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City Cycling (Urban and Industrial Environments) Paperback – October 12, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


This is a must-read book for all those interested in transport and concerned about the environment, their own health, the quality of life, and the future of mobility. It provides an authoritative statement of the renaissance of cycling in all its facets, and each chapter is presented in a systematic, well-structured, accessible, and comprehensive manner through a galaxy of international authors. It is a benchmark book that will stand the test of time.

(David Banister, Professor of Transport Studies, University of Oxford, UK)

City Cycling is sure to become the key reference work for academics, advocates, technicians, and politicians seeking to increase cycling in the United States. This impressive book thoroughly documents the individual, community, and national benefits of getting more people on bikes and proposes specific measures for making cycling safe and feasible for everyone. John Pucher and Ralph Buehler leave the reader no choice but to act.

(Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists)

With an overwhelming global demand for cycling solutions, City Cycling is being published at exactly the right time. It makes a clear case that cycling is the answer to big global problems. Readers are treated to unparalleled cycling expertise with extensive content from international contributors and a great collection of case studies. City Cycling will be a reference point in interdisciplinary research about cycling.

(Manfred Neun, President, European Cyclists' Federation)

The best single source to date of data on cycling trends and successful strategies to expand and maintain high levels of cycling. Chapters focusing on women cyclists, children and cycling, and small, large, and megacities add to the usefulness.

(Mark Vallianatos, Policy Director, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College)

This book could be a change agent for bicycling and the infrastructure. It can be hoped that nationally elected officials will read it and pass legislation favorable to bicycling.

(Anne Lusk, Research Scientist, Harvard School of Public Health)

While City Cycling probably won't convince the most hard-core bike haters, it has the potential to help change the debate about how biking fits into the transportation system in countries such as the U.S., where it has traditionally been perceived as marginal. This thoroughly academic approach could be just what we need to move the conversation forward.

(Sarah Goodyear The Atlantic Cities)

About the Author

John Pucher is Professor in the Department of Urban Planning at the Bloustein School of Planning and Policy at Rutgers University. He is the coauthor of The Urban Transport Crisis in Europe and North America and The Urban Transportation System: Politics and Policy Innovation (MIT Press).

Ralph Buehler is Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.

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Product Details

  • Series: Urban and Industrial Environments
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (October 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262517817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262517812
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Pucher, Buehler and their team of authors have gathered reams of data and cited hundreds of research works on the many benefits of bicycling, the safety of cycling (yes, it's a safe activity), cycling promotion around the globe, bike sharing, and more. This book should be useful for those wishing to find and read scholarly papers related to cycling; and some of its arguments may prove useful in promotion or defense of cycling.

But a major flaw is an overwhelming bias in favor of promoting segregated facilities. The authors repeatedly point to certain northern European cities, most often, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. They argue that those cities are dominated by bike paths, tracks and lanes, and have tremendous cycling mode shares (up to 40% of trips). The authors frequently claim or imply is that if American cities install similar special facilities, American cities will have similar
cycling mode share.

One has to dig very deeply to find evidence in this book of the countless other factors that have produced Northern Europe's bicycle culture. Cycling cities tend to be very compact, with very short trip distances (perhaps 5 km on average), dense networks of streets allowing many quiet route choices, flat terrain, excellent public transportation, much city-centered housing, large student populations, and many, many policies that dissuade use of the automobile. Some of those policies are extreme taxes on car purchases, extreme fuel taxes, great difficulty and expense in earning driver's licenses, strict liability laws, low speed limits, large car-free zones, and rare and expensive parking. Indeed, restricting motoring is probably the most effective method of promoting cycling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wrote this lengthy review for a class assignment, with Amazon in mind:

John Pucher and Ralph Buehler, the principle authors of City Cycling, aim to portray recent trends in cycling, identify the most effective measures for increasing cycling levels, improve safety, and make cycling possible for all segments of society (for those who are able). 16 of the 21 contributors have their doctorates; City Cycling is a wonky book, and does not pretend to be anything different. Nevertheless, the book is quite readable. It would easily hold the interest of any related academic, professional, student, or bicycle enthusiast.

The book is very comprehensive and full of detailed explanations, at 393 pages, including references. Here is a listing of the chapters, for those whose interests may be rather specific:

1. Introduction
2. International overview: cycling trends in North America, Western Europe and Australia
3. Health Benefits of Cycling
4. Effective Speed: Cycling Because It's "Faster"
5. Developments in Bicycle Equipment and Its Role in Promoting Cycling as a Travel Mode
6. Bicycling Infrastructure for Mass Cycling: A Transatlantic Comparison
7. Cycling Safety
8. Integration of Cycling with Public Transportation
9. Bikesharing across the Globe
10. Women and Cycling
11. Children and Cycling
12. Cycling and Small Cities
13. Big City Cycling in Europe, North America and Australia
14. Cycling in Megacities: London, Paris, New York, and Tokyo
15. Promoting Cycling for Daily Travel: Conclusions and Lessons from across the Globe

As the chapters hint, much of the book compares the current state of cycling to Western Europe and Australia.
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This book examines cycling in urban environments worldwide, with chapters from many academics and researchers on various subjects, such as utility cycling and the bicycles most suited to it, the concept of "effective speed" in cycling, bike sharing systems, women in cycling, children in cycling, health benefits of cycling, and cycling in cities of various size (up to Paris, London, New York and Tokyo). The final chapter talks about lessons for promoting cycling in everyday life.

Every chapter has excellent references - this is one of the very few English books that references CROW, the Dutch design manual. There are many figures and tables throughout. Some of the more interesting are Figure 5.4 about "Rider's posture while sitting and stopping on different types of bicycles" contrasting the Dutch-style transport bike, Hybrid or mountain bike, and the Road/racing bike; Figures 10.1 to 10.3 comparing bicycle mode share of trips to percentage of bicyclists who are female for countries, cities and suburbs; and Figure 2.4 contrasting five countries with trip bike share by age.

In response to the odd review below, this book is very much about lessons learnt from cities worldwide and there is not that much about vehicular cycling. In fact, the chapter which mentions it is entitled "Bicycle Infrastructure for _Mass_ Cycling". VC is not about mass cycling and the chapter promotes the infrastructure that has worked so well in Europe. The theme of the book is promoting cycling as a normal activity which should be accessible to everyone and the kind of changes that would make that possible in cities. The citations are of course European as very few cities elsewhere have achieved much in the way of modal share.
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