"Bicycling": all-time best "allbike" book
November 13, 2005
[$20] "Bicycling: A Guinness Superlatives Guide" by JB Wadley and J Durry is a hardcover book from the early 80's but it covers the WHOLE world of bicycling like no other. It has the best writing, the best background and tons of classic photos of every main kind of cycling. Except a few. (Ha).
OK, mt-biking wasn't invented at that time and recumbency isn't covered, otherwise this book is what you could call "complete."
Wadley and Durry are basically the best cycling writers in English and French, respectively. Not a bad team-up.
The main thing this book does is cover the background and culture of the strongest aspects of cycling. Well, maybe that's a little strong, but still.
I suppose that technically the best part of the book is it Racing section---it gives wonderfully written backgrounds of the history and heroes of all the major races (tours and classics). Then it covers all the styles/disciplines and aspects of racing and includes both training and execution tips aplenty in a more savvy way that even contemporary books. It gives good coverage of track and cyclo-cross.
It also covers the Euro basis of touring and rando movements nicely.
It gives a good look at the best of 70's-style bike technology: lugged frames and Campy rule, along with fendered city and rando bikes.
The whole thing is brilliantly written and illustrated.
The only real rival to this book is the "Tour de France Complete Book of Bicycling" by David Chauner, a smaller paperback of basically half the status but still good merit. "Bike Cult" is vaguely in the same "complete" boat but has a much greater social-politics-eco-citybike slant.
215 pp. 8" x 12". I buy up good used copies to help keep this book in play and in good hands.