I have just finished Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne, and I loved it, it is a very good read.
It is by all means not a touring book or a ride write up in the normal sense of bicycle related books. The first part is more a diary of David’s visits to cities around the world, with some comments on art, music, fashion, architecture and how life is cities have evolved around the world. Many of the things he write about is things I have been thinking myself, though he does put it much better. The last part of the book is more cycling related and he talks about how and what we can do to make it better and easier to commute on our bicycles. Though mainly in New York since that is where he lives, but other cities around the world can and should do more.
I had forgotten that I have read about before, he had designed bicycle stands for New York. He is very correct on this, we need more bicycle stands around town so it is easier for you to commute as there will be a place to park your bicycle safely. And why not make it fun while you are at it, Sheffield Stands are brilliant but a bit boring. Though I’m pretty sure that some of his stands looks more like art and therefore I wonder if people will used them to lock their bikes to.
Bicycle Diaries chronicles David’s observations and insights — what he is seeing, whom he is meeting, what he is thinking about — as he pedals through and engages with some of the world’s major cities. In places like Buenos Aires, Istanbul, San Francisco, and London, the focus is more on the musicians and artists he encounters. Politics comes to the fore in cities like Berlin and Manila, while chapters on New York City, and on the landscaped suburban industrial parks and contemporary ruins of such spots as Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Columbus are more concerned with history in the urban landscape. Along the way, DB has thoughts to share about fashion, architecture, cultural isolation, globalization, and the radical new ways that some cities, like his home town, are becoming more bike-friendly — all conveyed with a highly personal mix of humor, curiosity, and humanity.
A very good read and thought provoking book, I truly enjoyed it. You don’t have to be a fan of David Byrne and Talking Heads to read this book. Link : Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne