Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists (Book Review)

Bike Tribes Book© Michael Graham Richard

Delicious Vignettes of the Cycling Life

Bike Tribes is a book by Mike Magnuson, a long-time contributor to Bicycling Magazine, with illustrations by Danica Novgorodoff. It's something that I didn't even know existed: A field guide to all the different 'tribes' of cyclists in North America, from The Commuter to the Vintage Lover to the "Fixie" Rider and, let's not forget, the Overwhelming Majority and Bike Shop Owners. The book doesn't take itself too seriously, which is a good thing, and provides a light and entertaining read for two-wheel enthusiasts while poking fun at pretentiousness in the bike scene. The format is pretty much based on character vignette, with lots of humor and dialogue. The illustrations are a joy and add a lot to the book and really help sell the various character archetype scenes.

Bike Tribes Book© Michael Graham Richard

"Bike Tribes is the Preppy Handbook of bicycling, replete with one-of-a-kind illustrations that taxonomize the special habits, clothing, preferences, and predilections of cyclists."

Overall, I enjoyed reading Bike Tribes and if you have any interest at all in bike culture, I think you will like it too. It's obviously a labor of love for Magnuson, and while it can be a little bit "inside baseball" at times if you're not familiar with a certain tribe, the character-based approach keeps it entertaining. It never feels like you are studying for a test...

Bike Tribes Book© Michael Graham Richard

If you want it, you can get it straight from Rodale Books.

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