First off – NO, we haven’t published a book, this is an entirely independent undertaking by NZ Herald staffer Catherine Smith. Cycling Auckland received a copy for review and you must admit, it’s a catchy title!
Catherine is a long-time rider and just the sort of cyclist we like at CIA. Over the years she’s had children road-racing competitively and a husband charging around Lake Taupo encased in Lycra, but she still appreciates the bike as the simple machine that it is. A machine you can jump on in your everyday clothes and ride up to university, down to the dairy or off to the park with the kids. A pleasurable low-stress device for getting from A to B.
When I first picked the book up I was puzzled by the photograph on the cover. â€œThat bike has no front wheelâ€, I chirped at the kids. Maybe the graphic-designer hasn’t ridden a bike in a while or thought we just wouldn’t notice? We noticed. It also reminded me of a certain Auckland cycling institution.
Inside there were some technical errors that annoyed me too, but they’re probably close enough to being â€œrightâ€ to not really matter in the grand scheme of things. If there’s a sequel in the making a once-over by a cycling authority, a bike-mechanic or such wouldn’t go amiss.
Once I got going I started to enjoy the book more. There’s lots of useful information for those new to cycling or returning after a long absence. Advice on bike-selection, clothing choices, accessories you shouldn’t be without. The often touchy subjects (amongst bike advocates anyway) of helmets, high-vis and Lycra are handled well and there’s some good tips on potential hazards and safe route-planning.Â Many points are illustrated with black & white line-drawings.
Various categories of bicycles are described, riding with infants and young children is covered, key sections of the road-code summarized, indeed most of the stuff you need to know to cycle around Auckland with confidence is in there.
The last 71 pages (approaching half of the book) covers 20 rides in the greater Auckland area, most with accompanying maps. The routes I had ridden were described accurately and are a good starting point for stretching your legs, although I question Ponsonby Road’s â€œSuitable for Kidsâ€ rating?
Would I buy this book? Probably not, but I’m an experienced cyclist and this title is aimed more at the beginner. Much of the content can be found on the internet (some on this very site), so as a web-savvy cyclistÂ you probably wouldn’t buy it either. But it’s nice to have this information all wrapped-up in one volume for easy reference and it would make a wonderful gift for someone who’s itching to get pedaling in the City of Sails.
Author: Catherine Smith
Publisher: New Holland
Paperback / Black & White Text / 160 pages
Recommended Retail: $29.99
Disclaimer: The book was provided free-of-charge for review by the publisher.