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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Rocky Ride..., 27 Jan 2011
By 
Woolgatherer (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cycling: A Philosophical Tour De Force (Philosophy for Everyone) (Paperback)
This book is a compendium of 25 articles or essays about cycling as seen from a more or less philosophical point of view. Some of the articles stretch the definition of philosophy to encompass politics (for example, the chapter on Critical Mass), and others stretch the definition of cycling (for example articles about Lance Armstrong or the use of drugs could, mutatis mutandis, apply to just about any athlete or sport).

That said, some of the articles were very interesting and thought provoking, others were somewhat obscure. (For example, I found, "Unleash the Beast," rather more dull than the title would suggest and about the arcane rules surrounding the, "athlete's hour record," which is a subject that must have a fairly narrow appeal.)

The thing is, different articles will appeal to different people. I was less interested in the sporting side of cycling and more attracted to questions of lifestyle and, by extension, the politics of cycling as a form of sustainable transport. Others will have different priorities. Overall, this was a book that contains some nuggets and so is worth a look if you are prepared to skim chapters on subjects in which you have no interest; but it really ought to be called, "A random selection of essays somewhat tenuously linked to cycling and/or philosophy."
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1.0 out of 5 stars Patchy, dull and deluded, 29 July 2011
This review is from: Cycling: A Philosophical Tour De Force (Philosophy for Everyone) (Paperback)
I was attracted to this book exactly because of it being a collection of essays exploring philosophical issues associated with a broad range of cycling-related topics. I am sorry to say that I was disappointed with it. To be honest I haven't read all of it, but I gave up after reading about half the essays because I have better things to do with my life (like cycling!). Most of the pieces I read took some interesting ideas and issues and proceeded to beat them to death with a surprisingly tedious technique. What finally put the lid on it for me was the piece analysing whether Lance Armstrong's cycling career had been successful in philosophical terms. The final crowning piece of evidence the author produced to back up his argument to the affirmative was that Armstrong had used his talents for the good of others as well as himself, and that this was proven by the way that, in his final Tour De France, when realising he was not in a position to win the race himself he selflessly rode in support of the stronger rider Contador "for the good of the team". WHAT??? Does the author actually believe this? Do the editors think this is a well-considered essay?

Overall, some interesting and thought-provoking ideas but like I said, I was disappointed.
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