This is a lovely book to help someone gather her courage and start riding a bike. The articles are very Rah, Rah and provide foot-noted backup to what cyclists already know and what others already suspect - riding a bike is a blast, great for health and fitness, and is good for the environment.
My favorite piece was Carmen Mills' Notes from a Bicycle Bodhisattva; it stands out for its infectious joy. The author is convincing about how cycling frees us from the worst curses of modern culture - greed, keeping up with the Joneses, etc. She writes, "With the bicycle as my primary mode of transportation...it is clear how little I really need to be content." If that doesn't get you on your bike, nothing will.
What's less appealing in the book though, is how P-L-E-A-S-E-D many of the writers are with themselves for biking. They walk - ride? - right up to the precipice of saying cyclists are better people than motorists, as if cycling alone absolves one of caring for the widows, orphans and the oppressed.
There's a super-cool indie, DIY, "having fun with no money" vibe to today's bicycle culture. What a shame if people get so turned off from the smugness they miss the pleasure of endorphins zooming through their bloodstream as they pedal 'round their cities.
Dunno. I could just be grumpy. Maybe I'll go out and ride for a while....