The Beautiful Machine and other bicycle books

A  collection of review essays published in 2010 and 2011


The second blog that I published as keithwatkinshistorian was a review of Megan Timothy’s book 12,000 miles for Hope’s Sake. Since that posting on April 26, 1910, I have continued to report on books about bicycles and a bicycling way of life. Some of them, such as John Howard’s Mastering Cycling, are new publications, but other volumes are old books, some of which I read long ago and others that I have only recently enjoyed.

My choice of books for review on keithwatkinshistorian is dictated by three factors. First, they come to my attention, at libraries, bookstores, or in conversation and reading. Second, they make a constructive contribution to bicycle lore and literature, or to informed conversation about bicycles and their place in our time. Third, I enjoyed the book enough that I want to encourage others to read it, too. The fact that a new book on bicycling does not appear in my reviews could mean that I haven’t heard about it, or that I haven’t made the effort (or paid the money) to gain access to it. It could also mean that I have seen the book but have no interest in calling it to the attention of readers.

Blog publishing provides short moments in the attention span of readers, and as a result book reviews quickly disappear from sight and memory. In response, I have gathered the reviews I published during 2010 and 2011 into a single volume. It is filed in the section of keithwatkinshistorian entitled “Bicycle Diaries,” which will facilitate access to current readers of the blog and others who later subscribe or find it through online searches. To read the the full collection of review essays click The Beautiful Machine

Some of these reviews have been slightly edited. Those who read this collection online will discover, sometimes to their irritation (especially photos), that many of the links embedded when the reviews were first posted are still active and in some instances will connect readers to online sites. These links, of course, will not work when readers are using printed copies of this collection.

12,000 Miles for Hope’s Sake, by Megan Timothy

Heft on Wheels, by Mike Magnuson

Major, by Todd Balf

Two Wheels North, by Evelyn McDaniel Gibb

Bike Snob, by Eban Weiss

It’s All about the Bike, by Robert Penn

The Grace to Race, by Madonna Buder

Mastering Cycling, by John Howard

The Beautiful Machine, by Graeme Fife

Bike for Life, by Roy M. Wallack and Bill Katovsky

Outside Lies Magic, by John R. Stillgoe

The Urban Cyclist’s Survival Guide, by James Rubin and Scott Rowan

The Man Who Loved Bicycles, by Daniel Behrman

3 Responses to The Beautiful Machine and other bicycle books

  1. kevinmayne says:

    When I started blogging I was unsure I would have much content, so I created a Library page to collect my cycling book reviews, I have dozens of books collected over the years. In reality they are occasional, but always popular posts and I certainly have not had time to re-read as many as I might have hoped.

    The occasional summary like this might be a good reminder. I see our lists have not crossed at all, that is nice.

    • Martha June Bradshaw says:

      Thanks for the writings, Keith and Rick and Marilyn. Reading them gives me confidence in opinions formulated from honest research and evaluations to which I can relate because of family friendships of longstanding as well as life experiences.

      • Martha June, the family friendships do go back a long time. Between our two families, they started nearly sixty years ago! Let’s hope for a few more years. Keith

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