"I FOUND A SINGULAR BOOK THAT IS SO GOOD I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE WHO RIDES -- OR WHO WOULD LIKE TO ...

A FORMER BIKE MESSENGER, HURST INTERVIEWED MANY EXPERT CYCLISTS AND ACCOMPLISHED WHAT A GREAT HOW-TO BOOK SHOULD: HE DISTILLED YEARS OF EXPERIENCE INTO A READABLE, UNDERSTANDABLE BOOK THAT CAN HELP THOSE WITH LESS EXPERIENCE GAIN TREMENDOUSLY -- WITHOUT HAVING TO MAKE ALL THE MISTAKES THEMSELVES."

-- Steve Leveen, HuffingtonPost

   In 2003 the good folks at Falcon Publishing took me up on my idea to write a somewhat unusual book that would combine the historical big picture of American transportation and urban development with the finer points of riding a bicycle in traffic. This was quite a departure for Falcon, the long-time guidebook publisher.

The Art of Urban Cycling  turned out to be much more than a recital of my own experience gained over a few hundred thousand miles as messenger, commuter and recreational rider. It became a compendium of street knowledge from a large number of highly experienced bicyclists I have been lucky to count as friends and acquaintances over the years. Through countless conversations (and questions that must have seemed inappropriately personal and probing at times) I set out to determine exactly what these people knew, the secrets to their success, the reasons for their failures. I wanted to figure out if the things they thought they knew about traffic cycling were the same things I thought I knew about it. Turns out we were all pretty much on the same page. So when the book hit the shelves I wasn't surprised that it struck a chord with other veteran riders around the country and the world.

The second edition was retitled The Art of Cycling. Why? Folks over at Falcon who get paid a bit to think about these things were concerned that the word 'urban' was putting off potential buyers, especially since the majority of Americans now live in the suburbs. The new edition has a section on the vagaries of riding in the 'burbs, a discussion of the looming energy crunch, many subtle and not-so-subtle additions and changes throughout, and updated statistics. But in general it's the same book.

The Art of Cycling has become known for providing the most thorough and realistic discussion of in-traffic technique in print. You'll also find an overview of relevant historical issues, an examination of the riding surface and its various pitfalls, frank advice about air pollution and its effect on bicyclists, and step-by-step instructions for fixing a flat; skeptics will enjoy vigorous skewerings of bicycle accident statistics and many of the sacred cows of the bicycle equipment cult. The book also includes several overhead traffic diagrams, which I drew myself, and a few illustrations by artist/messenger Sam Turner. It's a book that will be useful to bicyclists of all abilities and levels of experience.

I can't offer any of these books for sale directly, but I can point you to some retailers who would be glad to take your hard-earned stimulus package.

 

Buy the Art of Cycling (2nd ed.): Amazon / Tattered Cover (Denver) / Powell's (Portland) / Barnes & Noble.

 

Photo by Robert Reid.

SEE ALSO  THE ART OF MOUNTAIN BIKING THE CYCLIST'S MANIFESTO,  ROAD BIKING COLORADO'S FRONT RANGE AND MOUNTAIN BIKING COLORADO'S SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS.