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It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels [Anglais] [Relié]

Robert Penn

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Relié, 29 juillet 2010 EUR 22,43  
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Description de l'ouvrage

29 juillet 2010
As seen on TV 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 pedalled 40,000 kilometres 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 bespoke 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 and build a dream bike. En route, Robert explores the culture, science and history of the bicycle. From Stoke-on-Trent, where an artisan hand builds his frame, to California, home of the mountain bike, where Robert tracks down the perfect wheels, via Portland, Milan and Coventry, birthplace of the modern bicycle, this is the narrative of our love affair with cycling. It's a tale of perfect components - parts that set the standard in reliability, craftsmanship and beauty. It tells how the bicycle has changed the course of human history, from the invention of the 'people's nag' to its 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.

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

A book as brilliant as the invention it celebrates. A wonderful read (Nick Crane, Author Of 'clear Waters Rising' And 'bicycles Up Kilimanjaro' )

What I'm left with after consuming the book is a sense of poetry. A distinct and lingering feeling of elegance, design history and aesthetics. It made me look at the hundreds of thousands of bicycles I pass every day in Copenhagen in a completely new light. It made me wonder what my perfect bicycle would look like (Mikael Colville-Andersen Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog )

No matter how shiny and costly the item of bike bling, there is a back story, usually a good one. Artfully, Penn turns his quest for hardware ... into a worldwide spin around cycling and its culture (William Fotheringham Guardian )

[Penn] writes with authority, humour and refreshing candour ... A celebration of craftsmanship over technology and of a bygone era when things were built to last ... If Penn is to be believed, we are entering a golden age of cycling, when it really will be all about the bike once more (Sunday Telegraph )

[Penn] writes with a Bill-Brysonesque facility for concentrating a lot of information and research into an easy-to-read and surprisingly compelling tale. Best of all ... his account enriches your enjoyment of a ride (Tim Dawson, Cycle Guy Sunday Times )

Gem of a book ... Penn ... describes his quest to build the perfect bicycle, mixing in an entertaining dose of cycling history and culture in the process (Economist )

Fantastic ... It is a really interesting read with some great stories on the science, history and culture of the bicycle. Well worth a read if, like me, you love cycling! (Paul Smith )

I've just spent a week pedalling slowly from Windermere to Aviemore with a copy of Penn's zealous eulogy in my pannier. His infectious admiration for the exhilarating sociability of cycling, coupled with reverence for quality craftsmanship, made highly engaging company ... appreciate the wit and enthusiasm of this unusual odyssey (James Urquhart Independent )

The pages overflow with pioneers, mavericks and geniuses - certainly, it is hard to imagine anyone who reads this book being able to buy a bike "off the peg" again ... As a depiction of a world you might vote for, Penn's does not sound bad at all (Tim Lewis Observer )

Whizzed through Robert Penn's 'It's All About the Bike'. Must read for cyclists and/or obsessives (Tweeted By Alistair Campbell )

Penn tells us that the bicycle, as we know it, was invented in 1885 and is the most efficient form of transport ever devised... A joyful book (William Leith The Scotsman )

Bike-lit is booming, and while 'cross-country hardtail' might not have the same ring to it as 'penny-farthing', there's evidently little to do with cycling about which Robert Penn can't wax lyrical. Whether his subject is spokes or saddle sores, he is relentlessly enthusiastic... Penn's amiability is puncture-proof (Stephanie Cross Daily Mail )

[H]is adrenalin-charged enthusiasm... delivers a good ride... The social history is snappy and his almost religious quest for ultimate craftsmanship full of wit. (James Urquhart Financial Times )

Biographie de l'auteur

Robert Penn rides a bicycle to get to work, sometimes for work, to keep fit, to bathe in air and sunshine, to travel, to go shopping, to stay sane, to savour the physical and emotional fellowship of riding with friends, for fun, occasionally to impress someone, to scare himself and to hear his boy laugh. He's ridden a bicycle most days of his adult life, in over forty countries on five continents. In his late-twenties, he pedalled around the world. A journalist, Robert writes for the Financial Times, Observer and Condé Nast Traveller, as well as a host of cycling publications. His last book The Wrong Kind of Snow, was praised as 'jam packed with grand themes ... intelligently done' (Daily Mail) and 'endlessly fascinating ... written with flair' (Financial Times). Robert lives in the Black Mountains, South Wales with his wife and three children and commutes to work across a heather moor on a mountain bike.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  78 commentaires
33 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent quick read 15 novembre 2010
Par J. Chaney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I bought this book based on a review in The Economist that made it look interesting. I'm not a bike nut, though I have one and ride it a couple times a week. This book, though, is not written for the bicycle fanatic, but for a layperson for whom bikes are, and have always been, part of the background of life. There's detail on the origins and development of the bike, along with enough -- just enough -- insights from the author's experience to make it not a sterile read. It's also interesting to meet the people involved in various aspects of the bicycle business, from mountain-bikers in Marin County to handlebar manufacturers (who knew there was so much technology in a handlebar?) in Italy. There's also enough here, in terms of content and accuracy, to make it of interest to people who ARE already knowledgeable about road bikes: two of my friends who are competitive road biciclists have read it with enthusiasm. So, all in all, a pleasure to read, and over way too soon.
19 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 an obsessive account of the design of a bicycle 25 octobre 2011
Par Neurasthenic - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is an odd book. Robert Penn owns a lot of bikes, but decided he wanted one more and that this one would be perfect -- it would have a custom frame, and exactly the components he wanted, and it would be assembled by the best mechanics in the world. The task took about a year, and while Penn never tells us what the bike cost, one can estimate that with the cost of his flights around the world to view the components being built, it was almost certainly over $10,000.

This is the first oddness of the book. It is simultaneously anti-consumer ("I am not going to buy a Toyota Corolla and replace it every five years; I'm going to buy a bicycle that will last me for the rest of my life.") and intensively consumerist ("This is the list of expensive things I am going to buy for a bicycle that I clearly don't need because I already have a shed full of bicycles at home. This bicycle is going to define me as a person.")

Penn describes some of his previous bicycle adventures, and he discusses the history of bicycles generally and bicycle components in particular. This material will have nothing new to those who have read Herlihy's Bicycle: The History, which is clearly Penn's major source, but it's fun to read.

The second major oddness of the book is that, though it tells the tale of the design and assembly of a bicycle, and contains many photographs and diagrams explaining the origins of different bike parts, it does not end with a photo of the completed bike. Penn takes delivery of his completed bike and rides off into the rain. The end. No photo. Odd.

I ride a custom Peter Mooney, so can I understand some of what drives Penn in his quest, but even I found myself wincing at his conviction that this bicycle would make him finally happy. Happiness can't come from a purchase, and for a collector, as Penn seems to be, the collection will never be complete. Personally, I can't help but imagine that Penn continues to stew over the little things that aren't quite perfect about his new machine, and to plot how he will fix it. But even if he does, I don't think he'll be happy.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 good primer on bikes and bike history 25 septembre 2010
Par jbs - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
well written, well told, well explained, complete with diagrams and pictures of bike mechanisms, history and design. funny and interesting, a travel journal cum bike celebration.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 It's All About the Bike... Parts 2 août 2011
Par tamar p - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Without a doubt, Robert Penn is a great writer. However, this book failed to catch my attention due to its highly technical nature. This is not a criticism - if you're into learning about what every piece of the bicycle is called, what it does and its history, then this is the right book for you. Personally, I would have been more interested in reading a book with more of an emphasis on the author's travels on his bicycle and less emphasis on the angle of the handlebars, but hey, that's not what this book is about. I really did enjoy the beginning of the book, when the author delves into the history of the bicycle and its impact on human civilization - definitely fascinating and worth a read just to understand that although bicycles are routinely dismissed today by the average person, they were once a huge step forward in transportation and a BIG DEAL.

One thing that is a criticism, though, is the lack of images in the book. The bulk of this book is devoted to talking about parts of the bike, but it's hard to understand what the author is describing without images to accompany the words. There a few images scattered here and there, but it's simply not enough, especially when the author gets nitpicky about the parts he's discussing. I think I would have found the book more interesting had more things been illustrated for me, because after a while I found it tiring to have to imagine all the parts of the bike in my head, and I wasn't even sure if I was getting it right.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful perspective; excellent research and history. 20 septembre 2010
Par R. Wilkes - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Penn's gift is that he takes the bicycle, the thing we all had as kids and take for granted, and gives it its proper place in our culture, history, and record of technological innovation. And it's no small thing. He's a deft writer, clever and witty, and you will never look at your bicycle the same after reading this. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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