Reading books v TV

For several years I have preferring to read books than watch the endless rubbish on ‘brainwashing British telly’ ie mainstream stuff and endless gameshows.  And with the books, you don’t get all the wretched adverts. Telly is a turn off.

I am often to be found by a bench with my bike or in a cafe with book or computer to catch up on blogs and FB… and any useful political or bicycle advocacy stuff.

Reading a book is a benefit of cycling on your own. When you are with other people, it is regarded as ‘anti-social’ to read a book or boring. Far from it.. quite the contrary in fact!


Your Recommendations

If you have any suggestions of good books for cyclists, please write them here. I will have to work my way through them! I can’t promise I will read them all (as I read loads of other types of books) but it will be helpful to other readers.

Personally I tend to go for ‘funny cycling books’, ‘history’ and  biographies.  I also like bike poetry and bike art.

If you are an author, please tell us about your book too.

This is the 2nd Edition.

The magazine is £5.99 and I don’t know how many times it comes out. Maybe it is an occasional one off, and just an update of editions.

Is it female friendly? Yes, there are ads with women, and women’s commuting bikes and nice dutch bikes. It really makes a nice change and doesn’t patronise them unless of course, they are low income:-)

Information: Has good info on city road skills, fixing your bike, health

Interviews: Good, and with fellow commuters.

Info on buying  bikes: Yes, good

Silly ads: Bspoke -selling black jackets and a commuter cycling all in black, which is ludicrous and out-of-touch with the SMIDSY factor.

Ads: Not swamped with ads thank god!

Ethnic Minorities: None again odd that it is a London magazine too. They must be censored at all costs! Ridiculous.

Friendly: Definitely

Letters Page: None, could have done with that. But, if it is a one off type mag I suppose they don’t need it

There was a helmet article. There were 16 adult helmets both men’s and women’s but no European/Skate/Commute helmets whatsoever (I have just bought one of them. It makes me feel more like a commuting cyclist not a racing one) and I think they look less dated.

There was a good article on folding bikes.. alway nice to drool over!

Bikes and locks articles: Both good, and reasonable value, not silly prices.Fair comments and doesn’t have the sell,sell,sell factor you see so often in irritating bike mags.

Catered for : Middle income white cyclist – same old guff really! There was a patronising article saying the lower income people aren’t educated about health.

Surprising post: Even pregnant cyclists were included, so Sam Cam, ride a bike and stop taking a taxi. Apparently cycling is good for mothers-to-be.

Good article on cycling away stress.

Would I buy it again: Yes, but have to save up!

Would I chuck or keep: KEEP!

I found this book in a charity shop. It was a lucky find.  It has been ‘on my list’ for  a while.

This guy write cycling articles for the Guardian so it is much more gritty than many other cycling writers. He writes about real cycling in London amongst other things.

I have started reading it and I will review when I have read it.

This is a fairly new magazine and I have only just noticed it in my local shop. Normally we have that Cycling Weekly ‘time-trial’ male centric drivel.

As soon as I saw it, I thought it was going to be like Cycle Sport, particularly with the time-trial type cyclist on the front cover. It even sounds like a OAP cycling magazine.  Not more cr*p I thought? Surely even blokes want a change. IPC mags all look the same. And of course it has ‘a  connection with Cycling Weekly’ which I am unhappy about, it is not independent enough from them. I would it they were a completely different owned magazine. I would trust it more.

Immediately I thought it was another bike catalogue with the typical Specialised bikes and Bike Parts on the first dreary two pages – and the third and fourth. Yes, the bloody first four pages devoted to ads!Euuugh! What a turn off.

The only good thing about some of these pages was that there was a woman’s bike on one page but was very pricey at £2999 -blimey where are we gonna get that dosh working at a check out counter or if we are volunteer workers? Maybe inpoverished women should work at a Tesco bike shop and get a discount, although 10% wouldn’t exactly make much of a dent.

So the first few pages looked unfriendly, uninviting, cold and hostile. It got a bit better towards the middle and then it went then it went really bad again.

The price of the mag was steep at £3.99.

There was a letters page ‘Cafe Chat’ that looked friendly although it had a photo of a man having a coffee. (Why not a man and a woman?)

One of the first letters was written by a woman who complained that the first issue of Cycling World was Male Centric. Haha! I am amazed that they printed that. I bet that is just there waiting for flak from other male readers.

The other letters were mainly rabbiting on about how wonderful Cycling Active is -ie lots of letters about how  good it is for novices – how do we know that they didn’t write those letters?  There were no addresses. There wasn’t one single letter moaning about motorists and the state of the roads. Not one. How weird is that? Even Tory cyclists go on about potholes.

Out of eight letters, only one was written by a  woman cyclist. We were probably ‘a bit of a token’.

On the bright side,they had a nice photo of a red Pashley bike but again it was written like a Pashley press release, there were no photos of people with their beloved Pashleys ranting on about them. Just irritating and unimaginative ‘show room type’photos. For £3.99 they could have done some decent photography with some people on on it. These things seem to be surrealy pedalling on their own behind an unnatural white screen.

Then here was an’fashionable’ article about urban cycling wear. Fine you may think, but the clothes they were black.   And the press complained that Jason McIntyre was hard to see because he was wearing dark clothes. What is the point of wearing these without any Hi Viz?  Oh they are desperate to sell this stuff to some poor mug? Thought that was incredibly irresponsible. especially in view of SMIDSY motorists.   Of course, no readers were allowed to make comments in the magazine about this.  It was another ‘recycled advert’!

Ironically, they had an article about ‘The Clothes of Tomorrow’, so the silly black urban cycling wear must ‘be for today’.  This article was is about reflective garments and how things are improving. It was quite interesting (apart from a bit of ‘ads’ thrown in).

Then it had an article on Page 28 about about ‘the Stupid Highways’ with Boris going on ‘about this really is the year of cycling for London’. It was pure Mayor London propaganda. Nothing new in it and nothing negative.  Again, no chance of commenting unless we fight for a place on the letters page, which course, will be harder for women.

Then there were pages of bikes being tried out with 4 out of 4 male experts talking about them.   No women – we want to know how heavy these bikes are etc. We have to cart these wretched things up and downstairs  all the time with no help. Again the price range was in the region of £1000 (the media is determined to churn out even more white middle class cyclists.) – oh this reminds me of Cycling Weekly.

Then pages of watercarriers.  I couldn’t find any new Lidl products.

Then there about 10 or so more pages of bikes without people on  a dreary white back ground.  This time at a cheaper price in the region of £400. All male bikes.

Then there were tool pages of Multi-tools – in the region of £27. Many of us a know we can get a pocket multi-tool at some good quality pound shops.  The cheapest one was £11.69 in this magazine, maybe ok for a collector. This magazine knows how to rip you off.

They had a Fitness Page with experts – oh yes, one woman finally! It had a fairly good article about a 20 stone man trying to keep fit doing sportives and an article about his wife (apparently she wasn’t doing any sportives but was more interested in ‘family bike rides’ .

There was a really patronising article about ‘a family woman cyclist and her diet. I couldn’t read this at all apart from the bit about porridge. It went downhill from there.  I preferred to read the ‘single man’s diet.  It was ok and quite funny. I like soups and potnoodles too. Women do have them. Sorry to spoil the myth. I lived on them for months when I was in Australia trying to cook things on the cheap. I don’t drink the beer though or drink Red Bull.

Then were were ads about videos.. and all were Male Centric although I do want to watch Hell on Wheels – wonder if it is on Youtube yet?Again, that reminded me of Cycling Weekly.

There was a good article ‘Cycling in the City’  which some handsignals I didn’t know about. Some of these handsignals make it look like they are in a drug smuggling ring. Do they really use those handsignals? Maybe in Peckham or Fulham.

There was also a good article about the Kent Velogirls, a group I nearly joined until I realised that they didn’t have much of a campaigning programme and I thought the kit expensive. Also the rides were rather on the dull side, just cycling a to b.

There wasn’t a single person who was not white in the magazine either.

WOULD I BUY IT AGAIN? Yes, if they had some good free gifts. The magazine did come with a couple of Flash Lights – red and white but not if they had a free faddy health bar. If they had more funny articles – perhaps and more comments from readers. I don’t like serious cycling magazines.



MALE CENTRIC – 6/10 (they can get better)

FUNNY BITS – About 4 pages


BORING FACTOR: 7/10 – too gadgety still, nothing on about internet, twitter,  book reviews, women’ cycling movies ie commuting, experiences

COMMUTING – just a handful of pages – mostly devoted to long distance cyclists

LEGAL STUFF – no resident cycling legal expert writing though there was a tiny bit about how cyclists should ride in single file on narrow or busy roads ie stuff about -not being naughty cyclists – absolutely nothing about how cr*p law affects us poor vulnerable mortals from mad motorists. Naturally they had to talk about cyclists going through red traffic lights but not about motorists doing the same thing.

BIZARRE Factor – the ads page at the  back at a whole page dedicated to a sheep. It must be Easter.

Tory Factor: 9/1

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Cycling Weekly in Disguise

My Wish List

1) Bike to Work by Carlton Reid

2) The Man who cycled the World by Mark Beaumont

This is about a story of a cyclist  and skier training for the Olympics who was run over by a truck and survived:-

“On an afternoon bike ride in the Blue Mountains Janine Shepherd’s life was altered irrevocably. When the champion cross country skier in training for the Winter Olympics was hit by a truck, doctors warned her parents that she was not expected to survive her ordeal. The bleeding alone was enough to kill her. Even if by some small chance she recovered, she would never walk again. ‘The ultimate in dedication, achievement, determination, accomplishment…

A celebration of life’ : Sara Henderson ‘If gold medals were awarded for sheer guts and determination, Janine Shepherd would have a truckload’: Herald Sun ‘A story of remarkable strength, endurance, discipline and inspiration’: Gold Coast Bulletin”

Though I haven’t got this book yet (as so many on the go), it look really good. Her website is on my links.