Best New Bike Books: A Bike Lover’s Fall Book Club

10 great bike books to snuggle up with this fall.

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Stack of biking books on a bike rack

Photo by David Niddrie

As the dog days of summer cool into the cozy evenings of autumn, many of us slowly begin to spend more and more time indoors. While a little rain and cold weather is no reason to stop riding your bike entirely, it does mean fewer long, lazy bike rides and more quick commutes back to the refuge of a favorite armchair and good book. This fall, we’ve rounded up a few great cycling books for bike enthusiasts to snuggle up with.

1. Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, by James Longhurst
Published 2015

Biking has long been an activity Americans have long enjoyed. In fact, the end of the 19th century was marked by a “bicycle craze” that swept across the nation. Bike Battles tackles the question of why, given how long biking has been so ubiquitous in the U.S., are most American cities so ill-prepared to handle urban bikers? Longhurst tackles this debate between bike riders, motorists, and pedestrians by exploring the different mediums Americans have used to create opinions on the bicycle, such as: popular songs, advertising, films, newspapers, and television. Today, cycling in urban centers remains a challenge for city planners, residents, and politicians who continue to argue over bike related issues. Longhurst explores how the bicycle came to be unseated as regular fixture on American roads, a shows us just how long these debates of who is – and who isn’t – welcome on our roads has been going on.

2. Everyday Bicycling, by Elly Blue
Revised Edition 2015

Everyday Bicycling is a practical and encouraging guide for anyone making the transition to transportation by bike. Blue is non-confrontational and level-headed as she takes the reader through resources for adult learners: tips on how to feel more comfortable and safe in traffic, wardrobe choices, weather, and bike storage options. She also writes about how to buy a bike, how to bike with children, how to grocery shop by bike, and many of the other obstacles one might run into when they’re new to transportation cycling approaching . Everyday Bicycling is the perfect introduction to anyone who has questions (and there are many) about how to commute by bike. It is informative and useful and answers all of the right questions while still painting bike commuting with the right brush, an uncomplicated one!

3. Make: Bicycle Projects: Upgrade, Accessorize and Customize with Electronics, Mechanics, and Metalwork (Make: Technology on your Time), by John Baichtal
Published 2015

Make: Bicycle Projects features eighteen different projects to switch up your bicycle game. Baichtal outlines methods to upgrade that include a handle-bar synthesizer horn, and an LED headlight. Alongside these awesome projects are informative how-to’s on subjects such as stripping down and repainting your bike as well as the mechanics and tools required for maintaining it.

4. The Culinary Cyclist, by Anna Brones
Published 2015

The Culinary Cyclist is, as the subtitle suggests, “a cookbook and companion for the good life.” It is both a recipe guide and a lifestyle guide to a life of simple pleasures: food and bicycles. Brones writes that the bicycle and food are two of the simplest things we have at our disposal, yet we’ve created a culture in which both are devalued. With chapters such as “eating locally and seasonally” and “transporting your food”, Brones offers an accessible alternative to the stress-filled lifestyle of modern North America, one centred around food, family, friends, and bicycles.

5. A Guide to Falling Down in Public: Finding Balance On And Off The Bicycle Hardcover, by Joe Kurmanskie
Release date October 13, 2015

This is the fifth book in the Metal Cowboy series. Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmanskie celebrates the painful art of falling down and getting back up again on five awe-inspiring, sweat-soaked continents. A collection of bicycle touring adventures spanning four decades and thirty countries, the Metal Cowboy shows us how to embrace the fragility in all of us, as well as the wonders down the road.

6. How to Ride a Century: Cycling 100 Miles for Fitness and Fun, by Charles Lindsey
Published 2015

Runners have marathons; cyclists have centuries. 100 miles in one day. You may think it’s out of your reach, but How to Ride a Century describes what you can expect in a 100-mile ride, how to train, and how to finish your century with confidence. Lindsey also describes bikes and gear, how to fulfill the ride while keeping to the rules of the road, as well as his own mistakes, because, hey, we all make them.

7. Changing Things Up: A Tricycle Journey Across America, by Dan R. Carlman
Published 2015

Changing Things Up tells the story of Dan Carlman who retires from his profession of fireman and decides to take a solo journey across the States with only his recumbent tricycle and a few necessary supplies. This is the story of Carlman’s personal journey of self-discovery, both physical and mental, towards new purpose.

8. Urban Revolutions: A Woman’s Guide to Two-Wheeled Transportation, by Emilie Bahr
Available from the publisher in December 2015, in book stores and Amazon May 10 2016

Bahr lets us into her world as an everyday cyclist and transportation planner in New Orleans. Her hospitality in this book lies in her ability to demystify urban cycling and not shy away from such subjects as: What makes bicycling a women’s issue? How do you bike to work in the summer and still look professional? And finally, how you can still have fun and use the bicycle as a means of exercise without being athletic. Bahr digs into the urban cycler’s life and what it take to feel comfortable on two wheels, and how a city’s “bike-friendly” status can help with that (not to mention what a bike friendly city even means), in this open-armed field guide.

9. Urban Cycling Survival Guide, by Yvonne Bambrick
Published 2015

Yvonne Bambrick’s Urban Cycling Survival Guide is an accessible pocket guide for anyone new to cycling in the city, and a handy reference for those who have been doing it a while. With tips and tricks on everything from choosing and maintaining a bike to planning a route to the spoken and unspoken rules of the road, Bambrick’s Guide is sure to make a confident city cyclist out of even the most hesitant of folk.

10. The Velocipede Races, by Emily June Street
Available January 1, 2016

The only fictional title on the list, The Velocipede Races is Emily June Street’s tale of a young woman who was born not into the wrong body, but the wrong set of rules. Headstrong Emmeline Escot knows her life’s purpose is to ride in the gruelling, cutthroat velocipede races. But she is forced to sit back and watch as her twin brother gains success as a racer, while she is stuck in the restrictive world of corsets, “ladylike” behavior, and a marriage of convenience. Or is she so stuck after all? Escot is a heroine for for determined women everywhere, casting aside notions of propriety to chase her dream on two wheels.

 

 

 

4 Comments

  • While I may be prejudiced, having been the project editor for the book, I’d also add Madi Carlson’s just-released “Urban Cycling: how to get to work, save money, and use your bike for city living.” To paraphrase Joe Kurmaskie, it’s not only a “how-to,” it’s also a “why-to.” Madi doesn’t lecture or harangue; she just shows that using your bike for everyday transportation is whole lot of fun. Working on her book definitely increased my time on my own bicycle!

  • MLC40

    I would add The Cyclist’s Bucket List: A Celebration of 75 Quintessential Cycling Experiences by Ian Dille. Some great ideas for epic rides, both on the road and off, from around the world.

    The Race Against the Stasi: The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, The Iron Curtain and The Greatest Cycling Race on Earth by Herbie Sykes is not about racing but about the culture of sport in East Germany during the Cold War, focusing on a champion East German rider who defected to the west after falling in love with a woman who lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

  • I would strongly suggest that you add Tom Babin’s Frostbike to your list of bike lovers books to read. Sure, it’s about winter cycling, but it’s still a very, very good read

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