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Book Review: Holy Spokes: a biking bible for everyone by Rob Coppolillo (with a TPiB)

It’s January, which means your TV is being flooded with weight loss ads and 1 out of every 1 person it seems is making a resolution to lose weight and get in shape.  Cycling is a great way to do that.

When The Mr. and I were dating, we spent a lot of time – at times almost daily – cycling through the canyons in California.  This was the first I had ever done it, and yes, I did it for a guy, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and living in the suburbs now, I miss those adventures.  I started out knowing exactly nothing about buying my first bike, what the various gears meant, and how to be safe.  Oh how I could have used this book!

Holy Spokes is divided into several informational chapters that include a brief history of the bike, finding your book type, and more.  There is some discussion about the environmental impact (or lack there of) in using a bike as opposed to a car and a look at using your bike for work.  Think Premium Rush starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or if you are older, Quicksilver starring Kevin Bacon).  Also – movie tie-in!

Some interesting facts learned from Holy Spokes:

  • Many cyclists shave their bodies while racing, not for aerodynamics, but to aid in first aid and recovery in the event of a crash.
  • Crumpling your race number before pinning it on your jersey will help prevent it from keeping air and becoming a drag, literally.
  • There are bikes that fold to make commuting easier.

The one draw back to Holy Spokes: Lance Armstrong.  Holy Spokes was published just a few days ago,
right as the proverbial doodoo was hitting the fan for Armstrong.  He is, of course, mentioned in the book.  There is a brief mention of his wins with a disclaimer regarding “Lance Armstrong’s Dark Cloud”, which as we all know finally burst.  However, this is by no means the focus of the book and does not negate the depth and coverage of the information presented on the topic of biking.

Holy Spokes looks at all types of bikes, and all types of biking, from those who just want a leisure ride to those who want to cycle competitively.  What type of book you need depends on what you want to do with it.  Picture from Zestbooks.net

Holy Spokes is published by Zest Books (I am a fan), which means that it is presented in a way that is quick and easy to read while being engaging and informative.  There are information inserts, some short stories and interviews, and a few line illustrations that help you define and label various parts of a bike.  High recommended.

TPiB

True story: I once had a bike festival at a library I worked at. It took a ton of work by a great committee, but we put it together.  A team of BMX stunt riders came and did a show in the section of the parking lot that we had closed.  The local police can come out and talk bike safety.  Do a giveaway for some bike helmets and, if you can get a generous donation or a grant, a bike.

You can do bike related crafts from the very simple to the more sophisticated, like using fabric markers to design your own bandanas.  For the simple, make a huge bicycle mural out of butcher paper on the wall and have tweens and teens decorate the bike.  Thinks stinkers!  For younger kids, it could even become a fun bike version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey: Put the Sticker on the Bike.  You can even use discarded magazines (Eco Craft Alert!) to make your own stickers as part of your event.  Information here.

If you have a big enough space you can set up a fun tricycle obstacle course and have teens race to see who can complete the course first without banging their knees completely off.

We have a local pizza vendor set up in the parking lot and they were selling slices and cans of pop.  It really was a fun little parking lot festival with a few indoor activities designed to move people into the library to browse so they didn’t just watch the BMX team in the parking lot and leave without thinking about using the library.

If you want to make a health festival out of it you can have a martial arts demonstration, someone talking nutrition, etc.

Holy Spokes, a Biking Bible for Everyone by Rob Coppolillo.  Published January 22, 2013 by Zest Books. ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-1-936976-23-2.

P.S. I looked, but I didn’t have any pictures of The Mr. and I during our biking phase.  It’s hard to ride and snap pics.  Plus, it was long enough ago that we didn’t have smart phones.  Yes, I realize I just aged myself.