Saving the World, Two Wheels at a Time 

Local editor delivers the ideal book for bicyclists

Serious bike riding offers a heady cocktail of two irresistible pleasures—euphoria and self-righteousness. The combination of physical exertion and mechanical assistance delivers a particularly salubrious release of endorphin.
by David Maddox

Serious bike riding offers a heady cocktail of two irresistible pleasures — euphoria and self-righteousness. The combination of physical exertion and mechanical assistance delivers a particularly salubrious release of endorphin. You put in a little effort, the machine kicks in, and off you go. It’s exhilarating. Not only that, bike riding has the potential to solve all the world’s ills—global warming (no carbon emissions), conflict in the Middle East (reduced reliance on oil) and health care (lower blood pressure and weight).

Jim Joyce’s compilation The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings (Satya House, 149 pp., $14.95) is a testimony to biking’s pleasures. Joyce compiled the book from short essays and cartoons contributed over the years to a website he runs, Bikexchange.com. The book has the qualities of a website, loosely connected and designed to please an audience made up of both passionate aficionados and people who stumble across it at random.

The book has sections for “humor,” “wisdom” and “wanderings.” These are filled with short essays by many of the regular website contributors. Gianna Bellofatto’s series of musings under the general title “Life is a Bike” argues that aspects of biking can serve as a metaphor for everything. Several writers offer stories of memorable excursions or characters they encounter on the road. There’s plenty of cheerleading for bikes, proposals for spreading the two-wheel gospel, references to Lance Armstrong and speculation or fantasies about the future for bicycles. The book includes some excerpts from the website’s “Ask the Mechanic” column, which is “Car Talk” for bikes without the Magliozzi brothers’ shtick. The humor is corny, the stories earnest, and the technical jargon can challenge any claim to membership in the bicycle fraternity/sorority. In other words, it’s perfect for people bitten by the bicycle bug.

Since you can’t be on your bike all day (you can’t, right?), this book gives you a place to linger with recollections, think about your next ride or envy the people who have gotten to ride longer, farther and faster than you.

Serious bike riding offers a heady cocktail of two irresistible pleasures — euphoria and self-righteousness. The combination of physical exertion and mechanical assistance delivers a particularly salubrious release of endorphin. You put in a little effort, the machine kicks in, and off you go. It’s exhilarating. Not only that, bike riding has the potential to solve all the world’s ills—global warming (no carbon emissions), conflict in the Middle East (reduced reliance on oil) and health care (lower blood pressure and weight).

Jim Joyce’s compilation The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings (Satya House, 149 pp., $14.95) is a testimony to biking’s pleasures. Joyce compiled the book from short essays and cartoons contributed over the years to a website he runs, Bikexchange.com. The book has the qualities of a website, loosely connected and designed to please an audience made up of both passionate aficionados and people who stumble across it at random.

The book has sections for “humor,” “wisdom” and “wanderings.” These are filled with short essays by many of the regular website contributors. Gianna Bellofatto’s series of musings under the general title “Life is a Bike” argues that aspects of biking can serve as a metaphor for everything. Several writers offer stories of memorable excursions or characters they encounter on the road. There’s plenty of cheerleading for bikes, proposals for spreading the two-wheel gospel, references to Lance Armstrong and speculation or fantasies about the future for bicycles. The book includes some excerpts from the website’s “Ask the Mechanic” column, which is “Car Talk” for bikes without the Magliozzi brothers’ shtick. The humor is corny, the stories earnest, and the technical jargon can challenge any claim to membership in the bicycle fraternity/sorority. In other words, it’s perfect for people bitten by the bicycle bug.

Since you can’t be on your bike all day (you can’t, right?), this book gives you a place to linger with recollections, think about your next ride or envy the people who have gotten to ride longer, farther and faster than you.

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