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The Art of Cycling: A Guide to Bicycling in 21st-Century America Paperback – October 1, 2006
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While there are thousands of books on bicycling, this is the best book I’ve come across for offering lots of hard-earned, practical advice for staying alive. Happily, Hurst is a skilled writer with a passion for history, so he weaves a tale that gives historical and even philosophical perspective in a manner I found totally engaging. . . . [A] gem of a book.”
"With a spot-on foreword written by Luna downhiller Marla Streb and a detailed index of footnotes and bibliography, Hurst has compiled a cerebral but hip manifesto for [urban] cyclists looking to coexist in a system that has left them to fend for their lives." -- VeloNews, Journal of Competitive Cycling
From the Back Cover
Bask in it, appreciate it, love it.
The Art of Cycling empowers readers with the big picture of riding a bicycle in Americaand gives cyclists useful insights to consider while pedaling the next commute, grocery run, or training ride. Riding a bike will never be the same.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top Customer Reviews
As a commuting cyclist I felt this was the perfect book for me. It's packed with suggestions, tips and methods of cycling in urban and suburban environments that are meant to keep you safe and secure in the insanity of traffic you face daily. And those parts of the book are great... the parts about cycling that is. But getting to those parts takes some patience. Nearly the first 50 pages are a lead up to actually discussing cycling. They are sort of a short history of civil engineering, how inner cities and the suburbs developed, and how evil roads and cars can be. While that stuff is all well and good, it could have been a bit shorter or perhaps woven in with more of the on-topic material.
The author's joy and enthusiasm for cyling are obvious though, in the rest of the book. I feel as though he strives to stand up for the rights of cyclists (and encourage them to do the same for themselves) but he doesn't take a vigilante tone in doing so. And I appreciated that, because I think it makes it easier to follow his suggestions. They feel as though they're coming from a friend, rather than a fanatic.
So as much as I wanted to give this book 5 stars, I'm only going to give it 4. I'd likely give it 4 1/2 if that were an option. Sadly, it's not. But I do encourage riders of all skill levels (especially those starting out in the commuting lifestyle) to check out this really good book.
One gripe is that the book seems written more for people on road bikes, in a bent-over position, going at racing speeds, rather than the relaxed cyclist riding an upright commuter. He says at least 3 times that an upright riding position is for beginners, and that as you get more experience, you will naturally gravitate toward the more bent over position. I think that everyone should ride the style of bike that they prefer. If you want to bend over and go fast, do that. If you want to sit upright and go slower, do that. But he seems to feel that the *only* way to cycle is on a bent-over road bike, and if you prefer anything else, then you obviously don't know what you're doing. During a brief overview on the helmet controversy, the author refers to the fact that CPSC approval means that helmets are certified to protect your head at a 14 mph impact. He then goes on to say, "Obviously, CPSC's testing conditions are exceeded regularly by any decent cyclist on the way to the grocery store."
I say, what's the hurry?Read more ›
An experienced rider will find little new information beyond the historical stuff. The historical sections are nice for those interested in understanding the bigger picture of cycling in the United States. Some may yawn, but it is powerful information worth knowing and pondering.
The discussions about bike culture (and various subcultures) are interesting and amusing. Hurst seems to promote bike culture while asking the reader to take it lightly.
My only peeve: I do not understand why the word "Urban" was removed from the title. The book dedicates only about two pages to suburban riding and completely neglects country cycling. As a former country commuter, I can attest that the navigation of old highways and byways has its own distinct challenges and priorities. There is nothing inherently wrong with the information in the book; I simply feel that the word "Urban" should still be in the title (at least until in-depth non-urban material is eventually added).
This book is simply the best of its kind. More about a philosophy, an outlook than any specifics. And that philosophy is grounded in the real world of cyclists. No real dogma, no hard core puritan idealism. Just plain practical reality based upon lots of experience and deeper thinking about the topic of cycling safety.
It is more along the lines of teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.
My first few rides after reading it I was noticing things in the book that ordinarily I didn't. I was cycling in a safer manner just knowing an approach similar to the one in this book. Not to mention several specific examples that apply to my riding.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the only book I have found that focuses on safely riding in urban traffic. Well done, except I am not sure I agree with his conclusions regarding helmets.Published on May 6, 2014 by Richard B. Postal
I would highly recommend this book. It provides vital education to cycle safely in the city. I didn't read all if the history portions but the practical chapters could save your... Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by Jessica
Of all the thousands of books about cycling, this is one that actually helps you stay alive. After getting all my family members on bikes, I felt a responsibility to find the best... Read morePublished on January 30, 2011 by Steve Leveen
I've been commuting in the city for decades. When I read the previous edition of this book I found a treasure trove of simple but effective ideas on safe and efficient riding. Read morePublished on December 10, 2010 by Richard Edwards
This is a must read by anyone with an interest in cycling. It is especially helpful for adults new to cycling again, possibly in a new environment. Read morePublished on August 7, 2010 by Steve Sabatini
I want to start my review by saying that I cycle about 3000-4000 miles a year, mostly commuting and a little touring, and most of this in a city of about 50,000 people in Indiana,... Read morePublished on July 4, 2010 by Jack
I bought this on the recommendation of some buddies on [...]. I thought I'd be tricky & buy it for Kindle, so I can easily take it with me and read it on the train to work. Read morePublished on June 5, 2010 by Smaug
I find the content of this book to be very entertaining, and eye opening as I am a suburban/rural rider, not an urban cyclist. Read morePublished on May 11, 2010 by M. R. Smith
Okay, I love cycling. I average between 60 to 100 miles a week. I don't race. I don't train. I ride mostly in the Los Angeles area. I go to the doctor, the store, the post office. Read morePublished on January 14, 2010 by John Cork