HOW TO BE A CYCLIST
Authors: John Deering and Phil Ashley
Published by Birlinn
Hardback 218 Pages, Illus. £12.99
(also available as an eBook, ISBN 9780857908032)
This is a heavy tome, enjoyable to page through, a good solid feeling book, too weighty to carry awheel; but then there is an eBook version available for portability. It is an ideal gift for your MAMIL friend, and has some useful information even for your experienced cyclist.
Illustrated with fantastic imagery by Phil Ashley, this book takes the form of a conversation by the author, as the Guide, to the reader, or the Pilgrim. Pilgrim, being fairly new to cycling, requires expert steering from Guide, who leads him through an A to Z (from Attitude to Zeitgeist) of all matters cycling. While geared towards road cycling in the main, it nonetheless applies to cycling in general, giving sound advice to the novice Pilgrim, with an undercurrent of subtle humour. The Guide wants Pilgrim to approach cycling in a professional manner, without aspiring towards being a professional rider.
Reviewed by Mark Jacobson
Along the way there are clear images to reinforce the hints and lessons, while excellent landscape scenes enhance the journey through this conversation. Among the sections A to Z are those on ‘Café’.
” … Guide: Now then, Pilgrim, let us discuss the trials and tribulations of cafe culture. The dos and don’ts. The opportunities and pitfalls.
Pilgrim: I love cafés, me. You can’t beat a bacon butty, can you? …”
or just ‘Bike’, after mentioning types of materials for frames
“… in Europe, the cutting-edge manufacturers found a new material that had outrageous capabilities for bike building: it was strong, light, stiff and absorbent, and could be shaped into a frame custom-tuned for you. It was amazingly expensive. It was called steel. …”
While very easy to read, there are some really good pointers for the business of choosing and using bicycles. Whilst not entirely decrying technology or coaching, the Guide insists on taking a serious approach to cycling by being out on the road and having fun.
I leave you with this last snippet, when the discussion of gears leads to talk on wheels:
“… Race wheels. Sportive wheels. Training wheels. Winter wheels. Last wheels and testament. …”
REVIEW FIRST PUBLISHED 2015