I happened across a neat book in my LBS (that’s Local BOOK Store). It’s written by Eben Weiss, AKA Bike Snob NYC. Many of you have no doubt come across Bike Snob’s very popular blog and have enjoyed his sardonic wit. This book is a distillation of four years of blogging and is filled with the same humor and no-nonsense points of view that characterize his blog.
The book is divided into three sections:
- The Basics (including a nice history of the bicycle, a taxonomy section, and “What Is A Cyclist, And Why Would Anybody Want To Be One?”)
- Road Rules (with sections discussing cycling in the city, the myth of a “bike culture,” and my personal favorite, “Why Is Everybody Trying To Kill Me?”)
- Advanced Cycling (with discussions on how to remove the “burden of bike ownership” and just enjoy your bicycle, rules vs. fashion and “A Brief Guide To Etiquette For Non-Cyclists”)
Bike Snob hails from New York City, so his commentary has a decidedly urban slant to it. Still, it’s a very humorous and fast read which has a great deal to say to cyclists regardless of their location or abilities. The book provides a fresh perspective on cycling norms and causes the reader to reevaluate how he approaches the cycling hobby. Apart from the humor, this is the book’s greatest virtue and it makes it well worth the read.
For those interested in an in-depth discussion on maintenance, nutrition, or some other advanced aspect of cycling, you will be disappointed. Any book that attempts to survey the entire cycling landscape is by necessity rather short on specifics (on some “how-to” subjects like changing a flat, Bike Snob simply states that he isn’t going to tell you how to do it as there are plenty of places to look that information up). While some helpful tips are provided, they are given in the larger context of a discussion on why people should want to bike and how they should go about doing it.
At the end of the book, there was a pleasant surprise for me – stickers! I have now adorned my hybrid with its first-ever sticker. I think it looks rather nice.