Cycling books told through images win a distinguished place in my library. Intertwined with depictions of history and in-depth analysis of culture or bikes in themselves, they provide an aesthetic understanding that surpasses pure technical literacy. After all, aside from performance, cycling has much to do with design. The three books we have here promise to enrich the rider and sustain, bring about, or enhance conversations between fellow cyclists (or friends in general).
“Argyle Armada: Behind the Scenes of the Pro Cycling Life” by Mark Johnson was just released by VeloPress. In this book, writer and photographer Mark Johnson documents his time with the Garmin-Cervélo team for the 2011 season. He accompanies them through the winter in Girona, Spain, to the Tour de France, and onward to the Vuelta a España. A happy medium between writing and photography, this should provide an insightful journey into how it feels to be a Garmin-Cervélo athlete. Retails at $39.95 for the 225 page hardcover.
Two more tomes after the break…
|“The Custom Road Bike” by Guy Andrews gives an in-depth look at the creation of a bicycle. Starting with a wholesome description of different types – Road, TT, Track, and Cross- “The Custom Road Bike” rides the rabbit hole into the mind of the builder.
In 9 chapters and 224 pages, Guy Andrews shows through a combination of images and words the intricate details of the frame. He then analyzes steering, wheels, saddles, controls and contact points. After this, he puts the finishing touches on with gears and drive trains. Featuring interviews with bike designers including Independent Fabrication, provided within are a few trade secrets on how to make the bike ride like a dream. Whether purchasing this book for a new cyclist, or intrigued yourself, “The Custom Road Bike” will supply a cover-to-cover all-inclusive visual approach to building a custom bicycle.
My knowledge is not as prominent as it should be on the history of BMX. With BMX ordained an Olympic sport in 2008, it’s now time to take a step back and look at its origins. “Rad Rides: The Best BMX of All Time” by Gavin Lucas & Stuart Robinson takes BMX from its start in the 70’s to its place now. Culture is a capstone to this book, as well as photography of an array of BMX rigs.
The rise of BMX is documented decade by decade. With interviews of collectors and specs of the bikes photographed, this provides the BMX-feel for both the dedicated rider and the reader with no previous knowledge of the sport. I’d imagine this would be a great table-top piece, with many drool-worthy bikes that have been locked away and kept off limits to the road and the rail.
I’ve had nothing but good experience from Laurence King, the publisher of the previous two books, Custom Road Bike and Rad Rides. Being a fixie nut, I purchased “Fixed: Global Fixed-Gear Bike Culture” from them a while back – great photography, great design, it’s an A+ conversation starter.