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Cyclecraft: The Complete Guide to Safe and Enjoyable Cycling for Adults and Children (North American Edition) Paperback – June 22, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Franklin is a consultant and registered Expert Witness on cycling skills and safety and was a member of the government working group that set up the UK National Standard.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: The Stationary Office (TSO); 4th (North American) Edition edition (June 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0117064769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0117064768
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,689,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Serge Issakov on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everyone who rides a bike on North American roads needs to read this book.

The whole book is excellent, but the best part is about road positioning, which Franklin calls "probably the most important [of all cycling skills]" (p. 92). Here are some key citations.

"...positioning is one of the most important traffic skills for a cyclist to acquire, yet is precisely here that most cyclists perform badly. Many cyclists fail to position themselves properly because of their fear of traffic, yet ironically, it is this very fear that probably puts them most at risk." (p. 91)

"An important rule of road sharing is that no one should unnecessarily impede the passage of anyone else. However, you are quite justified in restricting the movements of other vehicles where this is important for your own safety, and you should not hesitate to do so when necessary."

Franklin has developed the concept of the "primary riding position" which is "in the center of the rightmost line of traffic for the direction in which you wish to travel." Why is this the primary position? Because, "here you will be well within the zone of maximum surveillance of both following drivers and those who might cross your path, and you will have the best two-way visibility of side roads and other features along the road. The road surface will usually be flatter here ...". Earlier on the same page he explains the basis: "Motorists primarily give attention to that part of the highway where is risk to themselves: they are not nearly so good at noticing anything outside their path. This zone of maximum surveillance is often very narrow, especially at higher speeds - it does not extend to much ...
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Format: Paperback
John Franklin's _Cyclecraft_ is about how to ride a bike safely and efficiently in the seemingly harsh world of motor traffic. Franklin presents the specific techniques that cyclists need to know to start off, move along, turn safely, avoid hazards of all types, and maneuver in unusual or difficult situations. The diagrams in the book are lucid, Franklin's instructions are specific without being pedantic, and his points are clearly made and backed up with evidence and experience.
The lone drawback to this book for anyone who lives outside the United Kingdom or Ireland might be that some of the information is specific to traffic standards in those countries. The most obvious of these is driving on the left, and Americans like me will have to think "right" whenever Franklin writes "left."
This is a very minor nit, however. There is no book yet published in North America that is so succinct yet so complete on the practice of cycling for transportation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a cycling noob. I have owned a few "BSOs" (bike shaped objects) in my life, but I'm now exploring my options in the realm of more serious cycling. I would like the bicycle to be a serious transportation option for me, even going so far as to supplant a car for almost all transport needs under 10 miles. However, I'm not confident in my knowledge of the safest way to operate a bicycle in the various situations that I might find myself in. This book instilled me with the knowledge that I will need to develop wisdom as I actually pedal my bike into the road.

Author John Franklin wrote his original Cyclecraft book to focus on UK cycling. After its smashing success, Mr. Franklin rewrote it to take into consideration the needs of North American cyclists (the focus being on US and Canadian cycling; no mention of Mexico is made). The UK book's smashing success appears to have followed it across the pond.

A large reason for the book's success is the imminent practicality all throughout the entire book. First and foremost, it seeks to change readers' minds if perchance they should feel like second class vehicles on the roadway. The book seeks to responsibly remove any timidity from the reader and expects them to 1) Make safety paramount in their decision making process, and 2) Seek peer status with the rest of the vehicles on the road, not to prove any sort of point, but rather to fulfill point #1. Yes, behaving yourself no different from motorized vehicles on a roadway is actually safer for both yourself and those around you. The book explains all the reasoning, situations, and peculiarities of bicycling on roadways.

But don't think that the book only speaks to city bicycling. Far from it.
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'Cyclecraft' is recommended reading for the UK's Bikeability (the national cycle training standard, rather more advanced than cycling proficiency) and that's why many people will probably buy it. However I think it is an excellent read for anyone who takes their bike out on normal roads. Franklin looks at all aspects of cycling (except for bike maintenance), including choosing a bike, setting it up correctly, gear changing etc and advice on riding on the roads. His diagrams are all generally helpful but it's his overall comments about taking your position on the road as a cyclist that are so helpful. He dispels common myths about cycle positioning (that we should hide ourselves in the gutter) and his advice makes cycling much safer.

This is a very readable book, including information about other forms of cycling such as tricycles and recumbents (I have a recumbent trike so I was interested to read this), towing children in a trailer, tandems etc. My only criticism is that sometimes the book makes cycling on a normal upright seem rather dangerous (comments about braking correctly, not skidding in the wet etc) and might have put me off a little if I cycled one of these. However despite this reservation I can heartily recommend this book and have found it exceptionally useful for my own cycling and something that I will refer to many times.
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