- From mountain bikes to cycle computers, find 1000s of products in our bikes store.
It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels Paperback – 5 May 2011
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Gem of a book (Economist)
Penn writes with a Bill-Brysonesque facility for concentrating a lot of information and research into an easy-to-read ... Best of all ... his account enriches your enjoyment of a ride (Tim Dawson, Cycle Guy Sunday Times)
Fantastic ... Well worth a read if, like me, you love cycling! (Paul Smith)
Artfully, Penn turns his quest for hardware ... into a worldwide spin around cycling and its culture (William Fotheringham Guardian)
The pages overflow with pioneers, mavericks and geniuses - certainly, it is hard to imagine anyone who reads this book being able to buy a bike "off the peg" again (Tim Lewis Observer)
I've just spent a week pedalling slowly from Windermere to Aviemore with a copy of Penn's zealous eulogy in my pannier. His infectious admiration for the exhilarating sociability of cycling, coupled with reverence for quality craftsmanship, made highly engaging company ... appreciate the wit and enthusiasm of this unusual odyssey (James Urquhart Independent)
Penn tells us that the bicycle, as we know it, was invented in 1885 and is the most efficient form of transport ever devised... A joyful book (William Leith The Scotsman)
Bike-lit is booming, and while 'cross-country hardtail' might not have the same ring to it as 'penny-farthing', there's evidently little to do with cycling about which Robert Penn can't wax lyrical. Whether his subject is spokes or saddle sores, he is relentlessly enthusiastic... Penn's amiability is puncture-proof (Stephanie Cross Daily Mail)
[H]is adrenalin-charged enthusiasm... delivers a good ride... The social history is snappy and his almost religious quest for ultimate craftsmanship full of wit. (James Urquhart Financial Times)
About the Author
Robert Penn is an author, journalist and TV presenter. Robert wrote and presented Tales from the Wild Wood, a TV series about British woodlands. He lives in a wooded valley in the Black Mountains, South Wales, with his wife, three children, two spaniels and a collection of axes.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
I had some initial reservations about watching the programme, city guy moves to wales to rediscover himself and finds cycling in the process, it has british movie industry written all over it! The lifelong passion for the bike that was revealed however left me once again chiding my own preconceptions, and yet another inward promise to be more open minded and less reactionary!
Obviously the book fleshes out the broad strokes painted on the tv, but the passion and almost reverence that comes across is a joy to read. Clever writing prevents the book going the way of a sentimental eulogy to craftsmen passed, and instead reveals a soaring demand for the bespoke bike, albeit for a very different user. As a cyclist myself i was particularly gratified to learn that the principal aim of the author attaining his dream bike was to ride it all the time, celebrating it through use, and not just having it as another expensive accessory, (penn himself compares the skill and artistry of a framebuilder to that of a watchmaker or tailor)thus needing it to be absolutely perfect in every detail. Any jealousy at the author having the time and money to be able to trek globally in order to acquire the components for his dream bike are soon forgotten thanks to the total passion that is revealed for every detail of the bike through very skilled writing. It's always gratifying to connect with a fellow bikie, even if through the pages of book, and i was very pleased to see that i already own most of his selected reading!
If you like cycling, buy this book.
If you like travel, buy this book.
If you want a dollop of inspiration to get you back on your own bike, buy this book.
Oh, and watch the one hour BBC special based on this book. You can find it on YouTube.
Connecting me with the heartbeat of our talented forbears (the British contributors to the development of cycling) , their sharing of genius with those across borders, and to their present incarnations, makes me feel hopeful for Britain too - and that's a gift for me. Ta, Rob.
My only problem with the book is that I unwittingly read it without thinking of the obvious result - that the discomfort of my own bike - and the reasons for that - is now achingly clear, and I guess I might just see if I can find a local frame-maker.... and some cash... :-)
Having just started cycling regularly again, and planning some touring, this was perfectly timed to inspire me to look beyond what my LBS offers.
Firstly, this book combines a great potted history of bikes and cycling with Robert's personal quest for his ultimate bike. The historical stuff is all very interesting and well presented, never boring, and overall very informative while remaining fun.
On to the inspiring stuff: I have been planning to invest in a proper touring bike, and had a shortlist of four or five - none hand-built, all from my LBS - when I picked this book up. Whilst I do. It have the time, money nor inclination to travel and research in the same way, I am now far more aware of the components and how they are made, and what the true functions are.
Wile I don't have the money for e Rourke frame - the builder Robert chose for his frame - I searched out one of the other frame builders he mentioned, and am planning a visit to Bob Jackson's workshop and shop in Leeds soon (I am currently selling like mad on eBay to fund the new bike!) and am as yet not certain if I will be able to buy a custom frame or not.
The information Robert presents is both incredibly interesting and useful - this book has been the most useful tome whilst I consider my next push-iron.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is planning to spend good money on a bike, anyone with an interest in bikes, and anyone who cycles regularly.
I enjoyed the book very much and recommend it to bicycling enthusiasts.
'All About The Bike' interweaves masses of information about the history of the bicycle (and of companies associated with that history) with the writer's quest to assemble a bicycle that would be perfect for his own use. From what he tells us, it is clear that the adventurous Robert Penn is one of the most serious and devoted cyclists you can imagine: he has pedalled his way round the world and been on numerous other cycling expeditions. So he knows his subject.
But he can certainly write, too! It is unusual to find a book about cycling that is so literate. The use of vocabulary is sharp and you are frequently struck by the originality and effectiveness of a simile. Yet the writing has the fluency of good journalism.
And the book has been well edited: I did not notice any typographical errors.
Within the book there are, unfortunately, no colour photographs. (I suppose that helps keep down costs.) But the illustrations, though generally small and black-and-white, are always useful and effective. And the photo of the writer's 'dream bicycle' - appearing on the dust sheet in colour - is a useful point of reference.
The hardback feels luxurious in the hand, too, and is printed on good-quality paper.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun,interesting, informative and amusing. A great idea for a book.Published 1 month ago by Richard Robinson
I wanted read about building the ultimate bike. However, I simultaneously had to read a history book. Other parts, both bike building and history were too down out.Published 3 months ago by singe
If you have any interest in bikes and cycling this is a fascinating read.Published 3 months ago by Bentley
Clearly the author is obsessed by bikes and his enthusiasm is infectious. Its a fascinating story of the history of bicycles, their importance then and now in engineering and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This got boring real quick. Not without redeeming parts, but in the end it felt like a pointless book about a pointless exercise.Published 6 months ago by MR S.
Great book if you are a bike nut. Covers the history and technology of bikes in a very entertaining way.Published 6 months ago by Bob Kelso