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The Bicycle Book by Bella Bathurst
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The Bicycle Book (edition 2012)

by Bella Bathurst

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Member:awomanonabike
Title:The Bicycle Book
Authors:Bella Bathurst
Info:HarperPress (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Cycling

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The Bicycle Book by Bella Bathurst

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This is a wonderful anthology of writing about cycling and bikes. Of course there is lots missing, there always will be from a book this length, but if you want to know about the woman who cycled across the channel or what it feels like to make your own bike frame, or read a wonderful interview with Graeme Obree then you will really enjoy this book. Put it on your Christmas list! ( )
  awomanonabike | Nov 22, 2012 |
Doesn't quite hold out the initial promise, but remains interesting and informative throughout.

The introduction is superb. A real hook-setting pleasure to read for any cyclist. The author, in captivating prose, describes the reality of moder cycling. It is fun! There are various other benefits and downsides but the overriding pleasure in cycling comes through very clearly. Bella is one of us, a "normal" cyclist, not a racer, not a hobbyist, just someone who likes to cycle. Unfortunately this is all spoiled by the next (first) chapter, which describes, in some detail, what's involved in hand building your own frame. This is not a "normal" cyclists activity, and I suspect the book was written, partly at least, to finance this. It is shame that the 'perfect' machine, doesn't then feature in any of the succeeding chapters.

The remaining chapters cover racing in quite some detail (despite the author's statement in the Introduction that she wasn't going to). Some of the history of the development of the bicycle and how various cultures responded to it; an off-road section; and some interviews with both cabbies and messengers.

Of all these, only the history section has any relevance to normal cyclists. The others are interesting perhaps, if you've followed any of the Grand Tours, or been involved in messenger culture. But I suspect they have little relevance to most cyclists. Bella does manage to maintain the light and humorous style that was so effective in the introduction. She is frequently sarcastically dismissive of 'wanna-bies' and "Serious Men" who spend the money, but don't take cycling seriously enough for her.

Overall it is a worthy read for anyone who considers themselves a cyclist, but contains little that is especially noteworthy. I doubt that there is much appeal for anyone who doesn't ride, and hasn't experienced the joy of the open road. ( )
  reading_fox | Apr 16, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007305885, Hardcover)

"You can keep the internet. You can keep the computer and the mobile phone. In the bicycle humanity has its most perfect invention of the last three hundred years and in Bella Bathurst the bike has found the best and brightest booster so far." BORIS JOHNSON Two wheels. A frame. Two pedals. What could be simpler than a bicycle? And yet the bike -- old, and cheap, and slightly comic -- continues to inspire a passionate following. Since the millennium its use in Britain has doubled, and then doubled again. Thousands now cycle to work, and more take it up every day. In trial after trial, it is the bike which reaches its urban destination faster than the car, the bus, the underground or the pedestrian. Self-reliant and straightforward, cycling has recycled itself. It is an antiquated idea, and its time has finally come. But what is it about the bicycle that so enchants us? And why do its devotees become so obsessed with it? Acclaimed and prize-winning author Bella Bathurst takes us on a journey through cycling's best stories and strangest incarnations, from the bicycle as weapon of twentieth-century warfare to the secret life of couriers and the alchemy of framebuilding. With a cast of characters including the woman who watercycled across the Channel, the man who raced India's Deccan Queen train and several of today's top cyclists, she offers us a brilliantly engaging portrait of cycling's past, present and world-conquering future. The result is a story of passion and obsession, of exultation, endeavour, and risk. Above all, it is the story of partnership between man and machine, perfectly balanced -- a story of love and souplesse.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:36 -0400)

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A rip-roaring narrative celebration of the 21st century's great transport success story: the bicycle. Millions of us now cycle, some obsessively, and this glorious concoction of history, anecdote, adventure and lycra-clad pedalling is the perfect read for two-wheelers of all kinds.… (more)

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