BikeSnobNYC lives in New York City and writes a humorous blog about all things cycling. His book explores a wide variety of bicycle related matters including subsets of cyclists, how to survive in traffic and bicycle maintenance. It is the wit and entertaining ranting that make this such an enjoyable book. It is mainly a good laugh, full of opinions and some hints and tips that will help your cycling life.
This book has a really nice feel with a hardback cover and quality paper. Inside there are drawings and a section of colour photos. It is a nice book to leaf through, dipping in and out of sections now and again, rather than reading it cover to cover.
It is divided into chapters that include the history of the bicycle, how to survive in traffic and how hipster culture has hijacked the bicycle and made it into a trendy object. There are some American cultural references that might be lost on some readers, but the book reveals that there are many similarities between America and Britain when it comes to cycling.
My favourite chapter is the one about the various subsets of cyclists. This explains what roadies, mountain bikers, lone wolves, contraption captains and cyclocrossers are. This includes a reason as to why other cyclists do not like other subsets of cyclists. This quote about urban cyclists gives you a good idea of the fun that the author pokes at these subsets:
"Urban Cyclists generally laugh at people who wear brightly coloured Lycra, though they fail to find equal humor in their own colour-coordinated bicycles, boutique clothing, or the fact that riding for more than a few hours in jeans is liable to turn your crotch into a microcosm of the Everglades."
I am not sure that I fit into any of these subsets, but I have seen people who seem to fall into these catagories and it was fun to spot them when out on my bike.
The author puts forward many sound arguments, particularly when it comes to cycling safety. He tries hard to convince us that cycling is not that dangerous:
"People are afraid to ride bikes in traffic, yet they do lots of other pointless and potentially deadly things all the time without even thinking about it. They take recreational drugs that can stop their hearts, they smoke cigarettes... Have you ever walked into the middle of the street while texting and almost been hit by a car?"
Although there are tips about bicycle maintenance, safety in traffic and how to lock your bicycle it is not meant as a practical book about cycling. It is more about the strong opinions of the author and a lot of this is very funny indeed. If you are looking for a bit of a laugh about cycling and you don't take it all too seriously then this book is worth a read. Due to the quality look and feel of the book I think it would also make a nice gift for a cyclist friend.