When I first stumbled upon "Heels on Wheels", I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, as often anything branded "A lady's guide to..." runs the risk of being patronising.
However, I have to say that this book couldn't be further from that.
For someone like myself who is venturing back into the saddle after a prolonged break (longer than I'd care to remember), "Heels on Wheels" provides a number of useful tips, on everything from what saddle and lock to buy for your bike, to how to avoid those pesky bike thieves, right through to combating helmet hair and inadvertent knicker-flashing when wearing a skirt! What's more, Dailey's writing style adds more than a dash of humour to the mix, making it not only an informative read, but an entertaining one too.
Dailey also includes an entire section dedicated to answering questions we all need to know the answers to, but are too embarrassed to ask, making this book indispensable for anyone wanting to get back into cycling, whatever their reason.
All in all, a fabulous book for all budding cyclists out there!
I have been riding a bike in Cambridge for seven years now, so I expected that I would already be aware of most of the information given in this book. However, I know that I could improve my knowledge of bike repair and road safety (as I have never attended an official cyclist training course) so I thought I would get this book in the hope that these two areas would be explained in an accessible manner. This book is charmingly illustrated, and does give a lot of helpful advice on, among other things, the type of clothes to wear while cycling, stopping your bike from being stolen, types of bicycle and what to look for when buying a second-hand bike. The first of my two expectations was also met, as there is a handy section on bike upkeep and maintenance, and I now know how to tighten my own brakes, fix a puncture, and repair handlebars. However, I did think that one glaring omission in this book was some basic rules of road safety. It talks a lot about wearing a helmet, reflective clothing and bike lights but very little about how to actually behave on the road, other than being aware of large vehicles' blind spot on the left and making sure you are up front and visible at junctions. I had hoped for instructions on changing lanes, tackling roundabouts and complicated junctions, one-way systems, etc. I know all this is very basic, but this is a book that starts with telling you to cycle on the left, so I didn't think it was too basic to include! I had the impression that the writers assumed that cyclists were also drivers, who will be aware of the rules of the road, but with increasing numbers of under-25s without a driving licence, this is not necessarily going to be the case. Apart from this, I would recommend this book as a good starting-point for new cyclists, but do go elsewhere for your road safety.
This is definitely a beginners book.
The illustrations are lovely and the information is relevant. There is even a chapter on how to fix different parts of your bike...which I've hardly ever attempted but the text and pictures explain it nice and clearly.
There is useful information on how to ride safely in traffic as the author rides her bike in London...and how to arrive at work without looking too floppy.
As this is titled 'A lady's guide to owning and riding a bike' don't expect to find information on cross-country or mountain biking.
I found it a gentle read and it's the sort of book you could buy for your Aunt or female Cousin without offending.
I must admit this book is not what I was expecting. From its title and sub heading of "A lady's guide to owning and riding a bike" with its 1950s style cover I was expecting a "prim and proper" book detailing how to ride a bike with the correct posture, etc. However the book is not like that at all.
The book starts off by explaining why women should cycle and pointing out interesting points like Jennifer Anderson (who found fame playing Rachel in Friends) was a bicycle courier. Before warning you in a very easy to read way about the dangers of pot holes, taxi drivers and other inexperienced cyclists.
The book then talks about the health benefits of cycling with helpful advice like an average sized woman on an average bike can burn 500 calories an hour. The author then points out that this is the equivalent of one bottle of nice wine but advises you to stop cycling before starting on the wine. The author also points out that cycling help shapes your legs nicely and points out that the singer Beyonce is a keen cyclist.
You are then given a very humorous introduction to certain types of cyclist tribes including the "fashion victim", the "earth mother", the "speed demon" and the "retro rider".
Once you've worked out what type of rider you are, you are then given a crash course on different bike types, different handle bar types, different saddles, etc. All of this technical information is presented in a very funny and reader friendly way.
The next chapter looks at cycle chic. The right make-up to wear whilst cycling, cycle clothing, lights, baskets, bells, etc. There is also a small section on how to freshen up after a ride so your still looking (and smelling) good after the ride is over.
The rest of the book contains advice on cycle safety, how to make sure your bike doesn't get stolen, basic tips on how to maintain your bike and answers such questions like how can I carry my dog safely on a bike!
The book is a practical guide for the female cyclist. It is written in a light, funny but informative way that should appeal to many female cyclists who want to cycle but are put off by other more mechanically written books.
This is a beautifully designed, visually attractive little book that is a neat introduction to cycling for those women who haven't ridden since school.
It's not for the serious cyclist at all and if you do cycle regularly already, you'll be wasting your money getting this.
However it does contain some sound advice generally, although it makes bike maintenance sound very daunting. The author possibly has an interest in a bike shop as she advocates a quarterly visit for servicing which is frankly ridiculous. I do all my own minor maintenance, mine goes in for an annual service and the bike shop comment that they never have to do much to it.
Changing worn out brake pads is a relatively simple task - I've done it quite easily- but author Kate advocates not doing this.
Also her advice on changing tyres was a bit impractical. Using her method of not removing the tyre fully from the wheel makes it near impossible to properly check for sharp debris piercing the rubber and causing punctures.
It isn't at all difficult to remove a tyre using tyre levers and fitting the new inner tube to the inside of the tyre when it is fully off is a breeze. Fitting the tyre back on and not pinching the new inner tube is also much easier with this method.
These quibbles aside, this is a charming little book that deserves to sell and attract women into cycling. Far more should cycle than do and anything that helps personal fitness and the environment in one fell swoop is to be lauded.
One final point. My mode of transport is a trike rather than a bike, and there was absolutely no mention of tricycles in the book. Such a shame as trikes are a fantastic alternative to those who cannot handle a bike for various reasons. My three-wheeler is one of the joys of my life for the independence that it gives arthritic little old me.
I really like this book because it is the complete opposite of just about every other cycling book on the market. It looks at all aspects of cycling but from an exclusively female perspective. Quite why women have been ignored in cycling books (apart from mention of squashy saddles) is a mystery to me, but here we have a worthy attempt to do redress the balance.
The book's design is its strongest point. It uses plain English to describe just about everything you might want to know about day-to-day cycling, and combines it with colourful illustrations that reinforce the points being made. The use of graphics instead of photographs is clever - it softens the look of the book, and removes many of the technicalities that may hinder the simple facts being conveyed. It also makes it a bit more girlie and friendly, if I can put it like that. There is a nasty typo on the back cover, but don't let that worry you - it's an isolated glitch. The book is otherwise very nicely written.
The author examines how to get started in cycling, choosing a bike, cycling safety, parking, security, and so on. The vital matter of choosing the right saddle is also dealt with. It does not cover cycling as a sport, and so does not delve into the engineering technicalities of bicycle components, speedometers, GPS systems and so on. It includes a chapter about how to maintain your bicycle, but it generally assumes that you'll leave anything more technical that a flat tyre to your cycle repair shop.
It's likely that you don't want to dress in a Lycra cat-suit to go cycling, or be seen in a cycle helmet that looks like pudding basin on your head, or be flashing your underwear at the traffic. The answer to every female clothing-related question is here in this book. Everything from choice of underwear to shoes, skirts to shorts, tops and gloves, sunglasses and hats, is weighed-up. The subject of avoiding "helmet hair" also gets a mention, as are post-cycling make-up and sweat remedies.
This book is a pleasant surprise! It handles a typically male subject in a female way, and without the wheels falling off, so to speak. It wobbles neatly around some of the technical and gadget stuff that preoccupies male-oriented cycling books, and steers a course to a trouble-free world of female cycling - heels and all.
I have been thinking of dusting off my old bike and getting back on it and so chose this book as it looked like a fun companion. The main premise of the book is to offer practical advice for the modern gal who would like to get back in the saddle even if they've not ridden a bike since they were a child.
As well as an introduction, resources and index - there are 6 chapters. These are: Getting Started, How To Incorporate Cycling Into Your Lifestyle, Cycling Safety, Parking (Or How To Ensure Your Bike Isn't Stolen), 'Just One Last Question...', and Bike Maintenance.
The writing style is witty and cute and I have to admit that I wondered whether the information contained within would be all a bit light and fluffy. It's true that the information won't make you a cycling expert overnight but it is informative and useful. Furthermore, the pages aren't stuffed full of text so it's easy to read and leaves you turning the page to read just one more bit of information/tip.
The book is interspersed by drawings and cartoons. As well as this, there are decorative pages and pretty ways to divide the text into readable chunks. Overall it looks really nice and I liked the style and layout throughout.
If you, or someone you know, is planning to get back into cycling then this book is a great read. It's fun and informative without being too overwhelming and will make you want to get on your bike all the earlier. 5 stars.
There is a website specifically aimed at the female cyclist and in particular if they want to look chic.
This book is aimed directly at that type of cyclist:
The woman or girl who wants to enjoy cycling.
Not as a chore.
Not as a fanatical enthusiast.
It's laudable aim is aimed at women one who want to enjoy the superb way of getting from one place to another by cycle.
I see an awful lot of cyclists who invest in all the gear, gadgets, and usually expensive cycle only to give it up after a few weeks. (a little like dieting-good intentions but ultimately most fail) Always men.
This book is written from the female perspective and will actually encourage girls back onto the saddle.
Men won't understand what woman want or demand from cycling. (Men never understand why women want shoes, bags, clothes, trinkets) That's why this book is ideal, as a gift to the potential female cyclist or those new to the pursuit.
A lovely read. An ideal gift.
on 27 January 2014
The author seriously suggests that you should choose cycle through potholes. Avoiding potholes is not usually difficult on a bike, you don't need to "suddenly swerve to go around them as Katie puts it, as with every manoeuvre you should anticipate it well in advance so that you signal to the traffic that you are changing you position in the road. If you can't safely pull out for some reason then dismount so that you can pass the obstacle without risk.
Obstructing you hearing should be a complete no-no. Katie is not tough enough on this. She also seems to think it is O.K. to take grown up passengers.
Generally the advice given is waffly and lacking in any genuine expertise. It shows that Katie's experience comes from only a small area of London.
I found it a little contradictory to say that you should invest in a "D" lock, then say you should use another type of lock as well. I did not feel that she provided any justification for buying the most expensive "D" locks either. It was a bit poor to show an illustration of locking the back wheel and frame to a post, when front wheels are more vulnerable to theft.
Katie early on recommends never wearing a rucksack then later changes her mind. She also suggests a "courier bag (known to most people as a messenger bag)", which I think is a much better idea.
Suggesting a bike with no gears, is a very odd thing to do. A choice of gears is nothing but a plus, even if you change gears only occasionally. Even more insane it to waste time discussing track bikes, which have no business ever being in traffic. There is no mention of tricycles and folding bikes as an option, which is a pitty.
A lot of the advice is just stating the obvious, such as avoid busy roads if you don't like them and don't drive through red lights.
The maintenance section in too poor and too limited to be of use.
Katie seems unaware that lights at night are a legal requirement not just a safety precaution. I would have like to have seen very strong advice that bike lights alone are inadequate for night safety. You should be considering a reflective vest/jacket for night riding, and high visibility clothing for evening, rain and foggy conditions. Moving reflectors will get you noticed much better then static lights. Attach them to you spokes and pedals. I like to decorate my bikes with reflective tape.
I was pleased that eye protection was mention, but not so pleased that it did not go further than sunglasses. Recommending a bell was perhaps the best advice in the whole book, but she fails to explain why it is so useful.
The negative attitude towards imported bikes and parts was just pathetic, as is her attitude that anyone selling their second hand bike cheap, must be a thief.
This is by some way the worst book on cycling that I have ever read. There are many better alternatives available.
On first flicking through this book I was a little disappointed, and thought it didn't contain much information at all - all style, little substance. On closer reading I was quickly proved wrong, it's a little gem of a book.
First off, hat's off for not going down the route of calling grown women `girls', and not going for the giggly "us girls having fun on our bikeys" ethos. The book is a down to earth practical guide to cycling for women who've been off a 2-wheeler for a while, and it's refreshingly honest. In amongst the factual advice about cycle locks (turns out my old `state of the art' lock is completely out of date now), style of carrier and puncture repair instructions, the real issues of being a female cyclist are addressed - coping with leering shouts from drivers, risks of being side-swiped by other cyclists showing off and getting your skirt caught in your front wheel.
I would've liked to see more on the practicalities of cycling in terms of safe road usage, coping with busy roundabouts and cross roads, when to use hand signals etc, but to be fair the book does suggest returning-to-riders take a cycling course.
All in, it's a lovely gift book for someone about to return to the world of the pushbike, but too light on technicalities to be of interest to the day-to-day confident cyclist.