I bought Richard's Bicycle Book new in 1983 while I was still at school. It was my bible back then when I rode out of necessity. Now I ride for pleasure and, having managed to get hold of a good secondhand copy, it's my bible once more. Now, things have moved on somewhat since 1983, such as the introduction of mountain bikes and hybrids, but there's still a lot here of relevance and interest. My particular favourite section (and the one I re-read as soon as I got this copy) was on how to 'deal' with a dog that's attacking you. Not for the squeamish, that bit, as Richard's view is that you're fighting for your life. Hmm. Not quite sure why I'm fascinated by that bit *shrugs*. I love dogs, really, I do.
A few years ago, I bought Richard's NEW Bicycle Book, expecting it to be even better than the original, but was disappointed. This book is a good read, as well as a useful reference, and is still the one to have.