Ever since a few bad experiences as a kid involving me, poor balance and the pavement, I haven’t been the biggest fan of bicycles. But after picking up The Girl’s Guide to Life on Two Wheels by Cathy Bussey, I kind of want to climb back in the saddle.
This is coming from a girl who has cursed bikers from inside my car and while strolling around on my non-wheeled feet. From a girl who has grumped past bikes crowding up apartment building hallways while she tries to squish by with arms full of groceries. From a girl who has laughed at men and women in their skin-tight jerseys and padded-butt shorts peddling down the Pacific Coast Highway on Sunday mornings. From a girl who now has to reexamine her problem with bikes.
Cathy’s book is a treasure trove of information for the budding lady cyclist, including chats with competitive cyclists and every day gals about why they bike, advice on how to choose a bike, fashion and food tips for your two-wheel lifestyle, bike mechanics and maintenance… and more!
As a novice, I appreciated the parts of the book involving exercises for getting comfortable on a bike, and as a human I loved the paragraph pointing out the awful idea that is the cycling underwear choice of a thong. I’ve seen it and, as Valerie Cherish would say, I don’t want to see that!
There’s even a section that seems directly aimed at people like me, where common concerns and complaints are assuaged. Any excuse I could come up with is addressed, from the perceived versus actual danger in cycling to your butt hurting. Once I made my way past my excuses for not wanting to bike, I found myself drawn to the chapter on how to choose the best type of bike for my lifestyle, location and budget.
I really like that while the book aims itself at the ‘chic cyclist’, it’s littered with practical tips and even has a chapter devoted to bike maintenance and how to do basic repairs, complete with illustrations.
Some sections are a bit silly, like how to dress by season, which seem like common sense. But I guess it does make the book comprehensive. There is also a section about stretching that seems basic, but actually includes some good illustrated examples and is not something that I hear cycling friends discuss.
Chapter 5 is all about looking good while cycling and actually mentions specific brands with a little blurb about each brand, which is nice and gives you a great place to jump off in your search for gear that won’t make you look like a lycra-cocooned pod person.
All this is presented alongside beautiful and fashionable photos, creating a palatable volume perfect for not only learning about a new lifestyle, but also for displaying your passion for cycling on a coffee table or bookshelf.
If you’re a cycling expert, this book might be a bit light and fluffy for your taste, but as a gal who’s somewhat of a stranger to the world of wheels, I found it to be a stylish and satisfying introductory guide to set me on the bike path of life.
The Girl’s Guide to Life on Two Wheels by Cathy Bussey is published by Cico Books at £14.99/$21.95 and is available from www.cicobooks.com