Saturday, July 28, 2012
Book Review - Just Ride
A radically practical guide to riding your bike
By Grant Petersen
Founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works
The other day when I got home I found this book waiting for me in my mail box. I wasn’t surprised, I had ordered the book and I was anxious to start reading. Like many of you I had heard “things” about this book. Some things were good, some things were bad. I hoped that if nothing else the book would be “interesting”. I can honestly say that interesting is a valid description of the book.
Grant Petersen has no trouble saying what he believes in. In the Introduction of the book he states “In real life I’m not as mean (or Judgmental) as I sound in this book, and it makes me uncomfortable to write a book that will be so predictably panned...”
In real life he may not be mean or judgmental but that is exactly how he comes off in the book. Even when I agree with what he has to say (which is about half the time) I find myself embarrassed to admit it for the reason to that he comes off in such a negative, mean, and judgmental way. This book is filled with negativity from front cover to back. He even refers to riders who ride the way he does as “Unracers” as if there are two ways to ride, like a racer or like him.
The book itself is broken into 8 parts
Part 1 - Riding i.e. You are riding wrong
Part 2 - Suiting up i.e. You are Dressing Wrong
Part 3 - Safety i.e. Helmets are bad
Part 4 - Health and Fittness i.e. Your bike makes you fat
Part 5 - Accesories i.e. You bought the wrong stuff
Part 6 - Upkeep i.e. You are fixing it wrong
Part 7 - Technicalities i.e. Look how smart I am
Part 8 - Velosphy i.e. Think Like I do.
As I reached the end of the book I was ready to pan the book just as Mr. Petersen talked about in the introduction. There are somethings in the book I agreed with. For the most part none of us are racers. I am not a racer, but I refuse to be defined by what I don’t do. There are lots of things I don’t do. I eat meat but does that make me an “UnVegetarian” The whole idea that you have to be either one or another is ludicrous. The one section of the book I can say that I nejoyed the most was Part 8 Velosphy, it was in this section, 177 pages into the book, that I found something positive in this book. This is the part of the book where he talks about getting your kids to ride with you, doing charity rides the right way and his dislike of Critical mass. Something I have disliked since I first encountered one.
I still find this book difficult to recommend and I would NOT recommend this book to a new rider. Not because I disagree with him on this point or that. I don’t like the book because of the negativity that runs throughout this book. If Mr Petersen would have spent more time writing about the things he loves and is passionate about and less time talking about those things he dislikes, then I feel that this book would of been life-changing. As it is I can only give this book two and half gears out of five. Sorry Grant, you’ll just have to pedal faster.