Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists
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Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  33 reviews
A hilarious and essential illustrated field guide that breaks down the tribes of the bicycling community: from the spandex-clad weekend warriors to the hipsters on street bikes who love to laugh at each other (and themselves)

Anyone who rides a bike knows the bicycling world is made up of tribes. From tattooed messengers to pretty urban hipsters to grouchy shop owners, they...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Rodale Books (first published 2012)
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Michael
Magnuson is a writer for Bicycling Magazine, a (fairly serious, I guess) recreational cyclist, and has written several books, including his autobiographical "getting control of my life" Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180 that I read a few years ago. Heft on Wheels was a mighty peculiar book that was somewhat entertaining but often in a "too much information/I should avert my eyes from this train wreck" sort of way. Some of his writing for Bicycling Magazine has too much Mike Magnuson i...more
Clackamas
This book is really three and a half stars. I think I'll round up instead of down because I like the idea a lot.

This is a cute book. I live outside of bike city USA (Portland, OR) so I enjoyed learning the difference between the types of cyclists that I see around here. Magnuson was unapologetically biased toward his 'tribe' but that's acceptable because it's his book and he did seem to try to be even-handed with the other groups. He clearly wants everyone to support small businesses instead of...more
Leigh
I’m reviewing the ARC that I received. I’m not quite sure how much this will reflect the finished book and am therefore unsure how to rate it. I’ve read/reviewed ARCs before, but this is definitely the most unfinished one that I’ve had the chance to look at. There are place holders for additional pieces of artwork. The writing seems to indicate that there are parts with sub-chapters, but the actual layout of the ARC doesn’t distinguish between the major and minor sectioning. I’m sure all this wi...more
James
Self-infatuated? Pretentious? Vapid? Stereotypical? I can't decide which best describes Magnusen's writing, of which this book is typical. Knowing I am a cyclist, my mother gave me this book thinking I would enjoy it. From the title, I thought I would, too. I ride road bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, singlespeeds, commuters and even a tandem. Rolling along the paved trail by the river excites me just as much as a 5 hour century. I love bikes and know all kinds of cyclists, so a book about diffe...more
John
I picked up this funny little book as a bit of an antidote to the excesses of Momentum mag, which I also read regularly. Bike Tribes is a sort of amateur anthropology of bicycle subcultures--you'll recognize all of them, from the spandex road racers to fixie hipsters to overdressed office commuters. See, where Momentum Mag gets me down is in its really unidimensional support for a particular kind of twee-dressed urban commuuter lifestyle, this book reaches out and talks (appreciatively) about no...more
JDK1962
Interesting overview of the bicycling world. Especially useful for folks relatively new to the sport (or returning after a long layoff), trying to figure out where they'd fit in best, or what appeals to them. Maybe a bit on the cutesy side, but oh well.
Bill Sleeman

Bike Tribes is a slightly (or maybe more than slightly) tongue-in-check look at the different types of riders you will see around the various bike venues. My older son, the MTB racer, recommended it and I am glad that he did as I quickly found myself nodding and laughing in agreement at the bikers as described. After several centuries of my own and many miles on the local trails, as well as working the support team for my son’s races, I have seen almost all of these riders at one time or anot

...more
Graham Polando
Liked it a lot more than I thought I would; it's a fun read, not taking itself too seriously, and does a good job describing the different types of cycling, as well as the culture and unwritten rules of each. Only reason it's not a five-star is the made-up dialogue between different types of riders, which is clunky and distracting. Overall, though, very worthwhile.
Robert Steele
A lighthearted look at the cliques that form in the "community" that comprises the many people who call themselves cyclists. Enjoyable read, but not really helpful.
Beverle Myers
I requested a copy of this book mainly for my husband, an inveterate cyclist. He loved it, laughed out loud several times. He found the section devoted to the road racer tribe especially on target. Besides the humor, there are some nuggets of good advice within the pages. Taken as a whole, the book makes the valuable point that not all cyclists are alike, and that city planners or legislators who plan for only the transportation rider or only the recreational rider are making a big mistake. I re...more
John Randolph
Funny and accurate descriptions of every type of cyclist you may see.
Adam Koenig
A decent read, really quick.
Leslie
This book is a very light, fun take on the different "tribes" of cyclists out there. The illustrations were charming, and added to the lighthearted feeling of the book. This was a really good book to take on the bus with me, as you could stop anywhere and pick it right back up with no problems. The only thing I didn't like was the placement of the boxes describing the different types as you encountered them. I felt like it broke up what I was reading. All-in-all good book, and I would recommend...more
Sandy
Bicyclists, I guess, are like everyone else, busy passing harsh judgement on anyone who is not exactly like them.
If I go out on my bike now, I will know EXACTLY how every other cyclist I see is thinking about me and thinking about themselves.
I still am not sure if I likes this book or not, it was rather silly and easy to leave around for a page or two reading every once in awhile.
Caroll
It wasn't until half way through the book that I realized the author was a native Wisconsinite like myself. He mentioned tickets to a Home Packers Game would be easier to obtain than tickets to the Century Death Ride.

This book was a sometimes funny and interesting look at the world of cycling. If you are not a cyclist then I am sure this book was boring and at times confusing.
Matt Beckwith
Bike Tribes is a great look at the many different groups of people that ride bikes. Magnuson describes the groups in a fictitious town setting, using fictitious people (more like semi-fictitious, some of them I swear I know personally). Very fun read for anyone that rides a bike - no matter which tribe you belong to.
Lisa
I would give it 1 1/2 stars if I could. It was okay (two stars) but the writing was pretty bad at times. Repetitive and preachy. That said, some of his characterizations were funny, and the way the various tribes were linked together would have worked great with better editing.
Steve
A good book that takes a somewhat biased look at the subcultures that make up cycling. Most cyclists will find something to enjoy in this book and the continuing thread of the book and the best suggestion to anyone reading it is: don't take it too seriously.
Matthew
It was a good book. I think that it was very interesting to read about the different groups represented in the Cycling community. I think the author is we definitely need to come together as Cyclists instead of putting distance between fellow bike lovers.
Libia
It is a really cute, funny and informative book about cycling in America. It was funny to see how my cycling friends and I fit in each group (tribe).
Quite enjoyable when you can't go cycling because of the weather.
Jessica DiCerbo
Entertaining, really quick read. If you are a cyclist in any respect, you'll definitely understand and appreciate this book :)
Dylan
Not awful, not awesome, decent if you are just looking for something to read in one sitting to chill your brain out before bed.
Wilson
His tribe of choice is obvious and he does little or nothing to build bridges between disciplines.
John
A fun read. Not literature but, if you're a cyclist, you'll relate to some of the humor.
Sam
Short. Sweet. And gives some good insight into the different kids of bikers.
Edward Rothschild
Fun read - for bike geeks only. Vignettes of bicyclists and cycling community.
Kate
Oct 22, 2012 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: biking
See p. 33: The Overwhelming Majority

and

p. 133: When in Doubt, Cyclocross
fool
surprisingly clever if a bit twee. yeah, it's about my people.
Karen
Oct 20, 2012 Karen added it
What a hoot - pokes fun at all kinds of cyclists - so true!
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