Friday, July 29, 2011

It's All About the Bike

I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a friend and a review from a trusted magazine. If you are remotely interested in bicycles, it is a must read. It packs the history of cycling and a good amount of technical information into a shortish and fun to read package.
Penn uses his quest to get a custom built bicycle as the backdrop for unravelling the story of the bicycle and its special place in the world. For the history buff it is an interesting lens through which to see the changes that have taken place over the last 150 years. As Penn points out, the bicycle was a leading edge of many of the changes in the early 20th century. It made the populace more mobile, it helped liberate women, it provided a healthy past time, and was a huge employer.
For the bicycle buff the book is an even vaster treasure trove. It has some technical details. It tells the stories behind some of the biggest innovations in bicycling. It validates the special place a bicycle holds in your heart.
For the rest of the world, it is just full of great stories and good writing. Hopefully, it is also full of inspiration to hop on a bicycle!

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