Life from an outsider's perspective…

The Ultimate Bicycle Book – a review.


If there is only one book about cycling you should own – then this is it!

Everyone who owns a bike should get this, especially if you’re just starting out. It is really what got me started off, now I own my ultimate dream machine and I still refer to it now and then. You see so many riders out there with incorrectly set up bikes. The three things I can notice from about 100 feet away are: their seat is too low; their chain is insufficiently lubricated; and the derailleurs are not adjusted properly. This book will teach you how to set up your bike correctly, and provide you with essential knowledge on cycling.


This has all the info in it for beginners and intermediates alike. The main sections are: mountain bikes, racing bikes and touring bikes, future bikes and cycle maintenance. Within these pages, you’ll find info about bike set-up/positioning, sizing of frames, clothing, riding techniques, racing and stretching. Plus more info on other specific bike parts, such as: frame construction, types of wheels, gears/brakes, etc. Also specific info about various types of bikes used in: observed trials, the tour de France, criterium races, time-trials, triathlons, track racing (& classic bikes).

The maintenance section is quite extensive, and will generally be adequate for most people’s needs. It covers tools (and there’s a lot!), wheel truing, fixing flat tires, adjustments for comfort, brakes, chains, pedals, derailleur adjustment, and cleaning/lubrication.

There are plenty of good colour photos, it is well written and very informative – what more could you ask for? If you haven’t actually flicked through this book and you’re still having doubts about getting it, go to your local bookshop and just have a look through it, you’ll see what I mean. All in all a very comprehensive guide to cycling – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for youngsters and/or beginners. The only problem is that it is getting quite dated, but if you can live with that, it’s perfect.

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