When I first hopped onto the saddle a few years ago, I was quite happy with just me and my mountain bike. Riding around I was blissfully ignorant of cycling culture and anything remotely advanced beyond “more pedalling means I can go further”. As my interest grew in cycling, which I’m sure yours has too considering you are here reading these words on a cycling blog, then I wished I had someone to hold my hand and walk me through it. That someone could have been Helen. With her many years of casual cycling as well as her writing experience for the Guardian she is the perfect person to put together a fantastic guide for the everyday cyclist.
I certainly could of saved myself a lot of trouble learning things the hard way or guessing them myself. For example with bicycle maintenance my method of operating (or Modus Operandi if you’re into your Latin – oh yes, this blog is cultured!) was to spray as much oil as possible. Of course I now know I should of used it a lot more sparingly. The same with my bike locking tactics. I had to figure these out over time and research them online. Helen could have just told me. In terms of cycling safety I now know I’ve been doing things wrong for years. The examples go on: which bike type, accessories, fashionable clothing. All those little questions you have about cycling are answered in the book.
It is the equivalent of doing the leap from a complete beginner cyclist who has just walked into a bike shop and is now unsure of which bike to choose to someone who has been comfortably cycling for a while. The coverage in Bicycle by Helen Pidd is exceptionally wide and you save a huge amount of time compared to figuring everything out yourself or from fellow cyclists.
The book tackles common questions such as bicycle insurance, how to cycle to work in a suit and why you might need proper cycling shoes. It uses a friendly, easy to read tone which makes it a joy to read.
It’s a book I can’t help picking up and flicking through. I can thoroughly recommend it for anyone who is getting started with cycling, wants to know more about how they can make the most of their bike and take their cycling up to the next level. If only Helen had written this guide back when I was starting out!
You can grab a copy of Bicycle by Helen Pidd from Amazon for under £10.
- How to lock your bike
- Cycling magazines
- Alastair Humphreys book review
- Book recommendations by my Twitterers
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.