Just In: Major Taylor, The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer

A while back, I asked the good people on Bikeforums.net if they had any suggestions on good books about bicycling. They came through strong, with numerous suggestions that I hope to work my way through over time.

This one was the most intriguing to me, though. I’ve heard and read lightly about ‘Major’ Taylor in scattered articles here and there, but this lays out his whole story. I’m 75 pages in and the detail is really quite extraordinary. This is an author who has done his homework and Taylor’s dumbfounding story is personified drama.

Full review is pending.

Morning Links

Stomped | Watch what happens to a dude who asks a community of bike riders “Uhh, what’s a cyclist?” and then, without a hint of irony, gives a stereotypically elitist definition.
Movin’ | Yamaha has introduced a new electric power-assist road bike that moves crazy fast.
Long Read | National Geographic does a nice overview of How Bicycles Transformed Our World.
Bike Paradise | Did you know that Tucson, Ariz., has a 131-mile bike path that connects many of the city’s parks, shops, bus routes, trailheads and schools? Yeah, me neither.
Pic of the Day | Posted to r/xbiking on Reddit by kdvorkin. All credit to them.

Yoshizo Shimano, Former President of the Bike Parts Giant, Dies

Yoshizo Shimano, the fourth president of the nearly 100-year-old bicycle parts manufacturer and the man who made Shimano into the global behemoth it is today, has died. He was 85.

Shimano was the third son of company founder Shozaburo Shimano. He became president in 1995, following his brothers Shozo and Keizo. Shimano today is a household name in bicycle parts with $3.3 billion in annual sales.

Read More on Nekki Asian Review.

Late to the Reddit Party

I realize I’m a skosh late to this party, but I’ve just discovered the joys of Reddit. You may make fun of me now, I’ll wait.

Done? So soon? K.

I know it gets a bad wrap for some of its nether regions, and rightly so, but there are some good subreddits I’ve just found that I like a lot. Here they are, in order of my enthusiasm: r/xbiking; r/grammar; r/bicycling; r/cycling; r/bikeporn.

If anyone has suggestions on subreddits while I navigate through this, let me know.

For Sale: Touring Bike and Rare Bridgestone

It’s time, I know. It’s well more than time to finally clean out the basement of two bikes I just don’t use. I know. Stop bugging me about it, already.

2017 Co-Op ADV 1.1, formerly Novara Randonee.

I’ve put these beauties up on craigslist — here and here; on bikeforums.net, here and here and on Facebook Marketplace, here and here. Despite a nationwide dearth of good bicycles, I’ve not had a single call yet.

1993 Bridgestone NB-26, comfort/hybrid bike so rare it wasn’t included in that year’s catalog. Not a scratch on it.

They’re both nice, good looking and in perfect running condition. I just don’t ride them since I’ve built up my daily XO-2.

If you know anyone looking for Bikes for the Vertically Challenged, let me know.

Does Bike Boom Portend Copenhagen-like Shift in U.S.?

The COVID-19-inspired bicycle boom is quite real.

My local bike shop is barren, and the masked employees are frazzled with mountains of repairs of nearly forgotten old bikes dug out by people driven mad by quarantine. A couple of weeks ago I was at another bike shop to get a small part. There was a line around the block. People were buying whatever bikes the shop could wheel out.

Tim Blumenthal, president and CEO of PeopleForBikes, has even said this past three months might actually be “the best quarter for the bike industry in the last 50 years.” Blumenthal on Tuesday announced his retirement from the bike advocacy organization after 16 years at the helm.

But does the meteoric rise in bicycle interest and ridership portend a Copenhagen-like shift in the U.S.?

Doubtful, but this article from The Detroit News explores that question and the recent bike boom better than almost any I’ve read in the past several weeks.

Book Review: In Praise of the Bicycle

SHORT REVIEW: Ask yourself three questions before picking up In Praise of the Bicycle, by Marc Augé: Am I French? Am I a French Boomer who knows the geographical layout of major French cities? Do I have an irrational affinity for major bike races and racers of the 1950s and ’60s and the ability to recall minute details of long-ago contests as though it was my own beloved father leading the pack while wrapped in a jersey that reads ‘I LOVE YOU, SON” in block lettering?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then I recommend just one more before delving into Augé‘s mercifully short book: Do I have a strong will to live?

Continue reading “Book Review: In Praise of the Bicycle”