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Top Contributor: Cyclingon February 17, 2014
Don't expect another "How-to" guide to ride a bicycle, training for the next big competition, or fixing your bike here. This book is almost all about what Grant Petersen coined as "Velosophy". I read through it in one Saturday afternoon and evening and had a blast, causing startling looks from my wife and neighbors because I was constantly LOL-ing by myself while staring on a little tablet [I got the Kindle Version]. Among other things I found out that I am an "Urban Lone Wolf" bike rider with a little bit of "Retro-grouch" in the mix :-) To find out in which biker category you belong (and much more) I recommend to read this book.

"Velosophy", as well as the kind of humor expressed by the author, might not be everybody's 'cup of tea'. Fortunately Amazon has a "look in" feature on most of the books and also delivers a free sample into your Kindle. I recommend to do that, and if you enjoy what's in the sample you also will enjoy reading the whole book. Very entertaining with bits of rather unusual information, especially concerning early biking history of the U.S.!
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on May 1, 2010
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."

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.
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on October 27, 2016
A light fun look at the multifaceted world of cycling. The larger purpose of the book is to simply ride, regardless of the stripe you embrace.
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.
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on July 5, 2016
If you know his work and find it entertaining then this book is for you. I am a fan of the man. It is unclear to me what a non cyclist or a non fan would get from this book. I enjoy his blog more. In his blog he gives voice to the reality of being a cyclist today and is one of the few voices crying bulls*** loudly and frequently. Having said that, I encourage you to buy the book so he does not need to erect a paywall on his blog in order to a)feed his 9000 children, b)pay the shipping charges to send back all those demo/test/loaner bikes he has that he never returned, or c)move his family across the pond so he can become an apprentice Chamfeur (sp?) at Brooks.
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VINE VOICEon July 23, 2013
It is interesting to read how bicycle riders like this author think. As a sometimes rider who does not commute to work on a bicycle, I do not intend to dodge in and out of traffic --- ever, nor do I insist on sharing the road when a perfectly good sidewalk is unused alongside. That is the only law I will break on my bicycle. This writer seems to think that occasionally running a red or weaving around cars at a traffic light is okay and I do not. He is not a speed racer type, but somewhat militant about his rights still. I don't see the point actually. In my view, cars are bigger than me and my bicycle will lose a confrontation with them so I avoid such confrontations. The self-proclaimed bike snob is far braver than me, or is that more foolhardy? Definitely a younger perspective than mine. His book is quite a lot of fun to read and includes some tips and techniques that are of great value to any cyclist. He writes in a casual entertaining style and his books and his blog are well worth the cost of admission. Every cyclist should have this book on his her shelf.
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on May 28, 2013
If you've ever ridden a bicycle as an adult, especially as a member of a cycling club, group, tour or masse, you'll recognize the characters BikeSnobNYC blogs about. In fact if you've lived with an adult bicyclist member of a cycling club, group, etc., you'll recognize them - the writer has put his finger on the true pulse of recreational cycling in America, and OMG, it's FUNNY!

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.
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on August 13, 2014
The Bike Snob may not be a world-class racer or the owner of a bike shop specializing in custom built frames, but in his survey of the bike world of New York City, he comes across as someone who certainly knows a lot about bikes and the larger cultural context in which which bikes play their (unfortunately too small) role. The Bike Snob is a citizen advocate for cycling, committed to making it a bigger part of American life. He has a visceral disdain for the car-obsessed aspect of American identity. At the same time, the Snob's acerbic wit can be seen as a humbling and refreshing restorative when it's directed at the many deformities and stupidities that arise within the bike world itself. This book is for anyone who wishes (for some odd reason) to be culturally informed about the American cyclist. The focus on biking in New York City may result in a few distortions or omissions if you're a cyclist from some other region of the US (for example, as a cyclist in Wisconsin, collisions with animals has to be one of the top hazards of biking . . . though it doesn't make the Snob's list), but all in all, this book is treasure for anyone who has a fondness for bicycles . . . or who has some issues with American urban "planning" and the kind of social pathologies it has engendered.
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on December 26, 2013
"Are you going to ride the Tour de France?" Bike Snob brings up this question that is asked of all of us, as well as the male impotence issue that wee get asked. Loved this section of the book because any self respecting human will have watched the Tour and will never have seen a woman ride it and... Lance Armstrong and Andy Schleck have plenty kids so duh! It doesn't cause that. So I loved how Bike Snob takes an angle on these topics and explains them.

I am an OCD cyclist who until not so long ago fit into his roadie description perfectly! I have enjoyed reading this book so much that I want to read it again. The book takes a comical look at our awesome sport and the characters in it. And... Don't think that because it is written by an American in America the stuff he says won't be applicable anywhere else. It is! It's a global book - hey, even little me here in South Africa can see the parallels!

This is a must have book if you are a cyclist and a must gift book for family and friends who are not cyclists. Basically: it should be a school workbook and a pre-requisite for all wanna be drivers!!
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on January 17, 2017
you have to buy this book I envy his ability to have a deep thought and make it humorous. buy the book. tell them Mark set you
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on November 5, 2017
This Book spoke to me on so many levels. I'm the Lone Wolf looking for a Pack. But, I'm content to enjoy riding at my own pace. Funny, honest and humbling this book speaks to anyone who's ever dared to be a Road Warrior or a timid soul just starting out. Thanks :)
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