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Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 Paperback – May 9, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A great, funny page-turner that you simply don’t expect. -- MICHAEL FRANK, Deputy Editor, Bicycling and Mountain Bike

Bike for Life could be the most important book in your life. -- SAL RUIBAL, USA Today cycling writer

What a great book! -- STEVE BOEHMKE, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee

About the Author

ROY M. WALLACK has survived the Eco-Challenge, the Soviet Union by bike, and some of the world’s toughest two-wheel events. Author of The Traveling Cyclist and a former editor at Bicycle Guide, California Bicyclist, and Triathlete magazines, he is a sports-gear columnist for the Los Angeles Times and covers cycling, fitness, longevity, triathlon, and running for Bicycling, Men’s Journal, Playboy, Outside, Competitor, and VeloNews. He lives in Irvine, CA.

BLL KATOVSKY biked solo across America, finished the Hawaii Ironman twice, and founded Tri-Athlete magazine. In 2003, he co-authored Embedded: The Media at War in Iraq: An Oral History, which won Harvard’s Goldsmith Book Prize. He lives in Mill Valley, CA.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; English Language edition (May 9, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569244510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569244517
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Zorana Bakovic on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one the best book I have read about biking, and I actually still read it almost every day, checking out different aspects related to cycling - health issues, nutrition advises, and especially exercises and stretching before and after every ride. The book answers almost all of my questions, and considering the fact that I am a women and over 50, but still very ambitious to get better on the road, I find it so very useful - I could say necessary.

The only thing lacking in the book are photos or at least drawings in the chapters on exercises and yoga for cyclers. Maybe it is just me, but only reading the text-descriptions is not enough. Despite that, I would highly recommend the book to all cyclers, regardless of age. I learn enormously from it!
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Format: Paperback
BUT there is a lot of good information. I think it was summed up by another reviewer who suggested there was too much fluff and too many longish interviews.

If there ever is a second edition to this book, and i think it'd be a great idea, might i suggest the following: more hard information about training (heart rate monitors and training levels receive very little if any mention), diagrams or pictures (imagine simply having yoga poses described to you with impercise language), and lastly, divide the interviews/inspiration stories of people who did inspirational rides into seperate sections.

to sum up, there is some good information and its presented in a congenial upbeat tone, but no illustrations and overlong interviews take away from its impact.
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Format: Paperback
Bike for Life reads like a lifestyle magazine, categorized by topics designed to pique interest but follows up with depth reserved only for the New York Times or National Geographic. The authors know how to take a position without turning it into religion. Completing a Century ride on your 100th birthday appears within reach, but maybe not if your only activity is cycling.

It's likely that if you're a cyclist or triathlete you've already read both authors, Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky. Both have been fixtures in the publishing world for years. In fact, Katovsky started Triathlete and Inside Triathlon, and Wallack was one of Triathlete's premier editors. You'll likely recognize each of their distinctive literary voices from chapter to chapter, and feel a pleasant familiarity not unlike the sense you get when James Earl Jones's voice shows up in a commercial. At once you feel at ease.

Simply, Bike for Life posits that cycling is an integral part of longevity but not a panacea. While aerobic fitness can be maximized riding, even into our golden years, other aspects of fitness and bicycling must be addressed. Strength training and flexibility fill in the gaps of cycling's physiological deficiencies. The right bike fit solves the hand, wrist,neck, back, foot and numb nethers issues plaguing many of us, which, if ignored either kill the enjoyment or take us off the bike altogether. And, cycling related benefits notwithstanding, this book is a user's manual for us all, cyclists or otherwise, because it details a cornucopia of secrets to long term health and fitness. It's like having all of those pertinent articles that we read and wanted to save (but never did) compiled and organized for our periodic reference.
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I bought this book because I personally connect with its theme of "Ride a century when you turn a century." I am 42 and plan on another 50 or 60 years of hammering, so the longevity info interested me. That info is thorough, well-researched and, in some cases, groundbreaking. But more than that, it is AN INCREDIBLY FUN, READABLE BOOK THAT I CAN'T PUT DOWN. Just leafing randomly through the book, your eye catches on something and you end up reading for an hour without even knowing it. Why? A unique format. Bike for Life is actually TWO BOOKS IN ONE:

1) One of the best bike-training/longevity research books I've seen. Includes good descriptions of expected topics: climbing tips , anti-impotence tips, a strong case for cross-training. Particularly illuminating is some surprising, cutting-edge I hadn't heard of: the link between cycling and osteoporosis; using rapid-contraction weight-lifting to spur Human Growth Hormone production; the 5-to-1 "relationship ratio". Had I known some of the latter five years ago, it might have saved my marriage. Seriously.

2) Next, every chapter in Bike for Life is separated by a huge INTERVIEW WITH A CYCLING CELEBRITY; all are fascinating reads. The one with John Howard, the great US cyclist of the 70s, is riviting, as are those of Johhny G, the founder of Spinning, Mike Sinyard, the president of Specialized, John Sinabaldi, a 90-year-old former olympic rider of the 1930's who rides 30 miles per day, and one unknown, but strangely magnetic, fellow named Rich "The Reverend" White. (At first, I didn't like the idea of one of the authors, Roy Wallack, lumping an obvious friend of his with the stars, but it turned out to be a fascinating read.
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