Book Report: Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne
I picked up my copy of this book almost a year ago. As I’ve stated before, I never have time to read anymore – but I was really interested in this book. I’m a huge fan of David Byrne and the Talking Heads, and a huge fan of bikes.
Folks were already getting early releases of the book, and I purposely avoided their reviews. I wanted to form my own opinion about it. Well, several months and one alternate book interruption later, I finally finished.
My overall opinion of the book is that it’s a really good read. I really like David’s perspective on cycling, culture, humanity and the urban landscape. The first chapter, American Cities, is an insightful look into the problems some cities face with failed industry, suburban sprawl and cultural decay. It makes you take a second look at your own surroundings and appreciate the efforts made to keep the infrastructure in balance.
The book rolls into a series of descriptive stories about some of the cities that he’s visited over the years. Being an avid cyclist, he brings a folding bike with him on his travels – which he uses to explore each destination. He’s really inspired me to get a folding bike and do some exploring of my own.
If you are expecting a book full of bike love and advocacy ramblings, you might find yourself at a loss. Most of the stories are about random thoughts and discoveries – all seem to feel reflective of journal-like blog entries – hence the second half of the book’s name.
David does write more about bikes in his chapter about his hometown of New York City. There, the Epilogue and the Appendix you’ll find bulk of any substantial bike perspective. A few other bike related bonuses are the little bike drawings at the bottom of each page that animate when you flip through them. Cute. You also get treated to some really cool New York City Bike Rack Designs by David.
Overall, this has become one of my favorite books that I will recommend to any of my Talking Head, bike friends.