Suburban Assault

Book Report: The Cyclist’s Manifesto by Robert Hurst

with 4 comments

I’m not really qualified to do a proper book review. Heck, I hardly have time in my life to read, let alone write about reading. All I can offer up is one man’s perspective on books that end up in my messenger bag.

Well, I managed to find some time to finally finish what I found to be a very interesting book, The Cyclist’s Manifesto by Robert Hurst. I first heard about the book on Cyclelicious, added it to my neglected Amazon wish list and it eventually made it’s way to my mailbox.

The first part of the book is a detailed, incredibly interesting chronicle of bike history. I never realized how big a role bicycles have had in our culture and how they’ve ultimately influenced the world of modern transportation. I also found his section on Marshall “Major” Taylor, one of bike history’s first racing heros who’s story had gone mostly unheard, a fascinating read.

For me, the Manifest got really interesting right around chapter 6, Challenges of the Wheel. Here, Hurst writes about his point-of-view on bicycle advocacy – a position that I completely related to. Without getting into too much detail, I have to say, I really like how objective he is towards all perspectives of advocacy. He points out their positive and the negative aspects as well as the hurtles we must overcome to becoming a stronger bike culture. I actually broke out the highlighter to mark some lines for future reference.

From there, the following chapters talk about our gluttonous dependency on fossil fuels. Some of the facts and statistics are a frightening slap in the face – especially seeing what we’ve done in just the past 100 years and how much worse it’s going to get. He really puts things into perspective.

By the end of this well-written book, I found myself more informed about bicycle history, bicycle advocacy and the sad state our oil consumption. While upset with the abuse of our natural resources, I’m inspired to get more people, including myself, to ride their bikes more.

Written by dickdavid

August 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this review and for posting about the book. Part of my research (for my work) focuses on the role of cycling in the 19th century and how it affected women. Since you mentioned that a part of this focuses on the history of the bicycle, I think this will be interesting for me to look into. Does the author address gender and cycling at all? I’m adding it to my library list, thanks!


    August 19, 2010 at 9:21 am

    • Yes, there were a few mentions of women in bike history. Unfortunately, I’m drawing a blank with the specifics.


      August 19, 2010 at 9:40 am

      • Thanks, I’ll just get a copy myself!


        August 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm

  2. […] avoided their reviews. I wanted to form my own opinion about it. Well, several months and one alternate book interruption later, I finally […]

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