of the TES, it costs just £1.20. Show it to every teacher you know and let’s get cycling into the classroom!
PIC: "Discuss with pupils…the painting by Fernand Leger, ‘Leisure Homage to Louis David’…"