Bike Heritage: Are "Old" Books Relevant?
I always figure a book is new (to me) if I haven't seen it before.
When I fell in love with cycling, I looked for all the best books.
In the late 80's there weren't many good bike culture books being published, although the VeloNews people were starting to do good work on the Euro-biography/lore front. As a (relative) youngster I dug through the libraries and asked friends and discovered a bunch of older books that were full of lore and info. Basically, I found the background on the riding I was doing and on the racing I was admiring.
The few new titles coming out merely made me want more.
I started with new books like "Kings of the Road" and "Hearts of Lions" and bio's like the Sean Kelly book by David Walsh. Then I savored the somewhat superficial---but still otherwise unobtainable details in "The Tour de France: Complete Book of Cycling" by David Chauner. I bought a few "Fabulous World of Cycling"s.
I subscribed to Winning, Bicycle Guide, and Cyclist until they folded, and VeloNews, sure, but also Miroir and Cycling (biweekly from the UK)---but that's when I was fully gungho. VN still wasn't monthly so I got the Euro news via the Euro media (and learned a little French, too).
Along about that time I discovered the older Guinness Superlatives Book of Bicycling by Durry and Wadley, a masterwork that filled me in on the depths and details of all Euro-style pro racing --- road, crit, track, cross. The heritage of the classics is laid out there. And of touring, rando and citybikes, too.
Then I bumped into the 1982 2nd edition of Richard's Bike Book with its flood of classic and 1950's-era sketches of UK cycling culture...and its presentation of recumbents. So I fell at the same time into the worlds of the artists PAT and Rebour...and HPVs!
And I was glad to have the extremely diverse '82 book by the Krausz's, showing all that could be done with 3-speeds, plus everything else, all under one cover.
I also found a buncha neat books from the 50's thru the 70's.
Now...I wonder...will older books like these ever again appeal to younger riders?
I mean, they were kind of old to me back then. Out of print. Yet they seemed fresh as daisies to me since I'd never seen them before. They were new to me! And they showed me fresh angles on subjects I liked...as well as showed me things I'd never known nor knew that I would like.
So will my fave books of the 90's ever represent "lore" to 20-something riders just now starting to go nuts over cycling?
Or does the Net make it all moot?
It's not that the Net offers these same stories, pics and content in a different format. The Net offers a different kind of content and just skips most of that old stuff.
To put a finer point on it, Gabe Konrad's "Bike Lore" volumes 1&2 contain a wealth of lore that isn't available otherwise. "Bicycle Quarterly" comes close in some of its reports. But maybe you could just google enough to bump into enough similar stuff to do the same job, making old books/mags/media irrelevant?
Is the Net enough now? Has the Net nuked the interest in heritage bike books?
I sense a lack of interest in the lack of interest I've seen in my offerings of classics of bike lore---such as "Bike Lore"---at OYB for a few years. But maybe that's not accurate.
I just hope younger bike buffs are getting exposed to as much cool bike stuff as I did at their age! I mean, sure, the overall bike culture is larger in some ways now---lots more youth are into citybikes---but lots less are into touring...win some, lose some. There's a lot of bike media out there...online. But how much HERITAGE stuff?
And what about diversity? The most diverse bike mag is still VeloVision, it seems---very hard to find in the USA. I would think that quite a few young cyclists would get a kick out of seeing PAT (Frank Patterson) sketches, for instance... And do they know what's being done with velomobiles? That's highly googleable, but you have to ask to find it. No bike media (but VV) is PRESENTING it to the youth. Well, OYB does.
Any 20-somethings out there? Are you reading bike lore? I understand that you might not have much money or space for books in your life. That's why the Public Library is considered the pinnacle of civic past achievement and future potential. In many places it's the grandest public space that you're welcome to spend a lot of time at or to use. Roots and future, baby...they go hand in hand!