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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: After posting full answer to question in OP, select here
Cyclecraft by John Franklin 1 2.63%
Effective Cycling by John Forester 5 13.16%
Streetsmarts by John S. Allen 2 5.26%
Urban Bikers' Tips and Tricks by Dave Glowacz 1 2.63%
Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst 11 28.95%
Other book (see post) 4 10.53%
Of the books on traffic cycling I've read, none have helped. (see post) 1 2.63%
I've never read any books on traffic cycling. 13 34.21%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-15-06, 11:08 AM   #1
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Which book help you the most with traffic cycling?

Please list all of the books on traffic cycling that you have read, and note the one that helped you improve your traffic cycling the most.

After posting, select the one book that helped you the most in the poll's list.
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Old 04-15-06, 11:52 AM   #2
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I read what I read and condense it to useable forms in my mind. I take what there is to be taken, and discard the rest. Then I reread at a later time; sometimes the discarded stuff gains in importance and the formerly valuable stuff lessens its luster. What is important changes as my life changes. Sometimes I am in a certain mood, or have a certain problem, and some book is better than another. Such as now; I gain more from Hurst's book than any other. I know the techniques; I want to know about the philosophy and making commuting less of a bull fight and more of an everyday thing. Hurst talks about that; more instructional books don't. Eight years ago, Forester's book was sacrosanct; I didn't know the techniques and I wanted to learn.

Other books are good as well. The Immortal Class is a good read; getting into the "why" of cycling from the pros which are on their bikes for 5 days a week, 10 hours a day, every working week of the year. He talks about the "exposure principle" and what it means to be interacting with cars all day long. Helpful when I had a long commute over narrow, rural roads and was getting stressed out with all the car interactions.

Heft on Wheels is another good read from a guy who used a maniac cycling schedule to lose 75 lbs over a summer. Not only cycling, but changing your life and your habits in a permanent way.

Even the internet has good reading on cycling. Cycling is more than about legalistic techniques and vehicular cycling. I am past that. I use vehicular cycling as a tool. Once you are familiar enough with the tool, you stop thinking so much about it. After all, do you still read the instructional manual of a philips head screwdriver? There was a time when that was new too, solving the problem of always needing the screwdriver perfectly in line with the screw.

A short story called The Quitter reminds me of why I enjoy cycling.

A site called Bike Reader has tons of good essays from talented writers, running the gauntlet of "right to the road" type essays to "zen of bike racing" essays.

There are books and essays which I return to constantly, rereading them periodically; they are like good friends. There is no, one, best I can pick out from my library. And there is no one book I would consider "the ultimate bible" on cycling technique, phychology, physiology, or philosophy. Each has little tidbits which resonate with my experiences; though I remember all. As my experiences change, different tidbits from different books start resonating. There is no big light which goes on over my head and causes me to worship a particular author and set him head and shoulders above the rest. Knowledge from what I read goes into a big vat; those bits which resonate float to the top. Those bits which don't sink, not to be forgotten; but if one all of the sudden becomes very relevent again, it comes shooting back to the surface.
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Old 04-15-06, 12:07 PM   #3
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I dont feel a need to read books by other people on traffic cycling.
What makes the authors experience or opinions any more valid than
mine or anyone else who posts here ? I believe it is ludacris to think
what is going to work for rider "A" is unconditionally going to work for
rider "B". Geographic / infrastructural differences, prevailing attitudes
of the regions road users, etc etc make it impossible to tell someone
else how they should be riding. For instance, having lived a few places
on the East Coast and 41 years of riding there.....I feel it safe to say
that what works here in Vermont will at least get you beat up by a
car load of IROQ-Z kiddies in South Philly. I have read enuff stuff here
and in cycling publications to feel that the authors writings are almost
an exersice in arrogance more than reality. I know this will be interpritted
differently than I meant it to, but it is not meant to be inflammatory.....
Just another opinion.
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Old 04-15-06, 12:20 PM   #4
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I think you probably should have allowed for multiple selections. At anyrate, I've read quite a few books and most of them seem long-winded. The reading materials that have helped me the most include.
  • State-provided rules of the road as this allows me to understand what drivers are being taught.
  • NTSB, IHTSA and other government reports/studies detailing cycling incidents
  • Internet sites such as those from the late Ken Kifer

I usually am able to take away a little gem of wisdom from each book or publication I've read but the one single book that's provided me with the most information was The Bicycle Commuting Book by Rob Van der Plas. The book itself is pretty slim and a quick read. About a third of it is dedicated to equipment choice, usage and maintenance. Another third is devoted to riding technique. And the last third decribes traffic negotiation. The last part is maybe 20 pages or so but adequately arms the typical cyclist with enough information to handle the majority of traffic situations. The copy I have is pretty old. I think it dates back to 1990 or so but the traffic safety section is still quite relevant.
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Old 04-15-06, 12:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
I dont feel a need to read books by other people on traffic cycling.
What makes the authors experience or opinions any more valid than
mine or anyone else who posts here ? I believe it is ludacris to think
what is going to work for rider "A" is unconditionally going to work for
rider "B". Geographic / infrastructural differences, prevailing attitudes
of the regions road users, etc etc make it impossible to tell someone
else how they should be riding. For instance, having lived a few places
on the East Coast and 41 years of riding there.....I feel it safe to say
that what works here in Vermont will at least get you beat up by a
car load of IROQ-Z kiddies in South Philly. I have read enuff stuff here
and in cycling publications to feel that the authors writings are almost
an exersice in arrogance more than reality. I know this will be interpritted
differently than I meant it to, but it is not meant to be inflammatory.....
Just another opinion.
Ignorance is bliss.

Just another opinion.
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Old 04-15-06, 12:26 PM   #6
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http://bicyclesafe.com/
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Old 04-15-06, 12:27 PM   #7
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^^^^ HH, You make my point, concisely.
Ego over reality. Why are VC proponents sooooo
unable to look outside of thier own tiny, tiny sphere of reality ?

.::EDIT::. Why is it so unfathomable to believe that some people
dont share the same militaristic obsession to a cause and dont see
a need to ?
Im a vegitarian....Should I be militantly taking everyone on the board
to task for not obsessing over my personal agendas ??
After all...a vegitarian rider is going to be a more fit and able rider. Right ?
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Old 04-15-06, 12:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
Why are VC proponents sooooo unable to look outside of thier own tiny, tiny sphere of reality ?
Lem, you got it right, except for the 'reality' part. IMO, mostly fantasy.

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Old 04-15-06, 12:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
^^^^ HH, You make my point, concisely.
Ego over reality. Why are VC proponents sooooo
unable to look outside of thier own tiny, tiny sphere of reality ?
Why are you still beating your wife?

What I mean is that your question ASSumes that VC proponents are unable to look outside of their own tiny, tiny sphere of reality, which is an absurd premise for which you have no basis.


Quote:
Why is it so unfathomable to believe that some people dont share the same militaristic obsession to a cause and dont see a need to ?
What makes you think it's unfathomable to anyone? Ignorance is rampant.


Quote:
Im a vegitarian....Should I be militantly taking everyone on the board
to task for not obsessing over my personal agendas ??
No. By the way, last I checked this was a thread that I started.


Quote:
After all...a vegitarian rider is going to be a more fit and able rider. Right ?
Not necessarily.
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Old 04-15-06, 01:44 PM   #10
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^^^^^ "What I mean is that your question ASSumes that VC proponents are unable to look outside of their own tiny, tiny sphere of reality, which is an absurd premise for which you have no basis."

And, once again......you prove this point perfectly.

"What makes you think it's unfathomable to anyone? Ignorance is rampant"

Not anyone....just militantly obsessed VC proponents (small minority) as my post clearly states.

"No. By the way, last I checked this was a thread that I started.
Not necessarily"


The same understanding of sarcasm as of reality. None.

"Why are you still beating your wife?"

Childish, Totally uncalled for. You have lost any credability you may previously have
had as a worthwhile poster.

Have a great day.
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Old 04-15-06, 01:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
Having lived a few places on the East Coast and 41 years of riding there.....I feel it safe to say that what works here in Vermont will at least get you beat up by a car load of IROQ-Z kiddies in South Philly.
Just another opinion.
Certainly an intelligent opinion too and worth considering. Though my opinion was that I was not worried about IROQ-Z kiddies in South Philly (a little after my time, since I left Philadelphia cycle commuting in 1976 except for visits back to see relatives or my daughter in College).

In fact I had few worries from motorists on the city streets and I didn't find it necessary to show my ignorance by cycling on the River Drives instead of the adjacent MUP. I was concerned with the bored local gentry lounging around the corner especially if a State Store (liqueur and wine distributer in PA) was nearby. I cycled through every neighborhood of Philly, including South Philly since I frequently cycled at night to the Spectrum and Vet's Stadium from West Oak Lane for basketball and baseball games. Day trips to South Philly were a must every week to pick up good cheese in the Italian Market and to enjoy the atmosphere back when it was Italian.

I laugh to think of Sir Alpha Dog, the blissful know-it-all, practicing his book learned control techniques with steely eyed gazes as he lawfully waited for lights to change and came to full stops at traffic controls in the hood infested 'hoods.
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Old 04-15-06, 01:54 PM   #12
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^^^
Thank you....

Where does you Daughter go ? My son goes to Cabrini in Radnor...

Back to the subject at hand....There are threads in the fixed forum about how
hostile Philly streets are. I had a bottle thrown at me on my motorcycle, totally
unprovoked. You cannot go by 'rules' or what should be right in this type of environment.
If HH thinks this mentality can be changed he should be over in Iran brokering peace,
not enlightening us poor, ignorant proles on this board.
Also....the MUP's have gotten totally unrideable. The sidewalk syndrome x 10
Accidents and hostilities waiting to happen.
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Old 04-15-06, 03:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
The same understanding of sarcasm as of reality. None.

"Why are you still beating your wife?"

Childish, Totally uncalled for. You have lost any credability you may previously have
had as a worthwhile poster.

Have a great day.
Are you not familiar with common usage of, Are you still beating your wife?, as the quintessential loaded question? No offense was intended.
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Old 04-15-06, 04:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
^^^
Thank you....

Where does you Daughter go ? My son goes to Cabrini in Radnor...
Also....the MUP's have gotten totally unrideable. The sidewalk syndrome x 10
Accidents and hostilities waiting to happen.
My daughter graduates from Drexel this year, her twin brother also just graduated from a private college. Maybe I'll think about retiring; since i've got both the time and seniority and have had it for the last two years.

'Tis a pity if the MUP has deteriorated that badly. I noticed scads more joggers than the 70's but not that many more cyclists and none seemed nutty about going faster than conditions allowed. And now at least the West River Drive is closed at least one weekend day every week for recreational cyclists. I can only speculate if the club riding peloton boys complain about all those "incompetent cyclists" getting in the way on "their" road now. Probably don't dive out of the way when the command "on your left" is bellowed at them. Of course neither do motorists.

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Old 04-15-06, 04:48 PM   #15
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I've read many books on bicycling over the years. But I've learned more from other bicyclists and from experience than could ever be learned from books.

Books I've recommended to others are:
"Fever Pitch" by Nick Hornby
"The Grass of Another Country" by Chrisopher Merrill

Neither of them has anything to do with bicycling but I've enjoyed reading them so they enriched my cycling experience indirectly. The second one is pretty dated; the first one is a classic that never gets old. In fact, maybe I'll read that again. If I knew of a bicycling equivalent of Fever Pitch, I'd certainly recommend that.

When asked to recommend a book about cycling technique, I tell people Street Smarts by John S. Allen.
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Old 04-15-06, 06:30 PM   #16
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I've read and enjoyed Nick Hornby's How to be Good. I'll have to look for Fever Pitch.
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Old 04-15-06, 07:28 PM   #17
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I would think that if any cyclists get info about cycling at all it's not from books. Possibly it is from magazines, but those are as targeted to the elite (i.e. people with college degrees and/or disposable income) as any book would be. Most magazines targeted to a particular interest are more about selling you more gear than about any kind of real information or education.

If anybody truly cared about reaching the common man with bicycle riding instruction they would print the info on the side of beer cans and take-out coffee cups.

But let's get real The idea that anybody needs to study a book to understand how to ride a bike in traffic--that anybody would even suggest an idea like that--indicates elitism to the extreme.
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Old 04-15-06, 08:35 PM   #18
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Serge,

As I've stated many times I gained my knowledge of urban cycling through decades of.... urban cycling. My question would be, what books did all of these authors read? Oh, that's right, none. The authors gained their cycling knowledge through experience, not from a book, or armchair pontificating. These are not holy texts, just compilations of personal experiences. At their hearts they are fairly valid and insightful, but as I said earlier they are also jargon-filled and needlessly long winded. But you don't make much money selling clearly written pamphlets.
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Old 04-15-06, 08:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
But let's get real The idea that anybody needs to study a book to understand how to ride a bike in traffic--that anybody would even suggest an idea like that--indicates elitism to the extreme.
I'll get even more real. Seriously suggesting this "notion" of an idea indicates a bad case of naïveté, doofism, or downright stupidity.

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Old 04-15-06, 08:52 PM   #20
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I voted "other".

I will be authoring a book called "Neck Punch". Oh it'll be great!
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Old 04-15-06, 09:05 PM   #21
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We should start a bikeforums book group. Rule #1: No books about cycling will be read by the group.

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Old 04-15-06, 09:37 PM   #22
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I've only read Hurst's book, which I think is excellent. A very well-written, sensible book with a lot of neat history thrown in. (I had no idea who Major Taylor was before I read this book.) Apparently Hurst posts on these forums now, which is very cool.

I will probably continue to avoid Forester like the plague, due to the constant trolling by his snivelling acolytes on this forum. I mostly do cycle "vehicularly" and follow the laws of the road, the ones that make sense for bicycles, anyway, but I have no interest in joining this VC-fundamentalist club I keep encountering here. Kind of ironic Serge would criticize Lem for asking a loaded question, when literally every single thread he posts has a semantically loaded question as it's title. Check out these threads if you don't believe me... http://www.bikeforums.net/search.php?searchid=2323150
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Old 04-15-06, 09:39 PM   #23
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For extra points: Bump ALL of Serge's threads. That should stir up a minor sh!tstorm...


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Old 04-15-06, 09:53 PM   #24
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For extra points: Bump ALL of Serge's threads. That should stir up a minor sh!tstorm...

Not necessary. Read one you read 'em all. The bottom line: Buy the Book or die!
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Old 04-16-06, 08:41 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
Back to the subject at hand....There are threads in the fixed forum about how
hostile Philly streets are. I had a bottle thrown at me on my motorcycle, totally
unprovoked. You cannot go by 'rules' or what should be right in this type of environment.
If HH thinks this mentality can be changed he should be over in Iran brokering peace,
not enlightening us poor, ignorant proles on this board.
Also....the MUP's have gotten totally unrideable. The sidewalk syndrome x 10
Accidents and hostilities waiting to happen.
I had my life threatened for trying to parallel park and coming close to backing into someone's car (who failed to realize that I was moving in reverse the whole time when he pulled up behind me) and I was involved in a hit and run (again while driving). In both cases I was following "the rules" but I don't see how bending "the rules" would have changed anything in either situation or when you had a bottle thrown at you.

Do you really consider the city of Philly that lawless that one needs to break laws to survive? I've seen the same or worse outside of the city. At least we agree on the MUP's.
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