Over the past three or four years, there have been a number of “practical cycling” books to hit the market — following along with the resurgence in the U.S. of the bicycle as a sensible form of daily transportation. We’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to review a number of them right here on Bikecommuters.com.
If you’ve read any of them, you’ll notice that many of them tend to cover the same ground, for the same audience, with the same (or very similar) message. That’s fine, of course…most of them are worth the read even for the most jaded cyclist. But how can a book really stand out when there are so many other similar titles on bookshelves? It’s a quandary that even I have struggled with: I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a cycling book for a bunch of years…but how would mine be substantially different from those that came before me?
Holy Spokes: A Biking Bible for Everyone by Rob Coppolillo (San Francisco, CA: Zest Books, 2013) seems to have cracked that riddle handily: write a book aimed at TEENS! After all, teens and young adults are our next generation of cyclists…why not tailor a book to them and help develop interest in this very practical and wonderful mode of transportation that is also a pretty great recreational vehicle?
Holy Spokes covers a lot of the same territory as many other books on the market, but it is truly aimed at a younger, less-experienced audience. Coppolillo goes to great lengths to simplify the information presented for teen readers…at no point does the book get bogged down in technical jargon.
The author covers basic details on the full range of cycling experiences, from choosing that first bike to putting on a race number to bicycle touring and at-home maintenance. It’s all here, and it’s all written in a very accessible way. Throughout the book, Coppolillo injects some personal stories of his own cycling experiences as both a rider and writer (having written for VeloNews and other publications).
Coppolillo thoughtfully includes a handy resource guide at the end of the book. Sadly, our humble site was once again overlooked, but there are a number of other good ones listed. There’s even a pretty solid book list to encourage readers to track down more information on their new pastime.
The book is light-hearted and enjoyable to read. The more seasoned cyclists among us aren’t going to come away with any revelations from having read Holy Spokes, but hey: it’s not for us after all. If you have a young friend or family member, though, who has expressed an interest in two wheels, do them a huge favor and put a copy of this book into their hands. This might be just the information they need to start off on a lifetime of cycling love!