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4.3 out of 5 stars40
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 16 July 2013
After the first few sections I was neutral about this book. The information about basic matters seemed useful but not revolutionary; the kind of thing that might arguably be better in a magazine article or on someone's blog.

The short section about nutrition contained much that I fundamentally disagree with. Grant Petersen basically argues for a high protein-low carbohydrate diet and even recommends not eating too much fruit or whole-grain cereal. I would have thought that since the book is aimed at ordinary people who aren't just about to do the Tour de France the best advice would be a normal balanced diet. For me this section was out of place, but to be fair things improved hugely from there on.

When discussing the technical aspects of bikes, how and why they are constructed, how to set up the machine to suit you, and so on, the writer is in his element. Contained in these sections is much valuable information that would be difficult to find elsewhere. For me this alone justified the cost of the book and made me forgive what I consider to be some rather dodgy dietary recommendations.

For those who find such things irritating it is worth pointing out that this book is written very much for a North American audience and the style is chatty and informal. Mr Petersen drinks water by the quart and knows the size of his saddle bag in cubic inches. His bike has fenders and he sits on his butt. (However when talking about bike dimensions he works exclusively in metric). This doesn't really detract from the book's value though, as the information and ideas put across are valid anywhere.

All-in-all I am glad I bought this book. It will help you set your bike up correctly, potentially stop you being bamboozled into buying the wrong bike, provide lots of everyday advice and it dispels many of the myths that surround cycling for pleasure.
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on 22 January 2013
Thoroughly recommended commonsense guide to cycling. You don't have to agree with everything that Gran Petersen says, but most of what he says is well worth thinking about. The 21st century road racing bike is not a good pattern for a machine that's useful for anything else. The gears are too complex and too closely spaced, and wear out too quickly, the frame materials are of unknown longevity, and the frame design makes carrying anything more that a spare inner tube, or even fitting a slightly larger tyre, almost impossible. Perhaps this explains the popularity of support vehicles among non-racers even on charity rides? Two practical recommendations I took from his book have already been a boon to me: using a head torch and forgetting about trying to get cycling shoes that fit (I now use sports or everyday shoes, instead of the hideous and mostly quite impractical monstrosities nowadays sold as "cycling" shoes).
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on 8 April 2013
This book, written by a major US bike shop owner, is as much a surprise as it is a delight to read. On the one hand you would expect a retailer to have a vested interest in promoting the latest fad or fashion. But in a frank and honest way the author points out that the vast bulk of high end technical gizmos, accessories are clothing are pretty much worthless to any cyclist who is not an out-and-out TdF racer. Against expectations he identifies the low end stuff that really is worth doing/having. And I find his arguments difficult to disagree with.

This book rang such a chord with its many honest observations that I ordered a second copy for a friend of mine. He loved it also.

I'm now trying to pluck up the courage to lend it to a another friend who has a serious bout of upgradeitus. He would go so much faster if he cut down on the beer and pies rather than buying the latest hitech wheeze that shaves 5g off his bike.

I seem to recall the book was great value also.
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on 8 June 2012
This book is great. If you have been or are thinking about taking up cycling but are put off by all the special equipment (shoes, pedals, lycra, etc.) then you should read this book. It offers tips and an alternative outlook for people who want to use a bike for transportation or just for fun, rather than racing. The aim of this book is to help you to see past racing's influence on cycling and become an "unracer". If you are already into cycling but feel that racing and training are sucking the fun out of it, you should read this. Free yourself from "miles" and power meters and sports nutrition and enjoy cycling for the fun of it!
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on 14 October 2012
This is a book that needed to be written, and a book that needs to be read. Not everyone wants to go road racing and very few are ever going to reach the standards required by teams in professionally road racing, so stop trying to kid yourself, pick up and read this book and put the fun back into your life and cycling. This book rips open a lot of the myths surrounding today's cycling and puts you gently back on the ground where your brain has known you should be all along. Buy it, read it and start enjoying life again!
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on 20 May 2014
This book gives a refreshing, pragmatic and sensible view of cycling as a: means of transport; a pastime; a way to enjoy life - it does an extremely good job of disassociating cycling from the 'sport' of cycling. This subtle, yet important distinction, helps to replace the guilt that burdens many modern cyclists, with a joy that has been forgotten amongst the hurly-burbled of carbon-this and lightweight-that.

It's a springy read that will provide some sense and balance. Jolly sensible stuff.
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on 9 December 2012
This is a very motivating book written by someone with years and years of experience of riding and selling bikes. It gets you to stop trying to emulate the racing champions (particularly hard this year in the aftermath of the Olympics, Wiggo, the Tour de France etc) and ride just for the fun of it. It debunks some myths and gives you permission to ditch the kit and the accessories (mostly), spend less, feel freer and do more on your bike. Great tips for getting the whole family cycling without guilt or hang-ups too. Comes with short, easy-to-understand sections about how to choose and maintain your bike. I found it particularly helpful in deciding whether to spend ££ on toe cleats and cycling shoes (which I now won't be doing) but I may well be investing in a cape - however unfashionable that looks!
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on 2 September 2015
For the first time I didn't know what to say about a book. I agree with 50% of the authors critical comments. Best summed up this is a book for the cycling addict, the ride and blog junky and I have to say that at 61yrs old I was becoming one. Thanks for releasing me from the addiction Mr Author
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on 22 September 2012
At last someone who shares my view on bike riding: that it should be fun. Mr Petersen gives excellent advice and has written a very readable book. There is enough technical information to help you out without drowning you in figures. My only complaint is that it is written in American but that is understandable as Mr Petersen is American. It is packed full of useful information and tips. This is a book for normal people who just want to have fun on their bikes. Fanatics find something else!
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on 14 September 2015
I haven't ridden a bike for 45 years, so I have needed to do a lot of research into bikes and bike equipment and realised fairly quickly that it is hard to get away from advice based on racing, training, speed, time, etc. I just want to get into the countryside and enjoy it, or ride to the shops. This book helped me enormously. Some tips on riding, a lot about adjusting your bike to fit you. But best of all, an attitude that I could identify with. Ride for the fun of it! The clothes, a lot of the gadgets, and many of the things we are told about choosing bikes are for racers, not a 62 year old who wants to ride a bike for enjoyment.
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