This wont be a book review. Grant Petersen did a really smart thing and collected his essays from the Rivendell Bicycle Works website in book-form as a paperback titled “Just Ride”. For anyone who doesn’t want to read web essays, or have copies of the Rivendell Reader laying around, this is a very good thing. It is a really good way to spread the retrogrouch gospel, start interesting conversations when you leave it lying around on the coffee table, and possibly indoctrinate some of the spandex-mafia into the world of the normals. I think its actual purpose is to convey ultimate smugness on people like me who have read all the web essays, and have copies of the Riv Reader at hand.
I make no bones about the fact that Grant has been instrumental in my retrograde approach to the bicycle. Not retrograde in the sense sense of against other people’s agenda, but retrograde in the sense of going back to whence I came. It took a little prompting to realize that most of the “upgrades” I made weren’t making me faster, or making my rides more fun. I had to go back to that period where I was venturing out on a bike in sneakers and a cap and I had never seen a person with a bike helmet. OK, I do wear a helmet on most rides, but that has to do with my fundamental distrust of humanity. Ditto for hi-vis bike shirts.
If you think that a simpler approach, and a more utilitarian approach, to the bicycle is for you, check out Grant’s writings. This book is a good place to start.
As an aside, here are a few places I am totally on the Grant-wagon, and a few where I depart:
I learned a lot about bike fitting, bike sizing, and bike design.
I learned about bike accessories, and simplifying my rig.
I figured out why I felt like crap after a ride on my bike.
I saw firsthand how most bike shops will put you on a too-small frame.
I saw the potential in my old MTB, leading to that bike being reborn as “Sandpanzer”
And now: Sandpanzer-pr0n
And now, back to the list… like anyone including me gives a &@$*
Off The Wagon:
Despite Grant railing against special clothing, I really appreciate bike short liners… but I have 28″ thighs… I don’t get off on chafing.
I won’t act unpredictable to keep motorists alert…
I have fenders but often leave them off… I still like a “naked” bike, sometimes. OK, Often.
And there are more, and I may update this post if I think I missed something major.