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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 24 February 2013
This little book is a veritable breath of fresh air in a stifled category.

Many books are written and marketed on a 'this will change your life' ticket. Dr Irvine's 'Mindful Cycling' makes no such trite promises, but conveys some much-needed simple and practical wisdom for refining one's lifestyle.

Taking Einstein as his role model, Irvine reveals to us the man behind the myth and shows, with references both scientific and personal, how such a remarkable human being's way of thinking was deeply connected and motivated by the everyday phenomenal world. Through playing his violin, talking with all people as equals, and riding his bicycle, Einstein maintained a state of equanimity in which his extraordinary mind could function at its optimum capacity. We may not all have Einstein's IQ, but taking a leaf or two from his exemplary life book can, Irvine suggests, assist us in cutting out a lot of the mental and emotional 'clutter' that preoccupies so much of our waking time. The benefits of this are obvious: clearer thinking, calmer feeling, a sense of place, belonging and purpose and, above all, lower fuel emissions!

I love the lack of pretension that pervades this book, both its subject matter and in its writing. When Irvine, himself a doctor of philosophy, describes his own experiences, and shows how too much analysis and lazy thinking can negatively affect even the brightest of individuals, there is an honesty and clarity of purpose sorely missing from many so-called 'wellbeing' type books. The simple observations he shares from the saddle are ones with which we can all identify, probably remember from childhood, even - but how often do we actively remember? If we did, would we not all jump back on our bikes, disengage our complex modes of pursuing endless fantastic desires and pleasures, and 're-mind' ourselves of where the balance lies? This book is full of down-to-earth and manageable suggestions for getting back on your bike - metaphorically and literally. For, as Einstein showed us, both theoretically and in his behaviour, aren't the mental and the physical intimately connected?

An uplifting and no-nonsense read. No crazy goals, techniques or practices - just inspiration.
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VINE VOICEon 12 November 2014
It's difficult to understand who this book is aimed at. I picked it up as a cyclist who has some limited interest in meditation, Buddhism and "mindfulness". The cycling element of the book wasn't much use to me, as Irvine attempts to explain to the reader all the things that are great about getting around by bike. Like most cyclists, I don't need convincing of that, I already know it, that's why the bicycle is my chosen form of transport. The "mindfulness" element - and what a horribly clunky word that is - is very basic, so there's nothing of any real interest here for anyone who has done any other reading on the subject.

As for the inclusion of Einstein as a model example of what mindful cycling can do for you, he seems a fairly arbitrary choice. It seems he owned a bicycle and would sometimes ride it. Irvine may as well have made as much from Einstein's preference for crew-neck jumpers, or Einstein's choice to wear his hair somewhat longer than fashion dictated, as he has from Einstein's occasional use of a bicycle.

It's an easy read, and it is a fairly short book. I don't really feel like I learned anything from it.

So, who would it be good for? People who are considering taking up cycling AND some kind of "mindfulness" practice - but know nothing at all about either - and would also like to learn a smattering of trivia about Einstein. That strikes me as something of a niche market, but those people - if they are out there - will eat this up.
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on 15 January 2014
I found this book very interesting, and struck a real cord for me -- why I enjoy cycling so much, explained in terms of mindfulness. also lots of interesting stuff about the history of cycling and cycle design, as well as a lot about the life and beliefs of Einstein. Very readable.
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on 29 December 2013
Quite simply, reading this book made me want to get back on my bike. The way Irvine describes cycling and its benefits to your physical and mental health is beguiling and compelling and I really did wonder why I don't cycle more often. I really like the portrait that Irvine paints of Einstein. I learned a lot. Irvine deftly mixes information on cycling, Einstein, and his own anecdotal experiences of cycling in an entertaining way. The prose is silky and simple and I found it a very good read indeed.
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on 24 October 2014
Hmmm, more of a fluffed out essay in a cover than a book
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on 28 February 2013
retro style printed hard cover with a observations on the meaning of life through the eyes of a hardened cyclist.most amusing .If you've ever ridden a bike,or even SEEN a bike,then you should read this.
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on 29 November 2013
Great title, great idea but doesn't quite live up to my expectation.

It is a bit dull and the only bits that really leave you wanting more are Einstein's quotes.
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on 17 March 2013
A great book for cyclists. Funny, informative and very good reading. Great as a present for those who have most things and love cycling.
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on 23 September 2015
Great book, whether you are into cycling or reading it from a 'Mindful' perspective.
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on 25 February 2013
The author clearly knows his stuff when it comes to Einstein and I learnt much from reading the book. However, after a while one can't be sure if the author intended to focus on Einstein and how he used cycling to work out problems or to highlight the author's clear passion for the machine that is a bicycle. This element of confusion becomes irritating when the concepts around flow and thought are introduced; I found myself skipping chunks and eventually looking for something else to read. That said, when Mr Irvine is focussing on one thing or the other he is very readable - he just needed to make up his mind what this book's subject matter was intended to be.
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