Three books, three different topics but a common subject: bicycle cycling. If you are out of books for the coming days under the umbrella here are three titles you definitely should consider adding to your reading list.
It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels
Robert Penn’s “It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels” is a paean to the humble bike; it’s the story of why we ride, and why this simple machine holds the power to transport us all. Robert Penn has ridden a bike most days of his life. He rides to get to work, to bathe in air and sunshine, to stay sane and to feel free. This is the story of his love affair with cycling and the journey to build his dream bike; a freewheeling pilgrimage taking him from Californian mountain bike inventors to British artisan frame builders, and from perfect components to the path of true happiness. Read more…
A Bike Snob Abroad
Bike Snob is all grown up! After two books and thousands of miles under his tires, Bike Snob is back with a book that takes his family on the road – 2 year old son in tow – on an international cycling adventure into the wild and tweedy bike-share lanes of London, the Bakfiet equipped cycling utopia of Amsterdam and the back roads of Switzerland and Italy. But all roads lead home eventually, and the Snob takes a close look at the state of American cycling after a decade of advocacy, infrastructure development and backlash have frankensteined us into some semblance of a bike-friendly nation. But is it working? Read more…
“Cycle Space” is the first book to view the city through the lens–or rearview mirror–of the bicycle. It features portraits of eight major cities and their respective cycling cultures: New York, Chicago, Portland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Budapest, Sao Paolo, Singapore and Sydney. Each of these cities has seen a groundswell of cyclists taking to its streets in recent years. From death-defying bike messengers to hipsters with a taste for cycle chic to commuters simply riding to work, cycling is now being viewed as more than just an alternative: it’s practical; it’s cool; it’s green. Read more…
Grab a cold drink, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Already done with these three? Have a look at this longer list.
Eben Weiss is the blogger behind bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com, a massively popular cycling blog, so if you are a two-wheeled commuter (without an engine obviously) and haven’t heard about him yet you probably should pay a visit to his blog right now, read some and come back here when you’re done. You have 5 to 10 minutes (you don’t have to read back to 2007). I’ll wait for you here.
Now that you’ve formed your own opinion I can say I don’t really enjoy the blog myself. I actually don’t read it anymore as I find the posts too cluttered to even be readable. But Eben Weiss is not only a blogger but also a book writer and his books are just brilliant.
I read his first two books a couple of months ago and really enjoyed them despite the fact they picture life as a bike commuter in New York City (and in the U.S. in general) which sometimes (but not always) is pretty far from my local experience. And then comes the third book. The Bike Snob is going abroad and is visiting Sweden! Alright Eben Weiss did not actually spend time in Stockholm and went to Gothenburg instead but it still counts for something doesn’t it?
Long story short (I don’t want to spoil anyone) it was just very pleasant to read his experience as a father on parental leave who takes his young kid for rides. Since I plan to do exactly the same (take time off when I get a kid and take him or her for bike rides) Eben Weiss could not better describe the things I am very much looking forward to. His experiences in Gothenburg, London and Amsterdam are entertaining too and pretty close to mine.
Bike Snob Abroad: Strange Customs, Incredible Fiets, and the Quest for Cycling Paradise (see the cycling bicycle books page) is “a fierce and entertaining critic” (as The New York Times puts it) and I can only agree. Whether you are a bike commuter or not, you live in Sweden or not, it’s a book you should read but if you’re a bike commuter and live in Sweden, it’s a book you must read.
I doubt you will ever read this Mister Weiss but if you do this is an invitation to Stockholm for you and your little family. I can’t pay for the flights but would be happy to host, put some fun between your legs (it sounds scary I know but we’re actually talking bikes here) and give you a tour.
The previous books of the “trilogy” are Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling (also listed on the cycling books page) and The Enlightened Cyclist: Commuter Angst, Dangerous Drivers, and Other Obstacles on the Path to Two-Wheeled Transcendence (see also on the books about cycling bikes list).