book reviews

Book review: ‘Streetfight’ by Janette Sadik-Khan

Go By Bike by on April 12th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Our reviewer hard at work.

This is a guest post by Kiel Johnson.

A specter is haunting our cities — the specter of street life!

Our streets make up the vast majority of our public space in cities. How these spaces are designed have profound impacts on how we think about communities and the policies we create. Janette Sadik-Khan’s “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution” is a necessary chronicle and persuasive argument for giving street space back to people. She writes “streets are the social, political, and commercial arteries of cities … These are the spaces where life and history happen.”

Last week, I presented to a group of business leaders in the Lloyd District, most of whom commute by car from the suburbs. I was talking about the Better Broadway project that will open one auto lane of Broadway up for businesses and people for one week next month.

[Read more…]

Book Review: Our Bodies, Our Bikes

by on November 3rd, 2015 at 9:15 am

The cover art is a nod to The Sprockettes,
a mini-bike dance team based in Portland.

[Publisher’s note: Please welcome our new writer Jessie Kwak. She’ll be writing a range of stories, including a monthly product review. – Jonathan]

As a woman who’s been riding her bike for years, I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with my gender-specific cycling needs – mostly through awkwardly-broached conversations with other women who bike. There are a lot of questions that no one wants to ask. “Are you supposed to wear underwear under those padded bike shorts?” “Is it weird that I’m constantly starving since I started bike commuting?” And the biggie: “How do you make it stop hurting you-know-where?”

Reading Our Bodies, Our Bikes, a new book edited by Elly Blue and April Streeter (and funded via a Kickstarter campaign), is a lot like having those weird conversations. Just in loud, joyful voices using poetic turns of phrase.

The book is full of essays by women willing to delve into the most intimate parts of their lives as openly as if they were knocking back a few beers with their girlfriends. [Read more…]

Book review: Pedal Portland by Todd Roll

by on May 14th, 2014 at 10:24 am

Book: Pedal Portland: 25 Easy Rides for Exploring the City by Bike
Author: Todd Roll
Publisher: Timber Press, 2014
Price: $16.95

Reviewed by Nicholas Von Pless

Around this time of year, I’m inviting friends from afar to enjoy the summer we yearn for after a long slog of grey and rain. But with some dry spells and surprising summery days this winter, I was able to get a preview of the rides illustrated in Pedal Portland, the new book from Todd Roll. (If Roll’s name sounds familiar that’s because he also owns and runs Pedal Bike Tours (and he also happens to be the guy who commissioned the now infamous “America’s Bicycle Capital” mural.)

In Pedal Portland, Roll outlines 25 rides that cover the entire region. From familiar bikeways in the central city to regional gems in Gresham, Hillsboro, and Vancouver. Like the guided bike tours offered by Roll’s company, the skill level of the routes ranges from very easy to pretty easy, which is great for my out-of-town friends, and great for reinvigorating the fair-weather riders of our fine city.
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Book Review: Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Rides in Washington

by on April 9th, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Cover of Cycle Sojourner: Washington

Publisher’s note: Two years ago we took a look at Portland author Ellee Thalheimer’s first Cycling Sojourner guidebook that covered the best rides in Oregon. Now she’s back with a Washington edition that’s due out next month. BikePortland contributor Nicholas Von Pless received an advanced copy and shares his review below. — Jonathan

Around this time last year, I had just a couple longer distance rides under my belt: there was a two-day jaunt from Portland to Eugene (the first and last trip done without cycling shorts), and a few all-day rides within 30 miles of the city. But I wanted to get out and explore more. Fortunately, I had Ellee Thalheimer’s Cycling Sojourner, a companion for cycling through all of Oregon’s celebrated lands – from the treasured Painted Hills to the rolling vineyards of McMinnville. With Thalheimer’s expert guidance, I was turned on to some of the greatest adventures to be had on two wheels.

So on the cusp of another beautiful summer’s riding season, it was a no-brainer to again look to Ellee for guidance. And she delivers in her second installment, Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Washington.
[Read more…]

Book Review: Cyclopedia – It’s All About the Bike

by on February 7th, 2012 at 10:03 am

When a book says it’s “all about the bike” and proudly displays images of disassembled bike components on its cover I assume it will eventually be sitting on a shelf in my garage, close to a pedal wrench and a bottle of chain lube.

William Fotheringham’s Cyclopedia from Chicago Review Press is far from the repair manual its cover makes it look like. The book also is not a dry compendium as the word “cyclopedia” might imply.

Instead, it’s a deep dive into the rich knowledge of Fotheringham, built on his over 30 years of experience reporting on professional cycling. While the book includes plenty of technical information, the entries are grounded in historical context.
[Read more…]

New book, ‘Bike Art’ gives global tour of bike-inspired work

by on November 23rd, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Cover of Bike Art.

A new book published by Gingko Press has done something amazing. The 256 page coffee table book, Bike Art. Bicycles in Art Around the World has managed to collect a global sampling of bike-inspired art from more than 250 illustrators, painters, sculptors, industrial designers, and more.
Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

[Read more…]

Book Review: How to Live Well Without Owning a Car

by on October 26th, 2009 at 10:31 am

Publisher’s note: Despite a recent BTA survey showing that 90% of respondents own a car, many people are finding that living without one (or several) is not only possible but enjoyable. Even the New York Times has noticed that in America, people are falling out of love with cars.

On that note, here’s a review of a very highly recommended book about how to take the carfree (or just car-light) plunge. It was originally published by Elisa Munoz on her Birmingham, Alabama-based blog Bike Skirt, and has been republished here with her permission. We’re looking forward to publishing more reviews from Munoz in the future.


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A review of Jeff Mapes’ book, Pedaling Revolution

by on March 19th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

National Bike Summit - Day two-34

Author Jeff Mapes (R) speaking
with the BTA’s Scott Bricker at the
2009 National Bike Summit.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Author and senior political reporter for The Oregonian, Jeff Mapes, will be at Powell’s Books tonight to talk about his new book, Pedaling Revolution.

Mapes is riding a wave of excellent reviews and buzz about his book. The influential Library Journal (which many schools and libraries base their purchasing decisions on) gave it a coveted “highly recommended” rating. Library Journal said the book is, “a deftly drawn portrait of contemporary bike culture and politics,” is that it is “readable and engaging”. But, far from being something only the staid Library Journal could love, the Willamette Week also liked it.[Read more…]