Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bike Book: The Outspokin' Cyclist

My first book review. Thanks to Mr. Phillip Barron.

The first thing that struck me about this book was its origin. From 2004 to 2008, Phillip Barron wrote a cyclist column for the Durham Herald Sun. This book is a collection of those columns. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a Southern city paper thought so much of its cycling readership or considered cycling relevant enough for its own column. I'm also jealous. The Atlanta Journal Constitution does not have a cycling column. Even Creative Loafing--the "alternative" paper--lacks a bike column.

Jealousy aside, I appreciate the Zen nature of the book's first part "Why I Ride." The essays here convey the sentiment of taking time out for oneself and slowing down to smell the roses. Barron speaks to both the sports cyclist enjoying those rare moments of being in the zone and the commuter experiencing their city to a degree that only bicycles allow.

Now that Barron has wooed readers onto their bikes, he offers some support and advice in the next section, "Building A Bike Community." He passes along winter riding tips from Ottawa's bike messengers and provides a quick comparison of bike trailers for carrying kids. There are also cool-headed words for motorists and cyclists seeking to share the road.

Lastly, Barron celebrates cycling in many of its varieties and locales. He even rhapsodizes about falling. Taken as a life lesson and not just an accident, I find his parting words have staying power. "Where we fall and bounce back, where we risk and succeed, where we work through fear, that’s where we find meaning in life."

5 comments :

Phillip said...

Thanks so much for such a thoughtful review. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And I agree that more newspapers would do well to have cycling columnists.

Spence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spence said...

Hello, I'm Spencer I know Phillip somewhat, just bought a copy of his book and saw your link.

Nice blog nice pictures on my way out the door, hoping you will visit my biking blog by googling "biking the live fantastic".

So long, Spence

Courtnee said...

Phillip, it was my pleasure.

Spence, since it looks like both of those blogs are yours and each is chock-full of tips and tricks, you should get your own newspaper column ;)

ronrich said...

Another book that you might want to have a look at and perhaps review is "On Bicycles", editted by Amy Walker.
Info at: http://www.amazon.com/Bicycles-Ways-Bike-Culture-Change/dp/1608680223/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317934452&sr=8-1