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Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling (edition 2010)

by Christopher Koelle

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193961,059 (3.61)1
Member:JeffV
Title:Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling
Authors:Christopher Koelle
Info:Chronicle Books (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 222 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:****
Tags:Non-fiction, humor, sports, bicycling

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Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling by Eben Weiss (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
So help me, I LOLed. Quirky look at cycling cultures, history and gear -- definitely an NYC focus, but funny for anyone who rides and follows cycling trends. ( )
  epersonae | Mar 30, 2013 |
While the book is more geared towards encouraging novices who may be afraid to ride in traffic, it does have enough cycling related jokes to make the seasoned daily bike rider chuckle often.

Just because it's written for novices, don't assume that it's going to tell you how to fix a flat, or do routine (or any) maintenance - it does tell you you need to know how to do such things, then directs you to use the ever so handy Internet to look it up. If you want a how-to book or tips and tricks, look elsewhere.

But if you want witty observations on cycling, you've come to the right place. It pokes fun at the man I saw this morning with a huge trash bag full of something balanced precariously on his handlebars. It makes fun of the teenager I saw riding her bike the wrong way down the opposite side of the street (and IN the street, no less!). It makes fun of the guy who honked his horn to let me know he was there despite the fact that I heard his engine and his stereo from half a block away (yes sir, I was enjoying the sound of my tires on the road, the birds chirping and the wind in the trees but thank you ever so much for rendering me deaf). It makes fun of the driver who nearly ran me over so he could get out of his expensive luxury car a whole 20 seconds faster. It makes fun of the guy on the road bike who blew past me like I was standing still. It makes fun of my co-workers who continually are amazed that I'm willing to bike a mere 10 miles to work once a week. It even made fun of me! No one is spared and he makes fun of every type of cyclist.

However, the book does have it's weaknesses. The major one is that it's very NYC centric - understandable given it's a NYC blogger. But not every town is like NYC. A chapter on the historical bike meccas of NYC and its former suburbs doesn't do all that much for me, given that I've never heard of the streets he's naming. Also, he keeps emphasizing the "freedom" a bike has over public transportation and cars. Yet, most people live in towns where a car is faster and more versatile than a bike. Bikes almost always have public transportation beat hands down though.

Next, why does he even have a chapter on bike repair/maintenance at all? Instead of just saying "you need to know how to do this -- go look it up!" or "Carry basic tools and and a spare tube or you'll eventually be stranded," why not tell a story of a time when he was caught without them? Or saw someone without them? It would be more in line with the rest of the book if he'd approached it from that angle.

It could have used a chapter on maintaining your dignity under extreme circumstances - such as how to recover from an embarrassing accident like grazing a pole and ending up sprawled across the ground right in front of a bus stop full of gawkers who are snickering at you.

Regardless of the flaws, I enjoyed the book a lot. He's a self-proclaimed curmudgeon and I can't think of a single person that he didn't insult, but it's done in such a lighthearted way that I was snickering as he did so. ( )
  Melanti | Mar 29, 2013 |
The best book about cycling ever. ( )
  bibliosk8er | Aug 14, 2012 |
Fun, kind of a pointless diversion, really just a pep talk for beginning cyclists. I did get the stickers out of the back because I was the first person to check this book out at my library. I want to point out though for those that don't know Mr. Snob spends a lot of time sticking it to bike snobs and lampooning the "cycling community" (whatever that is)as a whole. So his handle has a lot irony value. Just wanted to put that out there for people that are put off by his name.And sorry dude, you are wrong about fenders. If it rains take the bus. ( )
  librarianbryan | Apr 20, 2012 |
If you always thought of those colorfully clad, spandex-covered cyclists on rides sometimes more expensive that your car to be, shall we say, "elitist." then you might seek confirmation within these pages. Now, I consider myself a cyclist: I can ride 100 mile rides, I sometimes commute to work, and about my favorite thing to do on a nice summer day is to ride the 20-mile long lakefront trail in Chicago. I don't really consider myself to be a snob -- my investment is not nearly at that level. But what seems to be bizarre fashion to the uninformed truly does have purpose only realized after spending serious hours riding.

Koelle's book has purpose too that might not be apparent at first glance. Written in style of wry humor, he mixes personal anecdotes along with some well-researched history of cycling. We learn that bicycling was a highly fashionable activity early in the 20th century, especially after they worked out gearing enough to do away with the Penny Farthings (those old-timey bikes with the gigantic front wheels).

Included is a travel log following one of the earliest popular bike routes on Long Island, following as best he could descriptions of the route from old magazines. The area has evolved quite a bit...towns have changed name, and streets have changed some (but some are still intact). 95% of my riding is on known paths and roads, and this book reminded me of the joy of discovery when exploring new places or routes. To do so with in pursuit of a goal, to follow a historical path, adds to the romance.

The characterizations of different species of cyclists were funny because they are true. I'm mostly a roadie, but I've consorted with mountain bikers. Each have their own style, manners, and community. I recognize many of the traits identified, and possess quite a few myself. I was rather surprised to learn that I commit a major fashion sin though by wearing a visored helmet on a road bike. I don't really care...but after reading this book I started paying attention a little more, and yes, I guess it's true and others of my ilk undoubtedly consider me some sort of doofus. But screw them, I like my choice of helmet and one its kind did save my life once.

This is a good gift book for any cyclist in your life, or anyone who presumes to become one. And if you're often scratching your head trying to understand a cyclist in your life, maybe for you too. ( )
1 vote JeffV | Nov 1, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weiss, EbenAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, Gregorey RyanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Koelle, ChristopherIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. — H. G. Wells
Dedication
Dedicated to Ruth Weiss.
Success is making it onto her bookshelf in book form.
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As humans, we've invented a lot of things.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811869989, Hardcover)

Cycling is exploding in a good way. Urbanites everywhere, from ironic hipsters to earth-conscious commuters, are taking to the bike like aquatic mammals to water. BikeSnobNYC cycling's most prolific, well-known, hilarious, and anonymous blogger brings a fresh and humorous perspective to the most important vehicle to hit personal transportation since the horse. Bike Snob treats readers to a laugh-out-loud rant and rave about the world of bikes and their riders, and offers a unique look at the ins and outs of cycling, from its history and hallmarks to its wide range of bizarre practitioners. Throughout, the author lampoons the missteps, pretensions, and absurdities of bike culture while maintaining a contagious enthusiasm for cycling itself. Bike Snob is an essential volume for anyone who knows, is, or wants to become a cyclist.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:59 -0400)

Bike Snob treats readers to a laugh-out-loud rant and rave about the world of bikes and their riders, and offers a unique look at the ins and outs of cycling, from its history and hallmarks to its wide range of bizarre practitioners.

(summary from another edition)

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