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Cycling Books That Actually Make Sense

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Cycling Books That Actually Make Sense

Old 03-14-15, 07:24 AM
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Crawford53
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Cycling Books That Actually Make Sense

Hello all, happy pi day! I work at a bookstore, and see all sorts of bike books pass through, but yesterday I came across two that totally made sense for my type of riding/bike-love and I thought they might appeal to your sensibilities as well!

The first is by the founder of Rivendell, it's called "Just Ride". It took me all of 3 hours to read it cover to cover, and it was brilliant. The basic behind the book is to uncoil the influence of modern pro racing from bicycle culture. He looks to kids as the ultimate "Unracers," enjoying bikes on a base level and unconcerned about the efficiency or status bump.

The second was "Bike Snob," which I thought I was going to thoroughly hate but it turns out that he is following the same idea of expanding the definition of a cyclist from the idea that marketing and industry would like to force (pro-level riders and equipment are necessary) to a more inclusive definition of anyone who loves to ride bikes and does so even when it isn't necessary.

I think I was most happy about the fact that there were two books published recently which highlighted the turnaround I've been experiencing and hoping for the cycling community. It isn't a secret that I have only felt comfortable in one LBS, ever, and have remained loyal to them despite the 2hr drive time to get there because they understand the value in encouraging cyclists of all manners. They have all your expected brand spanking new pro-influenced bikes, but they also have rooms full of used bikes, vintage rebuilds, alt bikes and PARTS.

I've included links to the books I mentioned, hopefully you'll check them out. They made my day.
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Old 03-14-15, 08:10 AM
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Bike Snob has been around a while. I haven't read his books (I think there's three) but go here everyday: Bike Snob NYC
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Old 03-14-15, 10:48 AM
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I enjoy Snobbie's blog and liked his first book a lot. By the time I read his second book I felt i was just re-reading the blog and the first book; can't remember if I finished it...


Originally Posted by Crawford53 View Post
It isn't a secret that I have only felt comfortable in one LBS... They have all your expected brand spanking new pro-influenced bikes, but they also have rooms full of used bikes, vintage rebuilds, alt bikes and PARTS.
That sounds like a really cool shop. The ones around here are too small for that kind of diversity; though the one across the street from where I work has a deep and wide selection of vintage "junk" small parts and a guy who's been there forever and will take the time to dig through and find what I need - usually free of charge! I've never actually bought a bike from them (duh - they don't sell vintage bikes), but I make sure I get things like tubes, tire levers, a wheel set, etc every now and then.
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Old 03-14-15, 11:04 AM
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On the other end of the spectrum is "The Rider" by Tim Krabbé, which gets into the head of a road racer in the late 70's. Great stuff if you're into C&V race tactics.
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Old 03-14-15, 11:52 AM
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I have a copy of Bike Snob. Don't know about first or second or Nth book by him, just this one. It is a fun read but it sure likes to wallow in stereotypes, which is what it is all about. If you want a book that loudly celebrates the joy of living and bike travel, which is admittedly not the same as day-riding for enjoyment, try Travels With Willy by Willy Weir.
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Old 03-14-15, 12:32 PM
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I rarely buy cycling books or magazines any more, there's more than enough to read online for free, but I recently bought a copy of "Anatomy, Stretching and Training for Cyclists" by Lisa Purcell. Not a C&V book but as an aging cyclist I find the stretches shown to be very useful.
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Old 03-14-15, 01:39 PM
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No Hands, the history of the Schwinn Bicycles Company (or something like that) Interesting book.

The History of Raleigh is pretty good, but much more textbook like.

When I read "it's not about the Bike" by that amped up racer and ghost writer, I felt that he was cheating right there based on the explanation of the periodic doping tests and his attitude toward them. Took a while to be confirmed!

Sloane's Complete Book of Bicycling is one worth buying if you find it at a used book store, it really solidified the American interest in Lightweight bicycles, and had a number of reprintings before being revised.
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Old 03-14-15, 02:05 PM
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Simon Burney's 3 editions of his Cyclo cross Coaching Books are pretty fact and experience Based ..

The Brompton Bike Book has History in it.. I Learned there was once a folding big wheel Penny Farthing ..
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Old 03-14-15, 02:14 PM
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Classic!

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Old 03-14-15, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
When I read "it's not about the Bike" by that amped up racer and ghost writer...
That reminds me. It's All About the Bike by Robert Penn, a fascinating discussion of bikes and components and history and the author's effort to build the ideal custom bike. As he admits, he is being a bit cheeky to run counter to Mr. A but since the bike is the essential ingredient for cycling is really is about the bike after all. Marvelous little book.
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Old 03-14-15, 04:07 PM
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if you like vintage mountain bikes you should definitely check out this one


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Old 03-14-15, 04:14 PM
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Eddie B.!
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Old 03-14-15, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by frantik View Post
if you like vintage mountain bikes you should definitely check out this one


Fat Tire Flyer

Great read. I must get around to sending mine to Charlie to be autographed.
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Old 03-14-15, 04:44 PM
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I have quite a few C&V bicycle books. I buy any that I find at used books stores and Goodwill. I'll take some photos when I get home. I recently got one that is somehow related to Palo Alto Cycles from 1979 that is superb! I just can't remember the name.
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Old 03-14-15, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Classic!

Opened my eyes back in the day. Changed the way I looked at cycling

"Just Ride" I agree 85% with 85% of what he says. I like Grant's philosophy.

"It's Not About The Bike" Lance is a turd.
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Old 03-14-15, 08:22 PM
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Anybody's Bike Book - definitely. Last time I saw one was at least 40 years ago. It taught me a lot.
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Old 03-14-15, 08:37 PM
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Not a book, but this has made lots of sense to me. Good to know a 45 minute ride on the trainer can improve your fitness in the dead of winter.

Base: A New Definition
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Old 03-14-15, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
That reminds me. It's All About the Bike by Robert Penn, a fascinating discussion of bikes and components and history and the author's effort to build the ideal custom bike. As he admits, he is being a bit cheeky to run counter to Mr. A but since the bike is the essential ingredient for cycling is really is about the bike after all. Marvelous little book.
^^^^^^^^
Yes!

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Old 03-14-15, 09:11 PM
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I still have my original "The Complete Book of Bicycling" by Eugene Sloan from 1970. Built my first wheels following the instructions in that book. He also compared bikes and prices. Schwinn Paramount - $245!!!
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Old 03-14-15, 09:36 PM
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"Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists," My Mike Magnuson, is hilarious.
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Old 03-14-15, 11:52 PM
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I purchased anybody's bike book when I was 8 years old. Great book. The last bike book was Floyd landis "false positive" from the .99 cents only store. It made good kindling over the winter. I still have anybody's bike book, although I don't look to it for advice, I still like flipping through it every few years.
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Old 03-15-15, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
I still have my original "The Complete Book of Bicycling" by Eugene Sloan from 1970. Built my first wheels following the instructions in that book. He also compared bikes and prices. Schwinn Paramount - $245!!!
I still have mine too. Good book. I guess my favorite to look at now and again is The Custom Bicycle, by Kolin and De le Rosa.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Classic!

I've got this one too! I've got quite a few good cycling books, I guess I just liked the two I originally listed because they weren't about technical aspects as much as culture. And yes, Bike Snob can be repetitive and wallow in stereotypes, but it isn't all that bad
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Old 03-15-15, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
That reminds me. It's All About the Bike by Robert Penn, a fascinating discussion of bikes and components and history and the author's effort to build the ideal custom bike. As he admits, he is being a bit cheeky to run counter to Mr. A but since the bike is the essential ingredient for cycling is really is about the bike after all. Marvelous little book.
Joe Breeze and I got a chapter in that book, and also ten minutes out of the one hour TV show made to complement it.

So Rob Penn and I are friends. When the Wall Street Journal looked for someone to review my book, Fat Tire Flyer, who did they pick? Rob Penn!

I got a great review, which hides behind a paywall.
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Old 03-15-15, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford53 View Post
I think I was most happy about the fact that there were two books published recently which highlighted the turnaround I've been experiencing and hoping for the cycling community..
Those books have been talked about here on the BF, heck I expected to see a sub-forum just on Grant Peterson. Take it all with a grain of salt, at the end of the day there is little difference between any of these cultural observers. We could go on and on joking about lone wolf Peterson riding the sidewalks in in his $150 poncho warning the world all carbon forks will explode, hipster BSNYC writing fluff pieces for Bicycling Magazine and snarking at everyone he isn't. If you are thinking about what someone else thinks about your riding when you're riding, you are doing it wrong.

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