This book for me is a classic. I have given away numerous copies of it, and sadly, have no copy left for myself at this moment.
I have met Maynard Hershon, and he is a pleasant person who still rides many of the Northern California centuries. I have also listened to him deliver the text of one of his stories about the El Tour de Tucson to a room full of cyclists before the start of the El Tour de Tucson, and can tell you that he has a personal comic timing that goes well with his written comedic and dramatic talents.
This book is full of tales centered around a mythical bike shop that is hard to find nowadays- run by an old track racer- for bike riders by bike riders- long before the advent of mountain bikes.
These stories are culled from the last page of 'Winning' and 'VeloNews', where for a long while, these articles appeared.
Accompanying the words are illustrations that fit ideally with the story, and really highlight the funny crux of the story. To this day, I relate to the story "Remember How Slow?", and imagine that illustration fitting the many different jabberwocks I have tolerated past and present.
Cyclotourists and road racers were about all that there was back then, and the experience of the bike shop employees helping them is covered as well, with a sort of humor that can only come from long experience with the topic.
If you are a cyclist, you simply MUST read this book. Beyond that, it is funny in a way only the best nostalgia is- that is to say, howling funny. This is cycling back in the days of "Breaking Away", and is as funny as the movie, and as sad at times. It makes me long for the days when a 13 cog was a big one, before 'planned absolesence'.
This is a book I read every so often (when I had a copy) to my upcoming junior racers to illustrate a point about some moral dilemma or to show how our sport can have it's heroes in local riders as well as the world's best.
Recently, I found a local (now family and mountain) bike shop that was once a classic "Bob's Bike Shop" with photos of the heroes of the early 70's and 80's still pasted on the walls- Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser, Bernard Hinault, Freddy Maertens- and it made me think of this book and the mythical 'Bob' himself. It made me sad to think that the person who currently ran the shop might not appreciate the history and the Golden Age surrounding him- but Maynard would, for sure.
I thank Maynard Hershon for a book that spoke to me as a budding road racer over ten years ago and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a laugh, a sigh for old times, or to show the younger generation how things have might not have changed all that much.