THE CYCLING CARTOONIST

By:                 Dave Walker

Publisher:    Bloomsbury

Published:    June 2017

Format:         Hardback

Pages:            144

ISBN:              9781472938893

Price:             £10.99

Reviewed by: Richard Peploe

Cartoons are simple drawings that exaggerate some aspect of the subject matter to make a point. The cartoons that we see in many publications are normally there to make a humorous or satirical comment about the current news. The cartoons in this book are not time-sensitive, nor are they particularly provocative, but they are still trying to entertain.

Dave Walker has been producing cartoons for several years, including for various cycling magazines, and has now brought together a collection of new and previously seen work in his first book, ‘The Cycling Cartoonist’. You can see some examples of his cartoons here http://cyclingcartoons.com/ and in the accompanying spreads, which will give you a better idea of what to expect than any description of mine.

The book is claimed to be “an affectionate take on the world of cycling,” and only someone who knows his subject would be able to come up with some of Walker’s ideas; it is equally true that you would have to know your subject to fully appreciate “this delightful celebration of pedal-powered transport”.

You will almost certainly recognise yourself at times in these pages; equally you will probably have had some similar thoughts to Walker about those that you cycle with or see out on the road.

The wide range of subjects covered include the almost practical (such as ‘The Hire Bike’), through the campaigning (such as ‘Why people don’t cycle), to the frivolous (such as ‘Levels of Fury’).  Just don’t take any of them too seriously.

There is humour to be found in many of Walker’s observations, but don’t expect a laugh a minute: I found a few pages to be truly funny, a few more which I thought were just silly, with the majority falling between those two extremes. Your results may vary, and it is probable that you will find humour in different places to me.

Books of cycling cartoons are thin on the ground, so it is encouraging to see a new contender. My own collection is limited to a road-orientated book by Johnny Helms, and an off-road offering by William Nealy, and neither of them are from this century!

I can see this book being bought as a gift by someone who knows that the intended recipient is a cyclist, and just wants something that he or she would not object to and is unlikely to have already.

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