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Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling Hardcover – May 5, 2010

119 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

BILL STRICKLAND, EDITOR-AT-LARGE OF BICYCLING
Bike Snob should be lovingly gifted to all new cyclers - and forcefully smacked against the heads of all the jaded know-it-alls who take the sport way too seriously.

ROBERT LANHAM, AUTHOR OF THE HIPSTER HANDBOOK
As any avid biker will attest, cycling isn't just a form of transportation. It's a complicated culture with its own slang, taxonomy, and preferred tat styles. If you haven't read Bike Snob, you should consider reattaching those training wheels to your overpriced fixie.

LANCE ARMSTRONG
I like to think I know a thing or two (or three) about being ruthless and relentless - either trying to win the Tour or fighting cancer. The Snob knows it too. Keeping us dorks in line is tough work. I take pleasure in getting picked on by the Snob, slightly more pleasure in reading his writing, but take the most pleasure punishing his ass (my payback) on the bike either in Central Park or on 9W/River Road. Long live the Snob.

ELDEN "FATTY" NELSON, FATCYCLIST.COM
First you'll think the Snob is funny. Then you'll think he's smart. Eventually you'll probably think that he's seen far too many movies for his own good. At some point during this book, however, you re going to say to yourself: Holy crap. He is right. Believe me, that is one disconcerting moment.

CHRISTIAN LANDER, AUTHOR OF STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE
After reading Bike Snob I put a brake on my fixie, started wearing a helmet, then punched myself in the stomach for spending so much time as a stupid hipster. This is a social manual that should be bundled with every bike shipped in America.

About the Author

BikeSnobNYC is a frequent racer, daily commuter, and former bike messenger himself. He has been published and profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Outside, and Bicycling Magazine.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (May 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811869989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811869980
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Steve Frazier on May 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Bike Snob writes a wickedly funny blog poking holes in practically every pretension in the cycling world. His blog careens unexpectedly between the worlds of pro cycling, hipsters, fixed gear bikes, Craigslist ads and the indignity of bike commuting (especially in New York). He never runs out of targets -- the studied poses of various cycling subcultures has given him an unending stream of targets.

In print -- both in his columns in Bicycling Magazine, and now in this book -- he's a bit toned done. In order to reach a broader audience, his writing is a little more accessible, with fewer self-referential, super-inside jokes that propel the humor in his blog. In print, the satire is still there, but the very sharpest edges have been softened a bit.

What's left is a still-funny survey of the world of bicycling in America -- from a brief history of cycling, to a tour of the various cycling subcultures, to some guidance on how to perform basic bike maintenance tasks. The Snob also addresses the "real world" of urban cycling today: what it's like to try to control your temper when a car nearly kills you in traffic, or how to stay warm and dry in a winter rain. And although The Snob avoids organized "bicycle advocacy" efforts (and explains why in his book), he manages to deliver some solid pro-bicycle messages of his own: "Telling cyclists to get out of the road is like telling women to get of the voting booth and go back into the kitchen, or telling Japanese-American people to 'Go back to China.' The ignorance inherent in the statement is almost more offensive than the sentiment behind it.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By John on May 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't read BikeSnobNYC's blog, and the few times I've checked it out it was a little too all over the place for me to really get into.

The Bike Snob book, on the other hand, is nearly as much fun as riding itself. It's relatively brief but will leave you satisfied with a solid little knowledge of the history of bicycles and bicycle-related subcultures, why to do certain things and not other things on/with your bike, and how to maximize the fun (and utility) of cycling.

BikeSnobNYC is enormously clever, makes plenty of fun similes ranging from spot-on ("In a lot of ways, being a cyclist is like being a vampire. ... Both cyclists and vampires are cultural outcasts with cult followings who clumsily walk the line between cool and dorky.") to a hilarious stretch ("The Urban Cyclist is one of the very few groups of cyclists among whom cigarette smoking is not only acceptable but considered "cool," which is sort of like being really into performance cars but driving around with rags shoved up your tailpipe."), and overall just seems like a good guy. He has clearly thought about every in and out of cycling more than pretty much anyone, and really does make some strong arguments for being conscientious about your life with a bicycle, as well as life in general.

The author isn't out to make you feel stupid, or to give you a step-by-step on how to become a bike snob. He doesn't have any brands or particular types of bikes to push (although you've got some explaining to do if you ride with handlebars chopped more narrow than your own hips). He seems genuinely interested in getting more people on bikes, and the people who are already on bikes to be on their bikes more often. Overall it's just a very enjoyable read, and will encourage you to bike more and to think more.

My only complaint is that the included stickers are not very waterproof. Where would I stick one but on my down tube?
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Enthusiast on May 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of his blog, but this was a real surprise to me. Very funny of course, but much , much more. A real love letter to cycling, with an historical perspective and just a fun read from beginning to end. You'll end up loving the Snob and being more motivated than ever before to just ride. The Bikesnob uses cycling as a metaphor for life, and his view of life is witty, funny and profound.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carl G. on June 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful book, it fills a huge gap that nobody else could or would have filled...and if they'd tried, it wouldn't have succeeded nearly as well. It's not a book of facts, though there are facts in it, and although it's billed as a book-o-rants, it's way more than that, I'd say.

If you take it sentence by sentence or section by section, you won't fully appreciate its contribution, which is that here, now, in the midst of sharply dilineated cycling factions, against each other as much as we are against the non-cycling world, BikeSnob shakes us all by the shoulders, gently slaps our faces to get us to snap out of it, and says "Look at what you're doing and laugh at yourself and reexamine everything you think about the totem pole of bike riders."

It is funny, but not trying-too-hard funny, and that's a tough little tiny dot to hit. Eben comes off as casual, one of us, but has a way with words that belies his mid-30s age and his authorookieship. He has a style, it's polished, and I like it a lot. It's a cheap book--$16.95. You'll get many times that out of it in a new personal and global bike perspective, information, and entertainment. A whopping success, I'd say.

GP
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