Carlton Reid, the executive editor of BikeBiz, started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign at 9pm last night. It still has 29 days to run but reached its funding target at 5pm today.
"I’m staggered at how quickly the funding was raised," said Reid. "And humbled. It’s very gratifying to have so much concrete support for my book. It makes all the hard work worthwhile."
The funding target was reached when Reid was at the Modern Records Centre at Warwick University, rifling through the CTC archives.
The funding target may have been reached but the campaign still has to run for a full month. It’s highly likely the book could raise double what Reid was hoping it would raise.
"I now have to think of ‘stretch goals’ for the campaign," said Reid, referring to the projects that successful Kickstarter campaigns tend to add once initial funding has been reached.
Reid has been researching ‘Roads Were Not Built For Cars’ for two years. It is a history book exploring the role of Victorian cyclists in improving highways for everybody.
"Cyclists were written out of highway history in the 1920s and 1930s by the all-powerful motor lobby," said Reid. "Roads Were Not Built For Cars tells the real story, putting cyclists centre stage again."
Reid’s Roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com has published articles on the dandy-horse era right through to the Dutch-style cycle infrastructure of Stevenage in the 1970s. This last article is the site’s most popular and shows that ‘build it and they will come’ may not work in the UK without curbing car use.
Thanks to trade advertising from Tern, Brompton, Chain Reaction Cycles, Muc-Off and other companies a text-only PDF of ‘Roads Were Not Built For Cars’ will be available for free via the book’s website but not until the winter. The print and interactive books will be available in August. The Kickstarter campaign is still taking pre-orders for paperbacks, full-colour hardbacks and interactive iPad and Kindle books.
The book will contain profiles of highway governance pioneers such as Horatio Earle of the US and William Rees Jeffreys of the UK. They are best known today as arch-motorists but they both learned their craft as officials in bicycle advocacy organisations in the 1890s. They pushed for better road surfaces long before they became motorists. Both went on to become very influential proponents of motoring but neither forgot the critical role played by cyclists.
Cycle campaigners lobbied for better roads 25 years before motorists did the same. The CTC, and the forerunner to British Cycling, founded the Roads Improvement Association in 1885. In America the Good Roads was founded by the League of American Wheelmen in the same period.