Chris Sidwells delivers on his promise in the Complete Bike Book: almost nothing escapes this professional rider’s purview. From the most fundamental questions (“Why cycle?”) to the literal nuts and bolts of bike maintenance, this all-around guide has it covered. In an era when the printed book seems antiquated, or in search of ever-more specialized niches, Complete Bike reminds us of the value that well-illustrated handbooks still can offer!
The Complete Bike Book should find place on any beginning cyclist’s shelf. Yes, in the Internet era it is a throwback to the all-in-one handbooks of yesteryear (like Eugene Sloan’s Complete Book of Bicycle Maintenance), but there is no substitute for plentiful pictures and diagrams that handbook demystify the ins and outs of cycling. And it’s not only for the beginner; the experienced cyclist will find it a refresher course – particularly in the maintenance arena.
But the value here is for the newbie. Back in my day, bikes came in two general flavors: ‘road’ bikes and street bikes. The road bike came in many flavors but were mostly variations on the triangular, butted-tube steel frame which varied in spec between racing and touring configurations. The mass-market street bike (the kind in any garage) found an enormous market, peaking in the 1970s, and ever since on the decline in the face of a fragmented market of specialty biked.
Sidwells offers an overview of bike types that will be very helpful to the new purchaser bewildered by the avalanche of new bike types (to say nothing of brands and accessories). Familiar with the Audax or the Randonneur? Know the difference between a BMX and a trials bike? If not, then Sidwells has a book for you!