As a long-time reader of the BikeSnobNYC blog, I decided to snap up a copy of Eben Weiss’s book, “Bike Snob,” whilst at Waterstones a few days ago. The book is an enjoyable read for anyone who is already a cyclist, the Guide to Cycling Tribes section will no-doubt bring a smile to anyone who spends a reasonable amount of time in the saddle. The book, in parts could persuade a non-cyclist of what those of us who do cycle get to experience when we ride, from the obvious advantages of cycling as transport in dense urban locations to the less practical aspects of cycling which can be troublesome to articulate to our non-cycling friends. Whilst this blog is not particularly concerned with sport-cycling, Weiss describes the enjoyment which competitive cycling brings him in a way even the most utilitarian cyclist can appreciate.
The book has a very American flavour to it, which is to be expected as it was written by an American. In terms of transport policy, particularly the relationship between motorists and cyclists we in the UK are much closer to the USA than most of the rest of the European countries, sadly. This is in part due to Britain being resistant to some of the best things the EU has to offer. Cycling as transport is inferred throughout the book but rarely specifically mentioned. The problems with motorists brought up in the book will be instantly familiar to anyone who has ridden a bike on the road in the UK. Weiss is known to be pro-helmet but takes the moderate approach of saying that “If it’s between riding a bike without a helmet and not riding a bike, you’re better off just riding the bike,” which I can respect, although my personal view is that if it is a choice between riding a bike with a helmet and not riding a bike, you’re better off riding with a helmet. He also points out the folly in relying on a helmet instead of things such as your brain and in the case of hipsters, brakes and does so in a moderate manner which is unlikely to alienate readers with different viewpoints.
This book could make a great Xmas gift for an experienced cyclist but the talk of pain and traffic danger could be off-putting to a non-cyclist you are perhaps hoping to inspire, which is a shame considering some of the positive, inspirational content of the book. Overall I would definitely recommend it.