As some of you may know, by day I am a librarian, really I am. This means, in a very stereotypical way, I love reading as much as I love riding my bikes. When I can sit down in the evening after a nice long ride and read a book about bicycling pretty much all is right with my world. With that in mind I thought I would share a few of the titles I have read recently or my favorites, just in case you need something to read yourself.

The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance
By David Herihy, 2010
I really enjoyed this book. It is full of the romance of the bicycle that was at its height during the Victorian period. Frank Lenz sets out on a journey to bike around the world, this book recounts what is known of his journey and the search, although belated, to find him after he disappears in the Middle East.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

Cycling – Philosophy for Everyone: A Philosophical Tour de Force
2010
This book actually has something for just about everyone who rides a bicycle. Want to hear hardcore training geeks go on about watts and power meters, it’s in here. Want to enjoy poignant stories about the role of the bicycle in people’s lives and relationships, it is in here as well. This is the kind of book that easily allows you to skip the chapters that seem to apply less to you or it can challenge you to look at bicycling from different perspectives.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

 

Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities
Jeff Mapes, 2009
This book explores the changes that bicycles and bicycling advocates are bringing to communities around the country and world. This is a must read for “Advocates” and those who just believe that the bicycle should be part of daily life.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

 

Bicycle Diaries
David Byrne, 2009
David Byrne is perhaps best remembered as a member of the band Talking Heads. This eccentric individual has explored the world and with him he almost always has his bicycle. This interesting read sometimes seems to jump off the bicycle track, but it is maybe to be expected given the source.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

 

Major : a Black Athlete, a White Era, and the Fight to be the World’s Fastest Human Being
Todd Balf, 2008
Major tells the a story of Major Taylor and black bicycle racer at the turnoff the century. Despite crude and sometimes dangerous bigotry directed towards him on and off the track Major at time totally dominate the early bicycling scene. This is a great book, at time sad and at time triumphant.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

 

Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a few flat tires along the way)
Sue Macy, 2011
This book covers one of my favorite subjects, the suffrage movement and the role the bicycle play in the liberation of women. This is far from a dry tome, it is filled with fun facts and the design is simply beautiful! This would be a great gift book for a young, or adult, woman who loves bicycling. It is also worth a read for the guys.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

Pedal Power: The Quiet Rise of the Bicycle in American Public Life
J. Harry Wray, 2008
Okay, yes this is another one of those advocacy books that talk about how we are all going to change the world with bicycles, perhaps the author is right!  Built on stories of his own experiences and those of others, exploring how riding changes people and the world. A worthwhile read.

The Cyclist’s Manifesto: The Case for Riding on Two Wheels Instead of Four
Robert Hurst, 2009
The author give a lot of historical back ground on the development of the bicycle and the role it has played through history. He then goes on to argue for the beneficial role that the bicycle can play, especially in urban settings.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

One Less Car
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog
Academic might be the best word to describe this interesting book. He material for this book was taken from the author’s graduate work which explains the academic nature. Definitely for the more “wonky”  bicycle advocacy nut, like myself, One Less care tries to posit new ways to begin address/talking about the role of bicycling.

Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling
Eden Weiss, 2010
The Bike Snob gain famed as a blogger of all things bicycle, known for is satirical attacks on hipsters and the more self-righteous/pretentious parts of the bicycling community. While this book is an interesting read it is perhaps  it best use is explaining the bicycling world to new riders or a loved one who feels loved less than your bike. You can read my full length review of this book here.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

 

It’s All about the Bike: the Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels
Rob Penn, 2011
The British author is an accomplished bicyclist with a round the world trip under his belt, but this book is really not about that, it’s in his other book, but about his quest for the perfect bicycle. He travels across Europe and the U.S. to meet the manufacture of the various components that will go on his dream bike. Going so far as California to have his wheels built. Most of us will never have this kind of experience, but the story of  and passion for the bicycle woven into this book makes it worth the read.
Winding Rivers Library System Catalog

Cities for People
Jan Gehl, 2010
By many Jan Gehl is considered the father of modern city planning that focuses on people rather than the automobile.  This book continues and updates his thought that started with his 1960’s book “life Between Buildings: Using Public Space,” which has almost become a text book for modern urban planning. While this is not specifically a “bicycle” book it will change how you look at your community and the role that real live people should play in it. For anyone interested in livable, bikable and healthier  communities, this is a must read.

These are just a few of the newer bicycling titles out there. With the continued growth of bicycling in America and even across the world, the publishing industry is responding by pumping out more and more titles relating to bicycling. Keep a watch out for new and interesting titles and share a review of them with us if you are so inclined.

Note: the links under the titles will take you to the shared catalog for the Winding Rivers Library System, which serves 7 counties in Western Wisconsin. By check out these titles from your library you encourage them to buy more of the same kinds of titles, kind of like doing advocacy by book. If you live outside this area, contact your local library.

Happy Reading & Riding – Tim Keneipp

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