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It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels (Anglais) Relié – 29 juillet 2010

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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 )

Présentation de l'éditeur

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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Amazon.com: 102 commentaires
37 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
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.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
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.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
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.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Perfect Bike (3.75*s) 23 juin 2011
Par J. Grattan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The author's love for all aspects of bicycling is quite evident in this book: the history, its culture, the joy of riding, the challenge of long trips, and the bike itself. But most of all, he is intrigued by "old-school" bicycle craftsmen, who know virtually everything about bicycles, tend to use traditional tools and techniques, and are committed to quality above all else. The basis of this book is the author's quest to have the perfect - for him - bike built, utilizing the knowledge of bicycle artisans/experts scattered across Europe and the US, most of whom he spends time with in the book - a process that he calls "bespoke," or one-of-a-kind.

He sees these modern-day craftsmen as following in the footsteps of long forgotten bicycle innovators, who spent nearly a century from the 19th into the 20th centuries reinventing and perfecting the bicycle. He notes the development of the basic diamond bike frame in 1885, followed by the slow perfecting of steel ball bearings, headsets, handlebars, drive trains (chain, bottom bracket, free wheel, and derailleur), saddles, wheels and tires, and light weight, steel-alloy tubing. In his search for quality, he is allowed inside some of the most revered bicycle component manufacturers, such as, Chris King, Cinelli, Campagnola, Brooks, Columbus, and Continental, many being key players in component development over several decades.

Beyond the perfect bike, it is the social implications of bicycling that most interest the author. The production of literally millions of the so-called "safety" bicycle in England in the late 19th century had a significant effect on, not only, expanding distances that could be traveled in a day's time but also on the emancipation of women, now more able than ever to make trips on their own. The explosion of bicycle ownership, the associated technical skills to build them, and the infrastructure required such as roads and repair centers directly facilitated the rise of the automobile in the next century. The author notes the ebb and flow of bicycle popularity over the 20th century, peaking in the decade following WWII. More recently, it is in some urban areas, such as Portland, OR, where specific planning efforts to accommodate bicyclists have resulted in thriving bicycle communities.

The author's nostalgic ode to bicycle craftsmanship and quality is perhaps a bit overstated. The idea that a bicycle builder can almost instantly size-up a customer seems rather wishful, although modern, mechanistic "fit-kit" techniques too have their limitations. The author, being European may be unaware that it was the low quality of big-name, Italian bicycles in the 1960's and 70's that helped to fuel the growth of American bicycle companies. Evidently, modern, sophisticated, and repeatable manufacturing techniques are considerably more reliable than the ad hoc methods of the masters. Of course, many of them have too changed.

It is not just bicycle aficionados who can appreciate the author's enthusiasm for bicycling and his many experiences both in the past and in his perfect-bike endeavor. He is surely correct to emphasize that a quality, good-fitting bike is an indispensable part of enjoyable biking. The fact that few have the same access as the author to master bicycle craftsmen is not terribly important. There is no availability shortage of technically advanced, high quality bicycles in the US, which bring every bit as much enjoyment as the author's "perfect bike." The book is a succinct look at the technical development of bicycles and as well touches on many areas of bicycle lore. Finally, the "perfect bike" turned out perfectly.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Bike History through the building of one custom dream bike 26 octobre 2010
Par RI Rider - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
It's All About the Bike is a great read for anyone who loves cycling. If you love the technology of bikes you'll enjoy it even more. Through the story of one man's assembling of his custom dream bike he takes you through the history of bikes as well as across the world to some of the best component manufactures in the business. Opinionated at times as all bikers are when it comes to their gear preference, he is also humorous. The book entertains with some wonderful stories about unique moments in cycling history and the characters that have taken cycling to where it is today.
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