Book Review: Cyclepedia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The trajectory of my responses to this book: (1) Excitement, (2) mild disappointment, (3) growing admiration with every page turn which (4) canceled out any disappointment, all adding up to (5) five enthusiastic stars.
(1) Excitement upon discovering the book: Wow! I can’t wait to look at pretty pictures of well-designed bicycles.
(2) Mild disappointment upon initial browsing: Whoa! Many of these bikes are not much to look at and an awful lot of them are folding bikes, which aren’t particularly interesting to me.
(3) Admiration as I begin to read, growing with every page turn: The perfect blend of sharp pictures and clear text illuminates why each bike was chosen. Many bikes that seem bland at first glance prove, upon closer inspection by a now better-informed eye, to be subtly elegant paragons of good design. Meanwhile, as the pages pile up, the reader is learning–in easy, bite-sized steps–more than she knew before about the thousand-and-one questions involved in bike engineering and manufacturing.
(4) All disappointment vanishes as this leads to renewed appreciation for every bicycle, and numerous near-crashes as the reader turns her head (while riding her own bicycle) to look more closely at bikes passing by. Back at home on the couch, the pages of her notebook fill with scribbles and doodles inspired by the facts and images in this extraordinary book.
(5) Five stars: The book itself is well-designed, with just the right blend of text and photos for a book of this kind. Apart from the sheer physical joy of looking at (and imagining riding) these bikes, the close reader will be rewarded with information and inspiration.
In sum: This book is right on time. As the planet warms, we need more people to be inspired not only to ride but also to tweak and redesign bikes of all kinds.
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