Customer Reviews


25 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars David Byrne offers much of interest but meanders a little
Byrne is a committed cycling campaigner who takes bikes with him as he travels the world, mainly to the cities where his musical and artistic work takes him. When he has time off, he uses his bike - usually a full-size folding mountain bike he puts in a suitcase to travel on planes - to wander about and explore. It is this aspect of the book which most interested me,...
Published on 15 Sept. 2009 by JS

versus
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not so much about cycling but more about David Byrnes musings
A bit of a disappointment .. Not too much about cycling per-se but more about some of his musing about the politics of various places .. reads a bit moodily His treatise on the Phillipines is unexciting writing As a non mechanical cyclist there is a a place for a book about inner thoughts as well as external experiences gained through pedalling through the environment...
Published on 10 Feb. 2010 by big bloke


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars David Byrne offers much of interest but meanders a little, 15 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Hardcover)
Byrne is a committed cycling campaigner who takes bikes with him as he travels the world, mainly to the cities where his musical and artistic work takes him. When he has time off, he uses his bike - usually a full-size folding mountain bike he puts in a suitcase to travel on planes - to wander about and explore. It is this aspect of the book which most interested me, because he seems to be a practitioner of the derive, the engaged but directionless wander first proposed by the situationists as a suitable way to move through cities.

As the title suggests, the material for the book evolved in diary form over time, and the structure of the book reflects this. It is right, and true to the material, that this should be so, but it does mean that the various entries are of variable quality. Nevertheless, books of this kind, where an intelligent and engaged observer with a liberal agenda but no particular end in mind takes a close look at localities, are scarce indeed. In the hands of a travel writer, or a journalist, a totally different book would have emerged, but actually, this is the book I wanted.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting view from a different perspective, 25 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Paperback)
This book has a dual identity, part travelogue, and part common-sense examination of what makes a pleasant, liveable city, and what doesn't. I found this to be a refreshingly straightforward approach, and far more interesting than the average travel memoir.

Byrne is particularly good when examining U.S. cities, from the horrific but fascinating decline of Detroit, to the hopeful reinvention of New York. One excellent passage in particular sticks in the mind:

"Since the onslaught of the automobile in the middle of the last century, and the efforts of its enablers, like Robert Moses in New York, the accepted response to congestion has been to build more roads, especially roads that are high speed and with limited access. Eventually it became clear that building more roads doesn't actually relieve congestion - ever. More cars simply appear to fill these new roads and more folks imagine that their errands and commutes might be accomplished more easily on these new expressways. Yeah, right. People end up driving more, so instead of the existing traffic levels remaining constant and becoming dispersed on the new ribbons of concrete, the traffic simply increases until those too are filled. That's what New York and a lot of other cities are realizing now. The old paradigm is finally being abandoned."

Thank goodness for that.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and quirky, 14 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Paperback)
David Byrne surprised me by being so enjoyably readable. This book is a wonderful travelogue. Its quirky as it gives a cyclists view of the major cities he visits, but he also writes in a very free way about really varied topics. His style meanders somewhat like the bikerides he takes, he speaks of architecture, local history, politics, the art scenes,and interesting meetings and evenings out with characters met along the way. He is a knowledgeable chap,and does not seem so avante garde in print. If you liked the Talking Heads, or bike riding, or travel, or all three such as me, you will enjoy this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly eccentric and highly personal book, 19 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Paperback)
David Byrne is better known for his music than his writing output. Although he's authored quite a few books this one stands out as one of his more mainstream offerings.

It's a book driven by, and full of, a passion for cycling and written by a practising pedal-head. Someone who's enthusiastically used a bicycle as a principal form transportation in his native New York since the early 1980s. And who endeavours to explore various parts of the world in the same human-powered manner.

The first chapter is a wide-ranging, and rather nostalgic, exploration into a number of American Cities. Unfortunately, he encounters many rather frustrating, disconnected rides through communities chopped into ghettos by massive concrete ribbons.

Subsequent chapters are dedicated to one particular city. As seen from a cyclist perspective, it offers a new way of exploring and interacting with cities you might already have some knowledge about. His artistic eye picks out the unconventional, the significant, the sublime and the striking across the urban landscape and in the local art, music and film culture.

Always a deep thinker, his views are heartfelt and expressed with zeal - at times in an intensely earnest discourse. His observations and very personal points of view are enhanced by a collection of text-embedded photographs. As you might expect, the majority of these images are very different to the usual tourist fare, and interesting in their own right.

It's a brilliantly eccentric and highly personal book, delivered in a lovely embossed cloth cover. Even the epilogue entertains with its look into the future of transportation, and an eye catching selection of drawings illustrating some of his bike rack designs - many of which now adorn the streets of NewYork.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 3 Nov. 2009
By 
C. Smith - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Hardcover)
This is a great book. Every chapter is about a different city. David Byrne mentions not just his perspective of travelling around the city on a bike but also about the history, archetecture, his performance or the people who live there.
It is a great book and acts like a concise travel guide
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read, 28 Mar. 2011
By 
Mr. William P. Anderson "huddie" (N. Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Kindle Edition)
An interesting perspective on the cities of the world and their art, culture and development, from a man who's well travelled. Recommended. Kindle screen doesn't do it justice though, with the amount of photographic content.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astute observations on city life, 17 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Paperback)
This absorbing book reveals David Byrne gazing in wonder and dismay at his surroundings - from his New York neighbourhood, to the cities he passes through, where a visitor can read the details for `the city's hidden agendas to emerge almost by themselves.' This book is all about looking; and it is about the complexity of cities. It is simple: `on a bike, one gets a perfect view of the goings on in town' like Baudelaire's flaneur, who walks to experience the city. It puts me in mind of Iain Sinclair's walk-based books and Jonathan Raban's 'Soft City'.

David Byrne occupies the urban cyclist's moral high ground, but rather than being simply anti-car, riding a bike prompts a personal critique on the growth and decay of cities caused by highway planning, motor companies, and corporate business. His chapter on American cities contains deeply felt insights on ghetto-isation and economic flux.

Byrne's insights come from seeing and reflecting, rather than scholarly analysis, but it sits comfortably alongside the urban texts of Jane Jacobs and Richard Sennett. What distinguishes Byrne is his acute spatial awareness and his ability to describe the social and economic patterns of urban territory with an urban planner's understanding. As a child of Baltimore's suburbia, he perceptively describes how many of the most committed city dwellers maintain a bond with the `comfort food' of suburbia.

This is the same David Byrne as we knew in Talking Heads: a curious and humorous observer of society and behaviour, translated to multi-media creativity. This book resonates with his observations on housing and shopping in his film 'True Stories'; his doubts about land use planning in the song 'The Big Country', and the post-industrial vision of 'Nothing but Flowers'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Wide and varied musings, 23 Mar. 2015
By 
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Paperback)
I am passionate about cycling, not in a macho or, heaven forbid, a lycra-clad way, it is quite simply my favourite mode of transport for getting from A to B. If I can use my bicycle then I will - and frequently do.

If I rank my preferred ways of travelling it goes:

Bicycle
Walking
Running
Train
Bus
Car
Ferry, boat etc
Aeroplane

Rather wonderfully David Byrne feels the same way. We are cut from the same cloth - not a statement I ever expected to make. David takes his bicycle everywhere and, like me, it is his primary mode of transport.

This book is a celebration of bike riding - of the rewards of seeing the world at bike level. It gives the reader an insight into what David saw and thought as he pedalled around cities which include London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Manila, New York, and San Francisco.

I had a feeling I was going to love this book and instead I merely enjoyed it. Like How Music Works, which I read very recently, I was expecting a bit more. That said, if you like Mr Byrne - and really, why wouldn't you? - there is much to enjoy. He muses on all manner of wide and varied subjects, many of which are only tangentially linked to the city covered in each chapter.

Ultimately what is most impressive though is the mere fact that he takes his bike everywhere, folded into a suitcase, and then, no matter how easy or difficult, he uses it to travel around every city even where very few others cycle.

The arguments in favour of cycling are so compelling that it is a wonder why it is not the most prevalent form of transport for anyone trying to travel around a city, that it isn't, is down to short term political thinking and vested interests. I hope one day the majority of the world will follow David Byrne's lead. He's an inspiration.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating perspective, 30 Mar. 2011
By 
M. P. Royal - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Paperback)
A fascinating perspective on some of the major cities from a different angle. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the discussions/points raised about Urban planning and regeneration. Well worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, 20 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bicycle Diaries (Kindle Edition)
I liked it. Meandering. lateral, about lots of things, but not one thing in particular. I went off David Byrne after Talking Heads. I like him a bit better now.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Bicycle Diaries
Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne (Paperback - 3 Jun. 2010)
£10.68
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews