Bike Snob writes what may be the best bicycling blog out there ([...]) . He has published three books on cycling, and this is the third. On his blog, he claims that this series is a trilogy and this is the final book. If so, it is an admirable way to end.
The first of the books I reviewed was the second in the series. After my delight in reading the first book, I instantly bought the second. I was very disappointed in the second book, and said so in an Amazon review. It made me sad to do so because I am a huge fan of Bike Snob, but the only thing I had written about him at that point was negative, as I had never gotten around to reviewing the first book in the series (an omission I have since corrected.) My criticism of the second book, in a nutshell, was that, unlike the first book, it wasn't very funny but on the other hand didn't have enough substance to be serious. When this third book came out, I hesitated a bit before buying it after my experience with the second, but finally decided that it was worth the risk, and anyway, I wanted to own all three volumes of the trilogy.
This third book is magnificent! As much as I loved the first book, I cannot honestly say if I like the first or the third best. In fact, it is almost a pointless question since the books are so different. Although Bike Snob's comic edge is everywhere apparent in this book, it is fundamentally a very serious book and the seriousness works. It doesn't really have a message, except perhaps that life is good, cycling is good, and that we should all stop fussing and just ride. Rather than sending a message, this book is an extremely well written peek into the mind of Bike Snob, and a fine mind it is. This book is so good, I actually feel like it has redeemed the second book, and I now feel like the trilogy taken as a whole rises to the level of five stars. The first book is humorous. The third book is serious. The second book is the transition between them, and seen in that light, is not so bad.
There is one nit I could pick with this book. If you are a regular reader of the blog as I am, some of what is in this book will be familiar. As best I can tell, there has been no lifting of text between the blog and the book, but some of the stories in the book have been previously told on the blog. Of course, there is nothing wrong with collecting blog posts into a book so long as the book is advertised as such, but that is not what this book is. That said, I am far from sure this is a defect. At best, the book presents different perspectives on a previously told stories, providing new insight. At worst, this is an extremely minor defect that affects a small fraction of the book and is not nearly serious enough to threaten its fifth star.
A final thing I liked about all three books is the binding, illustrations, and overall presentation. They remind me of the readers we used to have in elementary school. I find this very charming and it makes me happy to see these three books, side by side, on my bookshelf. A minor point, but one that makes me smile.
I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who loves either cycling or good writing. This book is a real winner.