Since World Book Day went into full swing, I paged through some books in my personal collection. I predict that bike books will soon take over my bookshelf. Find these at public libraries, bookshops, or Powell’s bookstore, and enjoy!

If Humans of New York had a bike angle, this book would illustrate it. My Cool Bike features cities such as London, New York, Amsterdam, and Paris, and events like Burning Man in a cinematic display of city-scape bike portraits. Each page tells the story of life on a bike, and how that vantage point is the same, but at the same time vastly different, throughout the world. This book shows what the bike brings to these places.

“I make portraits of cyclists who reside in Paris, with the aim of capturing their styles and ‘personal stories,’ people come as they are.” – Jérémy Beaulieu pg. 52

Penny farthing world tours, bike polo, moving libraries, tweed rides, these photos capture smiles, flirtations, musings and pensive thought. “Bikes really do bring out the best in people,” note the authors, who poignantly dedicated the book to their fathers “who diligently spent many hours teaching [them] to ride [their] bikes.”

What’s your cyclist type? Speed Demon? Retro Rider? Earth Mother? Fashion Victim?

Heels on Wheels: A Lady’s Guide to owning and riding a bike fits into any lady’s messenger bag, large purse, backpack, pannier, or bike basket. Found under the Christmas tree, I dove into this charmingly illustrated book where I learned Jennifer Aniston was a bike messenger before her path to stardom (which resulted in about a half hour of Googling bike messenger jobs).

Heels on Wheels is neither judgmental nor imperious. The content spans from bike types to handlebars, rules of the road to proper bike attire, tips for looking fabulous after biking in drastic weather, and we can’t forget words from the wise.

“I thought of [the Theory of Relativity] while riding my bike.” – Albert Einstein

The more I learn about bicycles and attend classes, the more I agree with Katie’s “essential kit”:

  • A pump that matches your valve. Interchangeable pumps are more expensive but are worth what you save in the hassle when switching bikes. See presta valve vs. shrader valve 
  • puncture patches (to fix a flat)
  • small piece of sandpaper
  • chalk (a rock will work) to mark the tear
  • 3 spanners
  • a spare inner tube
  • disposable plastic gloves (optional)

Have these items in arm’s reach with a small First Aid Kit and you’re ready to roll!

As a beginner cyclist and daydreamer, I dog-earred these pages and imagined the epic future that cycling could create. Holy Spokes! emphasizes cycling’s social joys and the sport’s freedom. The author’s enthusiasm sells the guarantee that the joys and knowledge behind biking will last a lifetime. “The cool thing about cycling is that it makes the perfect lifelong sport,” writes Coppolillo.

A quick read but informative, Holy Spokes! doesn’t just inform. It gets you excited about cycling.

“Cycling is one of the few sports you can enjoy with literally everybody–kids, men, women, your grandfather with a knee replacement, a first-time mountain biker, the women’s state BMX champion, folks from the farm country, inner-city messengers, bike travelers from who knows-where, and immigrants from cycling-mad countries like France, Australia, and Germany.”

I can’t agree more.

Reading Bike Snob is like your dad saying, “Buck up, you’re on a bike. Now deal with it.” Bike Snob helped me get over my shyness while riding in traffic (cue flashback to my wipeout on Market Street in San Francisco). This comprehensive, artsy illustration of the bike reminds you to, above all, have respect for the ride and keep your bicycle in good shape. The book covers nitty gritty details, but also, the writing clear, poetry in motion.

I especially enjoy the commentary on hipsters and their relationship to fixies.

“[O]nce the bicycle became trendy, the migratory pattern of the hipster changed. Because the bicycle is by far the simplest and fastest way to cover short distances, cycling hipsters soon explored the often fertile areas surrounding their territory…Naturally, the fixed gear bicycle soon became an indispensable part of hipster culture, and because hipsters began to rely upon them more and more in order to travel within their rapidly expanding territories, the bicycle in turn became even trendier and more coveted. The fixed-gear bicycle is as vital to the hipster as a horse is to the cowboy, or the tractor is to the farmer, or the boat is to the fisherman.”

Have books about bikes you’d like to share? Please leave titles and authors in the comments.