If you’re looking for some Summer reading to take the sting out of the current heat wave’s apparent determination to make long rides a test of your ability to pedal while subjected to dehydration induced hallucinations, consider “It’s All About The Bike” by Robert Penn (a little dis on Lance Armstrong’s “It’s Not About The Bike”). Robert, who has himself ridden around the world, sets out on a journey to put together the perfect custom bike – the bike he’ll happily ride for the rest of his life. He is determined to meet the people who make every part and shares his encounters – from the gang at Chris King in Oregon to the veteran craftsmen at Brooks in Birmingham. Along the way he weaves in a healthy dose of bicycle history in a way that makes it fun and relevant to what you’re riding today. (Well, not today because the heat index is like 107 degrees but you know what I mean.)
The cover is fun but on the whole the book is a bit disapointing as an object of design. The small black and white illustrations conspire with an uninspired layout to remind me of those scholarly journals from cultural anthropology classes in college. Thankfully this book mentions yams and the Trobriand Islands exactly zero times. Pick it up. Hopefully by the time you finish the weather will have cooled.