The Art of Cycling: A Guide to Bicycling in 21st Century Americaby Robert Hurst
The bicyclist is under attack from all directions - the streets are ragged, the air is poison, and the drivers are angry. As if that weren't enough, the American cyclist must carry the weight of history along on every ride. After a brief heyday at the turn of the twentieth century, American cyclists fell out of the social consciousness, becoming an afterthought when our cities were planned and built. Cyclists today are left to navigate, like rats in a sewer, through a hard and unsympathetic world that was not made for them. Yet, with the proper attitude and a bit of knowledge, cyclists can thrive in this hostile environment.Covering much more than just riding a bike in traffic, author Robert Hurst paints, in uncanny detail, the challenges, strategies, and art of riding a bike on America's modern streets and roadways. The Art of Cycling dismantles the bicycling experience and slides it under the microscope, piece by piece. Its primary concern is safety, but this book goes well beyond the usual tips and how-to, diving in to the realms of history, psychology, sociology, and economics.
- Falcon Guides
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Second Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.88(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.63(d)
Read an Excerpt
¿Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it¿¿Even after a successful tuck-and-roll maneuver, the cyclist is left with a discomforting sense of the terrible force involved with hitting the street. The pavement is not soft. You never say to yourself, man, I want to try that again¿¿The Door Zone is a brutal, sadistic taskmaster. The Door Zone is a total beeyotch.Getting "doored," as it is universally known in the language of cycling, is a violent, completely unpleasant experience. Unfortunately, it's also a rite of passage for urban cyclists, who remain difficult to convince about the treacherous nature of the DZ until they experience it for themselves. Then they never want to go near a door again¿¿Theoretically, the most effective stopping force that can be applied to a wheel comes at the moment just before the wheel locks up. This leads many to believe that the shortest stops will involve no skidding. On a bicycle, it doesn't work that way. The rear wheel skid is almost automatic when the front brake is applied correctly. Trying not to skid the rear wheel in a maximum stop is like trying to keep the eyes open during a sneeze¿¿The cyclists' struggle for visibility has been a noble and long-fought effort. Problem is, it hasn't worked. No matter how much tinsel and ornamentation we attach to ourselves, no matter how many flashing beacons we strap to our backsides, no matter what previously unseen degree of neon insanity we manage to surpass in our jersey selections, some drivers continue to look right through us, as if we were-that's right--invisible. The dream of visibility is a sweet siren's song that will, eventually, lead us into the rocks. Not that visibility is a bad thing, mind you, we all love visibility. It's just that an attitude of faith in visibility puts the rider on a slippery slope on the way to complacency, which is a very dangerous place for an urban cyclist to hang out¿¿Consider the condition of some of the drivers locked in the typical urban traffic grid. They're trying to make a left turn, but all they see is an unbroken line of fast-moving vehicles coming at them, with no end in sight. They're late. They're hopped up on four cups of coffee. fs20They're about to pee their pants. They've been waiting to make that left turn since the Mesozoic Era. Actually, they've been waiting about 30 seconds or so, but to them it seems like a very long time. Like the dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, their eyes are bigger than their brains. Suddenly, a small gap opens in oncoming traffic. They're going to hit that gap if it's the last thing they do. They stomp on the gas and crank the wheel. This is the Gap Effect in action.One big problem, though-there's a cyclist in the gap, puttering along¿
Meet the Author
Robert Hurst is a veteran bicycle messenger and all-around cyclist who has cycled more than 150,000 miles and 15,000 hours in heavy traffic. In this time, he has completed something like 80,000 deliveried. He is also the author of Mountain Biking Colorado's San Juan Mountains and Road Biking Colorado's Front Range (FalconGuides).
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