This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just Ride by Grant Peterson

    I had the chance the other day to read "Just Ride" by Grant Peterson and really enjoyed it.  Most people in the cycling world have heard of Grant Peterson and refer to him as: insane, genius, retro-grouch, stupid, pig-headed, brilliant, iconoclastic and eccentric, but very rarely sensible.  For those who don't know, Grant Peterson was the designer for Bridgestone bicycles before they pulled out of the US market, after which he started Rivendell Bicycles and continued designing and building bikes the way he wanted.
Bikes like the Hunqapillar I own.
  His book is as readable as his bikes are comfortable.
 It looks like this when taken off the shelf at the Kindle store  
and I assume the print version looks the same.
There is no self-conscious attempt in his writing to be witty, entertaining or even to enlighten.
The book comes across as a very simple, readable, "how to enjoy cycling" manual for the new rider and those who ride but may be feeling the fun is gone out.
He makes a point to cover a wide range of topics
with which most Rivendell owners or fans are already familiar.
The book is a compilation of things most have seen on his blog, website and the Rivendell Reader.  The prose is light, simple, active and pleasant.  It reads really quickly and, for those familiar with his rants on the internet, it provides a well-organized compilation of the information and opinion seen over the years.  It's especially good reading for people new to the sport and he provides diagrams and graphics to make his points.
I think the book is outstanding for any new cyclist trying to get a grip on the sport, and I also believe most club cyclists I know would benefit from reading it.  I agree with his focus that people would be happier by slowing down, riding more comfortable bikes and ignoring the faux competition and latest greatest innovations which so frequently dominate the American market.
Now that I have said that, I really think he spends way too much of his energy bashing and blaming the racing industry and manufacturers for affecting the purchase of  uncomfortable, expensive bikes better left to the professionals.   Americans lionize and idolize athletes to the extreme, actually the racing community has revived cycling in this country.   The popularity of the grand tours on television has inspired people to get off the couch and get out and try something, unlike baseball and football which inspire people to drink and party more often.  How is the shop owner going to sell a Surly Cross Check for commuting to a guy who insists he wants a BMC to crown his BMW?  Maybe the bike shops should push
this new design as the commuter of choice

 they could even mount their Trek Madonne on top while pedaling to everybody's envy.
As I said, I think the book is a really good "how-to-enjoy-your-bike-riding" handbook and nearly every club rider I know will benefit from reading it.  Compared to the Bike Snob's "Enlightened Cyclist," it's better organized, more straightforward and has less exuberantly irrelevant humor.
For those who are familiar with Grant Peterson and his Velosophy, there are a couple small surprises.
One: He admits he wears a helmet,
but only at night.
Apparently, in his world the asphalt and concrete soften in the sunlight.
 Second: he coined the phrase "Q-factor," a term used almost universally to describe the width between the pedal ends of the crank arms.  This can be very important to  long term knee comfort and you will find the "Q-factor" listed on nearly every crankset specs.  In the book he reveals the secret of the "Q."
I'm not telling, but remember, this man named his bike shop after the most valuable and visible literary franchise in history and names bikes after obscure French social philosophers (Y'ves Gomez) and mailbox signs (Hunqapillar), don't be surprised!

Legal disclaimer:  I'm writing this while sitting atop a pile of components anxiously awaiting delivery of my second Rivendell frame.

No comments:

Post a Comment