Suburban Assault

Book Report: Smart Cycling By League Of American Bicyclists

with 6 comments

Smart Cycling - League of American Bicyclists

As I ride deeper into the world of bicycling, I’ve made it my goal to become a much better cyclist. Along with wanting to build my skills and confidence on the road, I felt the need to improve my knowledge of bicycling as well. In doing so, I decided to take a break from the bicycle love and advocacy books and spend some time with a good A-to-Z book about basic cycling.

Being a member of the League of American Bicyclists, I chose to start with their book: Smart Cycling, edited by League President Andy Clarke. Admittedly, my expectation for this book was pretty low. It’s geared with information needed “to teach new and returning cyclists to take the road safely and confidently.” I was certain that it would be filled with lots of information that I already knew – stuff like, here are they types of biking, this is how you pick a bike, this is how you ride a bike, this is how you signal and this is what you wear while riding. Even with my limited experience with utility cycling, I thought this was going to be the big book of bicycle-duh. To a small degree, I was right.

However, this book also made me realize that there was plenty of stuff that I don’t know. As I was reading through Smart Cycling, I discovered that there were holes and gaps in the limited bicycle knowledge that I’ve picked up over the years. I’ve already started applying some of these new principles and techniques on my current rides.

I’ve gained a lot of respect for the folks who compiled and organized this thorough and informative book. I’d even call it the General Owner’s Manual to Bicycling. It’s filled with a wide range of information that you may already know about cycling – as well as some stuff you might not.

The book also comes with a DVD. It’s contents pair up nicely with the bike handling skills and avoidance maneuvers sections of the book. The production value is similar to that of a driver’s education video, but it’s still pretty informative.

Now, if you are looking for a more detailed information on road skills or street riding savvy, you may need to look somewhere else. Even though Smart Cycling has dedicated chapters on Rules of the Road, Bicycle Handling Skills and Avoidance Maneuvers, I felt they weren’t detailed enough to replace a good training class or the knowledge of a good instructor. Nothing beats hands-on experience.

Overall, I would recommend picking up a copy of Smart Cycling and read through it. The chapters are short, self-contained and well written – giving readers the chance to take in small pockets of knowledges at a time. This is perfect for somebody like me who doesn’t get much time for reading. It’s also a great reference source for when my non-biking friends ask me for advice on cycling.

Written by dickdavid

November 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Without revealing the whole thing, can you share a little bit about what you learned that was new to you?


    November 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    • I started to pull together some info on that, but it started to run on a whole other tangent. I plan on doing future posts, breaking down some of the things I’ve learned – including the importance of proper cadence, how to stretch before a ride and techniques for being predictable on the road.


      November 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  2. Cool, I’ll look forward to reading that. I think there’s a fine line often between “bicycle duh”, as you said, and info that’s not readily available online / best learned from another person. Personally, this is why I have never taken one of those cycling courses, because it seems to cover a lot of ground that I already know or can easily learn for free. But I could be wrong about that. Just don’t really want to drop $75+ to discover that a class has no new information for me.


    November 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    • I hear what you are saying about taking the course. However, I’m thinking about biting the bullet and doing the next one. One of my goals is to get certified to teach bicycle safety to kids and possibly offer a free class in Richardson.

      I guess to to that, I’ve got to get started somewhere. Knowing it, and being certified become two different things at this point.

      BTW, Since you’re local, you’re more than welcome to borrow my copy of this book.


      November 28, 2011 at 6:09 am

      • Very true, to teach you ought to be certified. I’ll take you up on that offer to borrow the book!


        November 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm

  3. Very interesting comment thread!

    Steve A

    November 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm

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