Bike! A Tribute To The World’s Greatest Cycling Designers, ed Richard Moore and Daniel Benson (2012)

A stocking-filler to delight the MAMIL* in your life

Aurum 9781781310113 352pp £25

Comprising fifty manufacturer profiles, this richly-illustrated and handsomely-produced book, is a well-conceived gift proposition. It’s too ‘coffee-table’ to buy for yourself, but sufficiently interesting to be a delightful find under the tree.

The weighty tome comprises an eclectic mix, tipped heavily in the direction of competitive road cycling manufacturers, rather than the designers. Colnago, Pinarello, Campagnolo and Shimano are all here, as are Trek, Cannondale and Raleigh. A slightly hagiographical potted history of each is provided, along with competitive highlights and lots of sumptuous photography, including lush studio shots of the bike’s themselves and dozens of vintage competition shots.

The potted tales make for enjoyable and easily digested reads, although occasionally the lack of rigour irks. The chapter about Mercian, for example, fails to mention why small, hand builders thrived in England during the twentieth century: major manufacturers having abandoned serious cyclists, thereby allowing dozens of artisan builders to flourish across the country. But there is far more here to delight than annoy. It would be an excellent gift choice for the cyclist in your life. Give it to them after lunch, though, if you hoping for help preparing the meal.

*Middle aged men in lycra

PS Oct 12

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