Sloane’s Complete Book Of Bicycling, Eugene A Sloane (1970 – 1995)

An encyclopaedic guide to bicycle buying, maintenance and use. Aimed at the new rider, it is rich in sound wisdom, if a little wearing in its determination to be comprehensive

Fireside 0 671 86075 0 Octo 429pp £9.99

This book has been in continuous production since its inception in 1970, with at least six major revisions. And, it is easy to lose sight of what a vital job it has done in those 40 years. Sloane dispenses boilerplate common sense on everything from choosing the right size of bike, to working out how different gearing systems work and, buying luggage carries for your mount.

To anyone steeped in cycling, it is possible that much of this does not need reiteration. But Sloane’s was a samizdat text circulated under the noses of General Motors during a period when the interests of Detriot, and those of the United States were considered to be as one.

Armed with this knowledge, there was no hoodwinking customers who wanted a bike to travel to work, or to enjoy for recreation. And as a reference work, it certainly stands the test of time. Sloane makes light work of most maintenance jobs and adjustments, and with his words to guide them, so will readers. Sections of safety (particularly when riding in traffic) and nutrition, are as good now as when they were first penned.

The book deserves to be revered for the torch it shone during the dark age of American cycling. As an introduction to cycling today, however, it is showing its age. It won’t let you down as a reference, but the Bicycling Guide, or the DK cycling book provide quite a lot more to get the pulse racing before you pull on your cycling shorts.

PS May 09

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