Your Next 5 Books: For a family that cycles together

In this column we regularly highlight a Your Next 5 Books submission that we find interesting, funny, unique, or useful to other readers. Submit Your Next 5 Books entry now, or stop by and see us in person, and maybe you could see your (anonymous) reading habits on Shelf Talk!

Books that are One with the Bike

I’ve been reading some interesting books about bikes and bike riding, racing and commuting. Here are a few books that have an interesting angle or two. Sometimes the angle is from the ground looking up.

This is Parkin’s follow up to his very popular A Dog in a Hat. This time he returns to the states and learns to ride a wide tired bike over snowmobile tracks. When he finally gets his chance to race in America he finds this snow training has been all wrong for the quick and tumble races that lay before him in the American South.

“I’ve been riding a bicycle as my principal means of transportation in New York since the early 1980’s.” So says the author and musician in this book where he recounts his bicycling travels in Berlin, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Manila, Sydney, London and U.S. cities big and small from New York to Sweetwater Texas. Continue reading “Books that are One with the Bike”

Books for Tour de France followers

krabbeWritten from the perspective of a participant, The Rider by Tim Krabbe takes the reader into the heart of a 150-kilometer bicycle race. Krabbe does an amazing job of containing the strategy, thrills, motivation and accumulated folk history of bicycle enthusiasts in a scant 150 pages. The reader will feel the burning of over-burdened muscles, the pain of self-doubt, the exhilaration of a high-speed chase and the camaraderie that develops and drives the peloton. This book will satisfy any reader who is interested in bicycle racing or in the psychology of competition. 

The Tour de France starts on July 4. Here are some other titles to consider:

Tour de Amsterdam: Biking as a Tourist

image-of-bicyle-in-amsterdam-courtesy-of-j-salmoralBiking in Amsterdam is an experience that can be enjoyed by even novice cyclists. On almost all streets and roads, cyclists enjoy an exclusive wide path separated from motor vehicle traffic by a strip of ground, a ditch or high curb. Riders have the right of way over pedestrians (a practice that takes time getting used to), and even have the prerogative to run red lights! It’s remarkable to be part of a populated community where a bicycle, as a mode of transportation, is only second to the popular and efficient train system that most of Europe enjoys.

As a flight attendant, I get to visit Amsterdam several times a year. While walking proves to be the best way of becoming familiar with a city, once you’re comfortable with the layout, renting a bike allows you to be more adventuresome within and outside the city limits. There are numerous bike rental shops in the city, just outside Central Station (the main train station) and even in smaller outlying towns. Bikes can be rented for a few hours or weekly.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned (some the hard way):   Continue reading “Tour de Amsterdam: Biking as a Tourist”