Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Review of 'Bike Snob Abroad: Strange Customs, Incredible Fiets, and the Quest for Cycling Paradise' by Eben Weiss (BikeSnobNYC)

"In his new book, BikeSnobNYC reaches the final frontier of cycling: riding with the family.  As his choice to take to the road with his toddler son in tow is met with bewilderment and disapproval from onlookers and the occasional motorist, he ponders why it's such a taboo.  And what does it really mean to be a bike-friendly country?  Seeking answers, he heads from the U.S. to London, Amsterdam, Gothenburg, and San Vito dei Normanni in search of an alternative.  With humorous anecdotes and his trademark biting wit and wisdom, BikeSnobNYC takes us on his most personal narrative journey yet, and ultimately shines a light on the growing pains that exist in any culture that asks smartphone-obsessed, text-happy pedestrians, the two-wheeled, and the four-wheeled to share the road."

I checked this book out a few times, the first time being a little bit after I returned home from living in the Netherlands.  So I was on this kick where biking was super important for me and it's how I got around before we got a car.  I was also seeking out books about the Netherlands.  While this book isn't 100% about life in the Netherlands, a good chunk of it is.  It also features London and New York City, both of which I have now been to.  So in hindsight, I can appreciate the New York aspects more now.

The author is a blogger who has made a living off of talking about bikes and what life is like biking in different areas.  This is part of a series of books, but this one focuses on biking in different places and how different cities accommodate and even encourage biking every day.  Places like Amsterdam and Gothenburg have really amazing infrastructure that makes biking safe for everyone and it was fun to read about places that are not quite there in terms of having all of the necessary infrastructure, but are really making the push to make this happen.  This is how biking cities are born!

For some reason I found the sections talking about biking with a child to be some of the most interesting parts.  When I lived in the Netherlands, this was something I was fascinated by-- the number of human beings you could fit on one biking apparatus.  This picture below is my favorite:

The picture above features a bakfiets (BACH-feets) where you put your children in this wheelbarrow contraption and if you're feeling generous, you can put the rain top over it so they don't have to hang out in a mobile swimming pool in the rain.  There's also a place on the back to put another child.  There are so many ways to cart your children around on a bike!  But in a lot of places where biking isn't as prevalent, many people are concerned about safety.  But these are all perfectly safe.  These things are big and heavy, it takes a little bit to get them going, especially with children in them, so you tend to take a little more time to calculate what you want to do as opposed to if you were biking by your lonesome.

Anyway!  This is a wonderful and incredibly informative read.  If you're even remotely interested in bikes, this is the read for you!

I give 'Bike Snob Abroad':

Thanks for Reading!


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