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Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling Hardcover – May 5, 2010
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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.
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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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."
While he's at it, he tries to knock some sense into cyclists themselves -- questioning the sanity of riding brakeless track bikes on the street, for example, and poking fun at the marketing-driven compulsion of "roadies" to endlessly upgrade their bikes (especially those that are most likely to get stolen anyway).
Some overall themes that emerge are encouraging to the newcomer ("get out and ride"), while persuading the cycling-obsessed to take themselves (and their bikes) a bit less seriously. (He holds a special disdain for "bicycle fetishists" who are more focused on their gear than on riding: "They keep their bicycles clean all the time, they fear scratches like they're herpes, and they don't ever ride in the rain...so their bikes won't get dirty or rusty. They're like the people who collect toys but don't remove them from the package so as not to diminish their value." )
The book is a must-buy for fans of the blog, and great gift for the cyclist in your family.
I have been riding a 1970 Bianchi out in the country for decades a rip van winkle of cycling who had no idea how cycling had evolved until I moved to Austin. This book has wittily and hilariously helped clairfy the various displines and why I get stares from the A team Roadie riders. (I thought sequined tops from vintage evening gowns would make me more visable while in traffic in bike lanes.) I have updated to a Cipollini Seaco era Cannondale down to the yellow tires like his 1998-2000. I am letting my freak flag fly in Austin and no one has used the "L" word to me anyway!
I will be referencing your observations often!!! Witty, fun, and bang on.
I would keep it on the shelf with "The Triplets of Belleville" (it has that kind of bizarre-yet-appropos humor), but I got it on the Kindle, so it has to bounce around in the cloud.
Yes, the book is a collection of blog entries written over a long range of time (not specified), but it doesn't matter; these vignettes are timeless and true, spot-on descriptions of the people and places you only find on a bike.