For one of the best A to Z cycling resources, pick up the Complete Bike Book by Chris Sidwells. It’s packed with need-to-know information on everything about the sport of cycling (on and off-road). Like many other how-to books published by Dorling Kindersley, the Complete Bike Book includes detailed photographs that clearly illustrate the text. Every page has pictures to guide the reader through the world of cycling — showing you how to maintain and repair your bike, illustrating important riding skills like pedaling, cornering, climbing, and descending (including off-road cycling skills), demonstrating the use of a variety of bike equipment and accessories, and showing how to safely share the roads.
The Complete Bike Book is particularly helpful for beginner cyclists but is also crammed full of information for intermediate riders too. Beginning with a brief history of the bicycle, starting in 1817 with a wooden-framed bicycle called the “draisine” named after Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn who patented the design, the introduction includes a timeline that shows how cycling has evolved into the sport it is today.
For the novice, there’s a chapter that tells you how to get started: what to look for when buying a bike, what equipment and accessories you’ll need, the basics of riding a bike and the sportswear you’ll need to stay comfortable through the cycling seasons.
The in-depth chapter on improving cycling skills, begins with clear instructions on how to set up your bike for the most efficient riding position, including photographs of the correct set-up, and shows how to make adjustments to your bike for the best fit. This chapter also includes detailed instructions on how to improve your cycling technique (for on and off-road cycling) including: braking and changing gears, hairpin cornering, climbing, descending, pedaling efficiently, and riding on rough surfaces. Off-road topics include: improving your balance, open cornering, riding single track, bunny-hopping, trail jumping and adverse trail surfaces.
The Complete Bike Book has chapters on Health and Fitness (which includes training schedules and nutritional advice), Competitive Cycling (different kinds of racing and how to get started), and Bicycle Anatomy. For riders who want the additional challenge of fixing their own bikes, there are over 40 pages dedicated to bike maintenance. There’s even a glossary of cycling terms to help you converse intelligently about your bike with your cycling buddies. All this information is packaged in an attractive 240 page paperback edition that sells for $22.95.
© 2008 Laurel-Lea Shannon