Bicycle Book

by Bella Bathurst

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Featured image for Bicycle Book

This caught my eye on my eLibrary app and I checked it out to see what it was all about just because I like bikes. Which turned out to be a good move. The author says (I’m paraphrasing wildly from memory here) that she was trying to write a book about bikes that wasn’t like the other books out there, not as a biography of a cyclist, or about sport, or one journey or personal quest, nor a technical book, but just a book for people who like bikes (see previous sentence but one!).

Each chapter goes into something different about cycling and bikes. There’s chapters on, for example, welding bike frames, on driving rickshaws in India, the history of mountain biking, a long chat with bike couriers in different cities. There is a long chapter on cycle racing, mostly concerning the Tour de France, which dates the book a little as it occurs before the fall from grace of Lance Armstrong, and before the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Depart which I think would have got a mention otherwise. Like any book full of bits and pieces I enjoyed some of the sections more than others, the historical bits were especially interesting to me (and hilarious in places, such as how bikes were considered improper for women as they’d obviously do nothing but orgasm all the time sitting on a saddle, it makes me shake my head and wonder how exactly the men who decreed this kind of thing got these ideas!)

All in all, a bit out of date but fun to read, especially in the bits that don’t date.