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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 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 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 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 19 January 2017
This was ok overall. Like all these type of books how much you will learn about mechanics and techniques etc is directly proportional to how much you knew already. But I did pick up a few things. Main thing is the philosophy - don't be fooled into thinking you have to mimic a Pro rider at the expense of just enjoying cycling. That may just seem common sense but as the saying is common sense isn't as common as you would thinkl
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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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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 27 April 2015
This book is very refreshing! It helps if you are tuned to Americanisms, of course, but it provides a fresh outlook on cycling as it can be. I have never been a serious cyclist, although I enjoy it and have owned bikes of various formats - my recent acquisition is a Brompton, which fits with the sentiment of this book entirely. Read this very accessible and entertaining book and realise that it is just as cool to be an "unracer"...
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on 27 September 2017
This isn't really a practical guide to cycling nor a funny read. The author comes across as a bit of an opinionated know it all who shares a few of his views but with very little facts to back it up. The book is very little on content. I rarely write reviews on here but found this book so poor I couldn't not.
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on 1 May 2016
If you're thinking about buying a full carbon road bike and all the gear to go with it in pursuit of cycling pleasure, then read this book first. It'll save you a whole load of cash, pain and disappointment whilst showing you how to really enjoy cycling as a recreational pursuit. I've been cycling just about as long as the author has and have independently come to the same conclusion as described in this book. So save yourself 40+ years of trying to get it right and learn how much enjoyment there can be in not trying to be like a road racing pro.
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