Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review: Everyday Bicycling

A few months ago, I heard that Elly Blue, of Taking The Lane, had published a book on cycling. I've been following her blog for a while & thought this could be a great book. I immediately emailed her & asked to get a copy to review it. When the book arrived soon after, I was not disappointed. Everyday Bicycling: How to ride a bike for transportation (whatever your lifestyle) is a brilliant little handbook on exactly what the title says. Starting with practical advice that is essential for the absolute novice but still a useful reminder for the more experienced rider, Elly Blue informs & entertains in a very readable, accessible style. She gets into the nitty gritty of how to fit transportation cycling into your life, from the clothing to the planning to weather.

Chapter three of Everyday Bicycling is a comprehensive primer on all the different styles of bikes out there, with useful advice about which kind would work for what sort of riding. From cyclocross to Dutch bakfiets, she covers pretty much everything in a balanced manner.

Not surprisingly, I paid the closest attention to chapter five: Family Bicycling. Elly brought in the experts: a number of pedal parents weigh in on their experience & advice, including the now infamous Emily Finch who used to ride with all six of her kids on one bike (the oldest can ride on their own now). The chapter covers different seat & trailer options, longtail bikes as well as advice on teaching children to ride themselves.

The last chapter of Everyday Bicycling is full of ideas on how you can get involved in your local cycling community, if you want to. Elly mentions group rides like Kidical Mass, how to organize them yourself if you want to, ideas for bike advocacy & practical tips on how to lobby your municipal government to make it safer for all road users.

Throughout the entire book, Elly's down-to-earth sense of humour shines through & she presents the information without being preachy or judgmental. She's not trying to make you into a road warrior, she's trying to help you ride your bike more & enjoy it when you do, whether that's to get some butter at the store on Saturday or to commute a hundred kilometres a week to & from work.

This book would be useful for anyone who wants to ride, be they beginner, experienced cyclist or something in between. With kids, without kids; in great shape or not--this book is aimed at everybody. The Vancouver Public Library does have three copies on order, but there's so much information crammed into this little book, I truly think it'd be worth buying to refer to later. You can order a copy here on her site--at $9.95, it's a great deal.

About the Author:
Elly Blue runs Taking the Lane Media. She's been writing about bicycle transportation since 2006, & her work has appeared in Grist, Bitch, BikePortland, Momentum, Reclaim, & elsewhere. She co-founded PDX by Bike, a business that helps people find their way around Portland by bicycle, as well as a nonprofit business alliance called the Portland Society. Everyday Bicycling is her first book. Her next full-length book, Bikenomics, comes out in February 2013.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of Everyday Cycling to review, but was not otherwise compensated for the review. The link to buy it is not an affiliate link either--I seriously just love the book & think you will too!

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