It's All About the Bike
The Pursuit of Happiness on Two WheelsBook - 2011
"The bicycle is one of mankind's greatest inventions and the most popular form of transport in history. Robert Penn has ridden one most days of his adult life. In his late 20s, he pedaled around the world. Yet, like cyclists everywhere, the utilitarian bikes he currently owns don't even hint at this devotion. Robert needs a new bike, a customized machine that reflects how he feels when he's riding it - like an ordinary man touching the gods. It's All About the Bike is the story of a journey to design andbuild a dream bike. En route, Robert explores the culture, science and history of the bicycle. From Stoke in his native UK, where an artisan hand builds his frame, to California, home of the mountain bike, where Robert tracks down the perfect wheels, viaPortland, Milan, and back to the UK to Coventry (birthplace of the modern bicycle, natch), this is the narrative of our love affair with cycling. It's All About the Bike is, like Penn's dream bike, a tale that's greater than the sum of its parts but those parts are nothing to sneeze at. His components set the standard in reliability, craftsmanship and beauty. A cheerful and charming tour guide, Penn tells how the bicycle has changed the course of human history, from the invention of the "people's nag" to the bike's role in the emancipation of women, and from the engineering marvel of the tangent-spoked wheel to the enduring allure of the Tour de France. It's the story of why we ride, and why this simple machine remains central to life today"--
Robert Penn has saddled up nearly every day of his adult life. In his late twenties, he pedaled 25,000 miles around the world. Today he rides to get to work, sometimes for work, to bathe in air and sunshine, to travel, to go shopping, to stay sane, and to skip bath time with his kids. He's no Sunday pedal pusher. So when the time came for a new bike, he decided to pull out all the stops. He would build his dream bike, the bike he would ride for the rest of his life; a customized machine that reflects the joy of cycling.
It's All About the Bike follows Penn's journey, but this book is more than the story of his hunt for two-wheel perfection. En route, Penn brilliantly explores the culture, science, and history of the bicycle. From artisanal frame shops in the United Kingdom to California, where he finds the perfect wheels, via Portland, Milan, and points in between, his trek follows the serpentine path of our love affair with cycling. It explains why we ride.
It's All About the Bike is, like Penn's dream bike, a tale greater than the sum of its parts. An enthusiastic and charming tour guide, Penn uses each component of the bike as a starting point for illuminating excursions into the rich history of cycling. Just like a long ride on a lovely day, It's All About the Bike is pure joy- enriching, exhilarating, and unforgettable.
Robert Penn has worked as a lawyer, waiter, contractor, DJ, photographer, and journalist-and biked to every single job. He writes for the Financial Times, the Observer, and Condé Nast Traveler, as well as a host of cycling publications. Penn lives in Wales with his wife and three children.
Praise from the UK for It's All About the Bike:
"[A] gem of a book." -Economist
A journalist and lifelong serious cyclist documents his efforts to build a customized dream bike while tracing the cultural and scientific history of the bicycle as reflected by each of the components that went into his bike's construction.
A journalist and lifelong serious cyclist documents his efforts to build a customized dream bike while tracing the cultural and scientific history of the bicycle as reflected by each of the components that went into his bike's construction. 30,000 first printing.
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