It's All About the Bike
The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels
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|Format:||Paperback, 208 pages|
|Other Information: ||Illustrations, map|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 05 May 2011|
Robert Penn's "It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels" is a paean to the humble bike; it's the story of why we ride, and why this simple machine holds the power to transport us all. Robert Penn has ridden a bike most days of his life. He rides to get to work, to bathe in air and sunshine, to stay sane and to feel free. This is the story of his love affair with cycling and the journey to build his dream bike; a freewheeling pilgrimage taking him from Californian mountain bike inventors to British artisan frame builders, and from perfect components to the path of true happiness. "A gem of a book ...a joy". ("Economist"). "Infectious, exhilarating, highly engaging". ("Independent"). "Be swept along by Penn's enthusiasm, humour and refreshing candour". ("Sunday Telegraph"). "Enriches your enjoyment of a ride". ("Sunday Times"). "As a depiction of a world you might vote for, Penn's does not sound bad at all". ("Observer"). Robert Penn writes for the "Financial Times", "Observer" and "Conde Nast Traveller", as well as a host of cycling publications. He is the author of "The Wrong Kind of Snow". Robert lives in the Black Mountains, South Wales with his wife and three children and commutes to work across a heather moor on a mountain bike.
About the Author
Robert Penn rides a bicycle to get to work, sometimes for work, to keep fit, to bathe in air and sunshine, to travel, to go shopping, to stay sane, to savour the physical and emotional fellowship of riding with friends, for fun, occasionally to impress someone, to scare himself and to hear his boy laugh. He's ridden a bicycle most days of his adult life, in over forty countries on five continents. In his late-twenties, he pedalled around the world. A journalist, Robert writes for the Financial Times, Observer and Conde Nast Traveller, as well as a host of cycling publications. His last book The Wrong Kind of Snow, was praised as 'jam packed with grand themes ... intelligently done' (Daily Mail) and 'endlessly fascinating ... written with flair' (Financial Times). Robert lives in the Black Mountains, South Wales with his wife and three children and commutes to work across a heather moor on a mountain bike.
Wales resident Penn, a contributor to Conde Nast Traveler and various bicycle publications, has traveled 25,000 miles on a bicycle, and his expertise is evident. Seeking "craftsmanship, not technology," he met with top bike mechanics in order to customize an ergonomically efficient dream machine: "I want a bike that shows my appreciation of the tradition, lore and beauty of bicycles." Coasting past the large manufacturers who service the cycling masses, he visited the U.K.'s few remaining artisan frame builders, where he analyzed the angles of frame geometry: "Along with the immaculate fit and the right tubing material, geometry is an intrinsic part of buying a bespoke bicycle." As he writes about handlebars, gears, wheels, and saddles, each component gets a chapter, and the reader feels Penn's enthusiasm at seeing his steed assembled. Along the way, he looks back at bike history, beginning with the 1817 Draisine, propelled by paddling one's feet along the ground. Saddles were a concern to the conservative elements of Victorian society: "That bike riding might be sexually stimulating to women was a real worry." These pages are a delight, packed with facts, informative illustrations and two-wheeled tales, they map a path into the heart of cycling culture. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gem of a book Economist Penn writes with a Bill-Brysonesque facility for concentrating a lot of information and research into an easy-to-read ... Best of all ... his account enriches your enjoyment of a ride -- Tim Dawson, Cycle Guy Sunday Times Fantastic ... Well worth a read if, like me, you love cycling! -- Paul Smith Artfully, Penn turns his quest for hardware ... into a worldwide spin around cycling and its culture -- William Fotheringham Guardian The pages overflow with pioneers, mavericks and geniuses - certainly, it is hard to imagine anyone who reads this book being able to buy a bike "off the peg" again -- Tim Lewis Observer I've just spent a week pedalling slowly from Windermere to Aviemore with a copy of Penn's zealous eulogy in my pannier. His infectious admiration for the exhilarating sociability of cycling, coupled with reverence for quality craftsmanship, made highly engaging company ... appreciate the wit and enthusiasm of this unusual odyssey -- James Urquhart Independent Penn tells us that the bicycle, as we know it, was invented in 1885 and is the most efficient form of transport ever devised... A joyful book -- William Leith The Scotsman Bike-lit is booming, and while 'cross-country hardtail' might not have the same ring to it as 'penny-farthing', there's evidently little to do with cycling about which Robert Penn can't wax lyrical. Whether his subject is spokes or saddle sores, he is relentlessly enthusiastic... Penn's amiability is puncture-proof -- Stephanie Cross Daily Mail [H]is adrenalin-charged enthusiasm... delivers a good ride... The social history is snappy and his almost religious quest for ultimate craftsmanship full of wit. -- James Urquhart Financial Times
|Publisher: ||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Dimensions: ||19.0 x 12.0 x 1.0 centimeters (0.16 kg)|