Reviews for Just Ride : A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike

BookPage Reviews 2012 May
Science has the answers

Brain Trust: 93 Top Scientists Reveal Lab-Tested Secrets to Surfing, Dating, Dieting, Gambling, Growing Man-Eating Plants, and More! by Garth Sundem is science made hands-on, practical and flat-out fun to read. After interviewing the researchiest researchers in psychology, mathematics, network theory, technology, economics, physics and so on, Sundem distilled their collective wisdom into bite-sized chunks of genius. Here are some particulars: how to throw a punch, make people laugh, win the lottery, get your spouse to do more housework, succeed at speed dating, stop buying stuff you don’t need, avoid Facebook fail and get a job. Sundem’s own expertise makes him a worthy guide. His work “at the intersection of science, math, humor and geek culture” already includes Geek Logik, The Geeks’ Guide to World Domination and Brain Candy. “Life is messy,” he says, but “starting to pick it apart with science shows you just how brilliant and wild and interconnected and fascinating it is.”

Brooks Palmer made the world tidier with his first book, Clutter Busting, but the question of why we clutter in the first place became so urgent, he’s back with Clutter Busting Your Life. It “delves more deeply into the nature of our relationships . . . and how clutter intrudes, distorts, and diminishes these connections.” The book begins with questions and exercises that help spotlight our own relationships to clutter, then details basic clutter-busting techniques. Palmer recommends starting with one small area at a time: just one drawer, your computer bookmarks, the car or your Facebook friends list. From there, he moves to people: present and past relationships, co-workers, anyone with whom we connect. To think about relationships as tangible things can help us sort and clear emotional clutter, “cut the crap” and keep only what is of real value.

Just Ride
by Grant Petersen is full of “unconventional wisdom” aimed to make your next bike ride more fun, even “fantastic.” The author rails against professional racing’s profound influence upon recreational riders: We tend to “wear the same clothes, pedal in the same shoes, ride the same bikes as racers do,” and have the same goals—speed and mileage. He proposes a far more attractive alternative: “unracing,” or just biking for enjoyment, like kids do. Petersen explains how to achieve that mindset in short chapters organized into themes: riding, suiting up, safety, health and fitness, accessories, upkeep, technicalities and “velosophy”: bike philosophy. One nugget of advice is to imagine yourself as a potential “predator” when on a bike, which means you must “be saintlike on the bike path” to avoid causing harm. Other chapter titles give a clue to general tone: “Your helmet’s not a bonnet and other tips on how to wear it,” “Fenders, not muddy stripes up your butt” and “Your bike is a toy, have fun with it.”

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
This piece of awesomeness should become a populist manifesto for bicyclists everywhere. In it, Petersen (founder, Rivendell Bicycle Works, Walnut Creek, CA) makes a pungent (yes, pungent) case for enjoying bicycling, for returning it to its recreational and utile state. Though the book is masked as a list of 89 basic ideas (e.g., use your kickstand, get your quick release right, etc.), it's really a clarion call for riders to "unrace" aka "jettison the influences of racing that make your bike riding worse than fantastic." Spend some time on a bike and you'll see the dudes I see: blowing by-and scaring-little kids, pushing themselves to injury, dropping thousands of ka-ching, and scoffing at those not crushing two hard-core century rides every weekend. Petersen gives us permission to enjoy bike riding again, to ride your bike to pick up the groceries, to fart around. I have four bikes (yes, that's three too many), and I enjoy the hell out of them. But the one bike I really crave isn't the fully pimped $15,000 Pinarello Dogma 2; it's the black fat-tire, three-speed with metal fenders, a basket on the front, and a rack on the back. I sit upright on it, not hunched over in aero position. I pedal it to get to work, to the store, to the beach; it replaces my car, and it is extremely awesome. Smell what Petersen is cooking*. *Except for this funny idea he has that the poncho is the ultimate cycling garment. - Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes," LJ Reviews 5/3/12 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.