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on 20 May 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having read some pages from the Bike Snob web page, I hesitated before ordering this book. Certainly the web page contained links to some very interesting sites that I still treasure, but the opinions of the anonymous snob I generally found hard to swallow. Still, surely a book would be a `best off' and anything about cycling had to contain something useful...

Sadly my suspicions were correct! This really is a collection of glib comments and opinions - the kind of thing which somehow works on the throw-away world of the web, but comes across as shallow on page.

There is advice such as "Look Out for Doors" which begins: "There are few cyclists who have not had an unfortunate encounter..." and so? They need reminding?

At one point a basic premise is expounded - that cycling is good, and anyone who rides any kind of bike is good - both for the cyclist and the world at large. However this is hardly consistent with the author's compulsion to categorise cyclists and their bicycles.

In particular, he seems to delight in pointing out bicycling breaches of etiquette - such as having mismatched tyres - fully illustrated with a colour photo! At times revelling in the individuality of cyclists, at others castigating those who cross the invisible line of fashion which the author has himself drawn.

The author frequently makes tenuous links between cycling and sex or religion - I presume in an effort to make his writing more exciting or meaningful. Sadly, I've never found those links to exist in reality!

Fair enough if you are looking for some light distraction, but if you want to learn about cycling - there are better books. Or just look at the web page!
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VINE VOICEon 4 June 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is quite a different take on the standard guide book. The author is obviously quite beyond a fan of the subject, and in places the book borders on hysteria about the topic. This is not a bad thing however, and every time you think it is going to go too far the author returns to (almost) normality. In fact it makes for a very funny as well as educated and informative guide to the bike and cycling in general.

The book begins with the history of cycling and the bicycle, and then discusses the author's history with bikes before going on to discuss things such as types of rider and the machines they choose and why. There is a vague structure which does make some sense once you get into it.

This will not replace a proper guide book to the subject, so rather than the author explaining what to look for when you are buying a bike he will tell you why the craze for removing the brakes from certain types of bike is a pretty stupid thing to do (you would think common sense would tell you that anyway, but the reasons are explained within!). There are quite a few good tips scattered through the book, but occasionally they get lost in the humour. The style of writing in places felt a little repetitive if I read too much, however the style of the book leads itself very well to a pick up and put down style (dare I say a toilet book?) rather than a read in one sitting novel.

In summary, a thoroughly enjoyable read for cyclists and potential cyclists to pick up and flick through during coffee breaks or any other spare moments during the day.
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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a collection of the writings of the blogger of the same name, a Brooklyn-based cycling enthusiast. For those who have not read the blog itself, it's various writings on the history of cycling, thoughts on cycling in cities these days, musings on the various types of cyclists, why people cycle and a general critique of cycling culture. In places it is fairly amusing, Bike Snob can write with a fairly caustic wit at times, and those of us who cycle ourselves will recognise much in the behaviour and motivations the Snob details. The Snob's dissection of the various cliques cyclists form themselves into is entertaining and maybe a bit too close to home! It's also enjoyably self-indulgent; anyone who cycles will like to hear how wrong those pesky car drivers have it!

Because this books comes from existing blog writings it does feel a little like it might have benefited from a bit more revision before going to print; it has a bit of a "first draft" feel in places, which is fine on a freely available blog, but less welcome in a book people will pay for. It also lacks the images and videos the blog uses and, being largely text, feels a bit drier than the blog. There are also a lot of US/New York references that will pass a lot of us from the rest of the world by.

This is a relatively light and enjoyable read. Fun and witty in places - the better parts definitely outnumber the weaker passages. But I'd probably recommend the blog itself over the book.
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on 11 January 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Bike Snob is a fairly well known writer amongst the bike riding internet community, having been writing his popular blogs for some time now, he has decided to make a detour into print via his book 'The Bike Snob: systematically and mercilessly realigning the world of cycling'.

If you have read the blog you will probably be able to guess where this is going - his love of bikes and riding, dislike of hipsters and silly trends organised and better explained in book form, looking at different areas like the history of cycling and the bicycle, the different types of cyclists out there (hipsters, messengers, time trial rider, etc...) and exactly what he thinks of them - from the mountain bikers who get some respect for just being out there and having fun, confusion of why you would ever want to take part in triathlons, or the complete disdain to all the trend following hipsters (which seem to be a big dislike of his)

A constant background to the whole book of course is just his love of bikes down to the fact getting out riding is just plain enjoyable and a practical way to live somewhere like NY.

For someone with an interest in cycling (whatever style, as long as you are not a hipster...) this makes for an enjoyable read - while opinionated he makes a lot of sense and will resonate with most people who spend time in the saddle. If you don't ride, his enthusiasm here may just be ther persuasion you need to get a bike and get out.
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on 13 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Two things I have in common with Bike Snob: i) I own a cycle (three actually); ii) I rant and rave about most things in general, but cycling in particular.

Reading the Bike Snob's irreverent, informative and amusing book I'm glad that I've found a kindred spirit. He hates the things I hate and mocks those that should be mocked. But there's a lot more to the book than that: there's a bit of history, hints, technical tips and good, solid advice among its attractive hardcovers.

Even if you don't own a cycle or are thinking of taking it up (and why not? - at the age of 49, I bought my first bike for 25 years a mere 14 months ago, and now you can't get me off one!) you'll still find much to enjoy within the book's pages. Even though, the author is American (it's possibly the work of more than one hand) there's nothing much in here that a British person wouldn't understand or empathise with: cycling is a universal pastime.

In fact, no, I'd go further: this book should be essential reading for EVERYONE who takes to the road. Maybe then it would help engender a feeling of comradeship among ALL road users - including those pillocks in cars who drive too close and/or think it's clever/funny to yell `Get off the road' as they go past.

I'm off now to put a couple of the stickers that accompany the book on the frame of my Cannondale Six...
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2011
High in design arpeggios such as bicycle chains down the side of the page, popmag font splashes and cartoonery, this book is relentlessly youthful but not to be dismissed for that. Read this at fourteen (especially if you happen to be male, I suspect) and enthusiasm will inhabit your life, probably while breath lasts. It will also do a great job for the reading habit and it is no criticism to say that those same qualities are likely to put off the more wrinkled. Tropes such as 'things that are fun aren't supposed to be worthwhile' can come at you too often in life, true as they are. Listen to this: 'A leading cause of crashing is crashing into stuff.' This is daft, of course. Elsewhere though, simple advice comes across well. 'You can get all sorts of synthetic bike-specific hats, but even just a wool one that covers your ears is fine.' This should be tattooed on the heart of anyone who might be susceptible to glamorous marketing and anxious to burn a hole in Dad's pocket. To sum up, this probably isn't a buy for wrinkled veterans such as yours truly, but it would make a great gift for the same buyer to give to the adolescent youngster (probably boy) in their life.
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on 31 December 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thank BikeSnobNYC for helping to save my sanity whilst stuck in winter gridlock awaiting some flimsy dingbat to stop panicking at the sight of a few snowflakes and an inch or two of snow and get their act together.

I have no desire to return to the long abandoned world of cycling, however, I was most entertained by the descriptions of the various sub-species of that fraternity. I doubt that some of them would proliferate on this side of the pond as they seem too much a product of their environment, and would have thought that they may not even be seen too frequently outside 'The Big Apple', or Southern California at a push.

I was fascinated by the technical details regarding drivetrains etc, especially when in conjunction with differing width handlebars. BSNYC displays the right amount of irony within his blogs, I particularly liked his barbed comments, especially when allied to the colour images of the wierd, if not wonderful, conveyances in use.

Not a tome to which I shall return again, and again but an amusing interlude, and I imagine that is the rationale behind BSNYC's blogs.
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on 30 November 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm enjoying reading this. its a pot pouri of history, techniques, advice, technical stuff and opinions. Opinions more than anything. This guy (and it surely must be a guy) is seriously opinionated. in other words a typical cyclist. I'm a cyclist too, so i appreciate this sort of thing. Recommended for cyclists everywhere (New York isn't that different to London when your'e on your bike)
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on 14 February 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'd not visited the Bike Snob's blog before reading this book, so coming to it cold I initially thought 'snob' would mean a rather sanctimonious collection of writing about 'Why the Bike is Best'. Fortunately, it isn't that at all - instead it is an amusing, and often very wry, collection of writing on a host of bike-related matters, and it is aimed at all those who pedal - be it for pleasure, out of obsession or for necessity.

What I admired is author Eben Weiss' general disdain for all the tedious fads and fashions that circulate around cycling. He pokes fun at the various cycling 'tribes', and often those who chase the ultra-lightweight, horribly expensive kit. He ultimately wants to encourage and celebrate the joy of cycling, where the best kind of bike is really just the one that simply gets a lot of use from its owner (and is treated with respect!).

This is a well designed and attractive looking book, with some quirky illustrations and its tongue planted in its cheek. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have to be honest and say I was hoping for much more from this book. That's not to say it wasn't entertaining in its own way - it made a lot of tea-breaks longer than they might otherwise have been.

I'm an experienced cyclist, having ridden for more than 75% of my current life, and perhaps that was one of the problems I found in that much of the material here was familiar, and even the US-centric take on bike life didn't take me anywhere new. The American bias is evident in the style as well as the content, and it's also pretty obvious from the off that it's based on a blog again given the, well, bloggish tone! This means that there's the occasional over-rant and pointed bit of opinion in there, but nothing overtly offensive or distasteful.

A bit of fun... yes. A decent diversion with a cuppa... yes too. However, in my opinion it's perhaps best as a gift for a cycling friend rather than something you'd buy for yourself.
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