Saturday, December 01, 2012

Three cycling books

I'm a reader. Not just blogs, but actual real life dead tree books. I even spend my own money on them. I've recently purchased three very different books about cycling.

Cycling Science by Max Glaskin is a book, that, were it larger would seem like a coffee table book. It's very cleanly designed with interesting graphics and a lot of white space. Each subject is exactly two facing pages long, no matter how complicated or simple it is. You get a header, a snappy lead in, a graphic or two and a short explanation. Nothing goes into a ton of depth, but that makes for an easy breezy read. It could work as a cyclist's bathroom reader.  It's pretty much footnote and citation free, so who knows where these facts come from.
Edit: It seems I missed the 150-odd citations detailed in five pages at the back of the book. I guess that's why I'm not a professional book reviewer. 
I enjoyed this book, but there wasn't much new in it for me. But then I'm an old guy and a compulsive reader who's been reading stuff like this forever. 
The author says he's continuing to gather new material about cycling scence, tweeting daily about it as @cyclinscence1 and beginning to blog at Cool! I know I'll be adding it to my RSS reader.

Cyclepedia by Michael Embacher: I found this at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It's a collection of beautifully shot photos presented in no particular order. I'm guessing, but I think it originated in Germany and was translated for the American market. Most of the bikes are in the author's collection, so this is really a work of love. Many of the bikes are unusual European historical models I've never heard of, which makes it a lot of fun. The photographs are extremely well done. I've enjoyed just picking it up, randomly choosing a page and oogling a bike.

The Secret Race. If you love cycling, Tyler Hamilton's story will break your heart. Hamilton is hard on Lance Armstrong, but just as hard on himself. It provides a look inside the Armstrong doping years in more detail than you may be able to handle. This whole book has a painful ring of sad truth, but it's well written and fascinating, perhaps like a brilliantly written description of a train wreck. I'm glad I read it, and in many ways I enjoyed it. But it left me very sad for Hamilton and cycling. 


  1. Thank you very much for mentioning Cycling Science on your blog and for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I value your comments. I tried to reference every fact, which took a while and was a huge job when it came to preserving them through each edit, and you can find the 150-odd citations detailed in five pages at the back of the book. I'm continuing to gather new material about cycling scence, tweeting daily about it as @cyclinscence1 and beginning to blog at It doesn't leave much time for riding but aftera year preparing the book, I just can't quit.
    Best wishes and kind regards
    Max Glaskin

    1. Thanks for your comment. I've appended my post with your correction, added your blog to my RSS feed, followed you on twitter and liked your Facebook page as part of my apology.

  2. Wow - that's amazing. I was just pleased you bought my book and took the trouble to review it. Chapeau!


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