Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week 20: Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling

This book was written by the Bike Snob, a New York City-based anonymous writer whose blog is a delightful buffet of snark directed at all types of bike riders. He is a former bike messenger who also races, and has built up many years of experience in the saddle. Since riding a bike has garnered a certain trendiness as of late, he comments mostly on bike culture, and does not hesitate to poke fun at any sort of foofy cyclist. He doesn’t discriminate, whether it be hipsters on fixies or spandex clownsuits on expensive road bikes. He has coined several awesome bike terms, such as “bike salmon” (riders who ride the wrong way down streets) and he has whipped up profiles of common types of riders. His observations on urban cycling ring true for anyone who bikes around town, making his blog pretty successful amongst riders. This book is a primer of sorts, and introduction to some basic Bike Snob tenets that will definitely make any cyclist laugh. Here’s an example of his thoughts on “Contraption Captains” – people who ride recumbent bikes.

“The recumbent strikes fear into the hearts of nearly every non-recumbent-riding cyclist. If you've ever seen a dog growl at a plastic bag caught in a shrub because the dog thinks it might be some kind of weird animal, then you understand the reaction. Cyclists all notice one another, so when we see something that looks somewhat like a bicycle yet places the rider in an odd position with his feet kicking at the air as if he's defending himself from an attacking eagle, we become confused and disoriented.”

In addition to acquainting the reader with various types of riders, the Bike Snob also summarizes the basic components of the bicycle, why it’s important to learn some easy repairs, and how to bike in traffic. His attitude about biking is pretty simple. He advocates simply riding your bike and not thinking too much about it or getting too caught up in the aesthetics of it all. He’s lax on wearing helmets or following traffic rules, which I take issue with, but he never fails to stress common sense when riding. He also includes some photos of very silly bikes and picks them apart mercilessly. The book is wicked funny and worth reading if you are into bikes even a tiny bit. I finished it with a smile, feeling excited to hop on my bike again.

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