Out Your Backdoor

Indie Outdoor Lore 'n' More

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January 12, 2005

Ultimate Bicycle Book
Richard Ballantine, et al / Hardcover / Published 1992 . ---Great writing, photos and topics chosen. Lots of personal vim and vigor. Coverage of bike creativity, ingenuity and alternatives unlike any other (especially folders, city bikes, recumbents, trikes and fairings). I never saw a big spread on roadside repairs from found objects before, but this book includes a great big photo of a bike with over a dozen 'DIY' roadside repairs explained. Creative and effective! Like most other DK books, this is a coffee table book with ATTITUDE, panache, style--unlike almost all other similar books. Read
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Richard's New Bicycle Book Richard Ballantine, et al / Published 1987. The
RUBB pre-empted this book. But didn't replace it. If you can get a copy,
do. Literary general cycling writing at its U.S. best, with great HPV trendsetting, too. Great line art illustrations throughout. Personality plus.

--Bella Cosa library. A cheap, elegant 'objet d'art' volume of stories and photos of gorgeous bikes.

Bobke: A ride on the wild side of cycling, by Bob Roll. The king madman of US bike racing, and a writer to boot! He's been everywhere in global bike racing.

Railbike: Cycling on abondoned railroads, by Rob Mellin. ---On the rails! Outrigger style! Smooth, quiet, free...no cars!

Half-Wheel Hell and Other cycling Stories, by Maynard Hershon. Friendly 'inside' stories about the eternal truths of life in a social sport. If you're getting into cycling it's probably because you're looking for a home, a family, something with roots. You might also notice how it's hard to find those roots. You know they're there, but where? Americans tend to forcefully forget their roots. But we need them anyway. Hershon hooks you back up to them. Still, it's always best if you ride with those who ride from the heart. And it can also be darn nice if you ride with those who know the lore, you connect cycling back to where it came from, which mostly means Europe. But you always need more where that came from, so here's Maynard.

Hearts of Lions: the History of American Bicycle Racing, by Peter Nye

Pedaling for Glory: Victory and Drama in Pro Bike Racing, by Sam Abt

Bike Cult, by David Perry. Big book about everything bike.

Off the Map : Bicycling Across Siberia by Mark D. Jenkins / Published 1993. ---One of the most recent books about worldclass unprecedented exploration. It's almost all been done; but Siberia hadn't. Finally some American's and Soviet teammates give it a whirl. I especially like the coarse unedited tone of this book. MJ lets you see the sordid behind the scenes of sponsored world-hero behavior and motives. They're as shallow as any other egomaniacal jocks! Sometimes the author's cynical a--holery makes a reader wonder. With the right connections and experiences, maybe you're allowed to just sit and type whatever you like! Sounds good to me! (In the right hands...) Maybe
it took nerve to write like this; I'm not sure it's all intentional though.
Still, it's fresh. Anyway, MJ paints a fine picture of hard work and vast
distance. You can feel the mud. The writing puts you into the hypnotic/hallucinating state of risk and effort. Candid insights into everyday Siberia and history (...kill a nation to pave a road around a lake). The nullity of bureacracy further unveiled, in its commie form this time, but it's the same everywhere.
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