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Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike
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Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,184 Ratings  ·  217 Reviews
“A wonderfully sane, down-to-earth, and frequently funny guide to riding, maintaining, fixing and enjoying your bicycle.”
Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

Winner Silver Medal 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards

In the same way that Michael Pollan’s slim bestseller Food Rules brought a gust of common sense to the everyday activity of eating, Just Ride is a revelatio
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Paperback, 212 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Workman Publishing Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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74th out of 203 books — 146 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,141)
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William Cline
Aug 29, 2014 William Cline rated it it was ok
Shelves: bicycling
Just Ride largely repeats what author Grant Petersen has written on his bicycle company’s Web site. His central idea is that bicycle (road) racing has made bikes sold to non-racers over the last thirty years worse, not better. The reasons he gives include:

- Narrow tires pumped to high pressures are uncomfortable and offer no benefits.
- Current “road bike” frames have too little clearance to fit wider, more practical tires. Mounting proper fenders is usually impossible.
- Bicycles are built with o
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Martyn
Mar 06, 2014 Martyn rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: A certain kind of LBS owner
I was prepared to give the author the benefit of the doubt many, many times during this tedious, depressing read but when I came to the last question in the quiz that ends the book I realized that no, he IS just a man with an axe to grind. Grant Petersen hates bike racing and anything remotely connected to it, and he wants you to hate it as well.

In fact he hates most things connected with bikes, but not everything. He loves heavy frames and pannier bags. He also loves recommending “safety tips”
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Todd
Apr 29, 2014 Todd rated it really liked it
I'm trying to figure out who the intended audience is for this book.

The text generally assumes a solid familiarity with riding. This book is not practically instructive enough for beginning riders. Racers, whether real or wannabe, are unlikely to be converted by this book--many of them will not even understand it.

I can only assume, then, that this book is intended for other general and utility riders like Mr. Petersen. I am one of those and from that perspective I will say that there was some go
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Michael
May 21, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: cycling
Typically a non-fiction book review looks at the intended audience for a book, assesses the author's credentials, and describes what the book set out to do and how well it accomplished that, among other things. However I am feeling lazy and would prefer to just nitpick. My overall reaction to this book? I was disappointed.

* Grant has an introduction where he explains a little about who he is, but the impression I have is that he assumes that if you are reading his book that you know who he is.
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Andrew Janke
Jan 04, 2013 Andrew Janke rated it liked it
Oh man. I have really mixed feelings about this book. I think it has some solid advice, and its message of casual riding encouraged me to get out on my bike more. But the authorial voice made it downright unpleasant to read at times. It's opinionated, which he acknowledges up front. In some ways this is good; this is the guy from Rivendell bikes, a really experienced and credible rider. I liked getting his take on riding. On the other hand, he's a bit of a blowhard and the tone tips over in to s ...more
Robert Pitts
May 21, 2012 Robert Pitts rated it really liked it
Good Bikey Bike book. For the commuter and those weary of lycra ;)
Gayane
Apr 03, 2014 Gayane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I start with the book, I want to say that when I moved to Germany I bought a laptop on the second day of my stay and a bike at the end of my first week. I learnt to ride a bike in one day, and I commuted to work right the next day. My average speed on bike is 15km/hour, I don't wear a helmet, I'm a careful rider, I don't race on the streets, I always slow down and put my foot on the ground instead of taking chances. I'm not a party pooper, I just prefer not to murder anyone or be dead mys ...more
Michael
Oct 04, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Grant Petersen's view is that "[Bike] racing ruins the breed" by making fragile, technical, uncomfortable equipment the norm rather than the exception and thus making riding work, not fun. Today's typical road bike belongs only under the seat of a few hyperfit, genetically blessed stick insects in their 20's . . . and even then only if they are racing. The manufacturers and dealers, however, have a vested interest in selling the most expensive and often most unsuitable products. Riders shouldn't ...more
Clay Kallam
Jun 04, 2012 Clay Kallam rated it really liked it
Two disclaimers: 1) I know Grant Petersen, the author, and his wife and my wife are good friends; and 2) I can't remember the last time I was on a bicycle -- and I'm not rushing to get on one since my brother-in-law just broke his wrist trying to ride one.

So the fact that I like this book may not matter that much to its intended audience, but I think Petersen (the founder of the retro Rivendell Bicycle Works) deserves credit outside his community for not only being a good writer, but also being
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John
May 05, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
Cycling has become a rolling fashion statement of product endorsements. Pick up almost any cycling magazine today and you'll see all of the ads, usually more than there is editorial content, and you'll find all of the reasons you should own this particular saddle (with its name prominently displayed) or that cycling jersey (heavily endorsed) to the point where meaningful content seems displaced. And of course, Spandex is the rule.

Author Grant Petersen take a sharp aim at these stereotypes and mo
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Scotty
Mar 06, 2013 Scotty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, cycling
Mixed feelings about this book. A quarter of the way through I decided I didn't like the author because he was just bashing all of the things I liked about cycling. But by the end I see where he was coming from, although he contradicts himself many times through the book.

The book emphasizes becoming an "unracer." That is don't try to emulate the racer, just try to have fun. And the author's take is that you don't need anything other than just any old bike and dressed however you are to have fun.
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Logan
It had some useful information, but most of it seemed at best, stupid, and at worst, dangerous, to give to new or returning riders. Any book that advocates 1) riding without a helmet (against the law in many places); and 2) swerving into shared lanes of traffic to appear unstable and thus attract attention of drivers is both offensive and irresponsible. I get the point of taking the road race mentality out of biking, but there are ways to do that while still enjoying protective headgear and clip ...more
Christopher
May 15, 2015 Christopher rated it it was ok
Grant Petersen has been in the bicycle manufacture business for a good long time now and is the proprietor of Rivendell Cycling Works, who make gorgeous lugged-steel frames that will last decades. Petersen also has a bit of a reputation as a retro-grouch, who looks back to earlier eras of cycling in his gear recommendations. In Just Ride, he points a finger at the cause of cycling's decline as a relaxing, affordable pastime: racing.

Essentially this book is a series of brief (1 or 2-page) observa
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Gpickle
Jun 19, 2012 Gpickle rated it did not like it
Good lord, what a crock of shit. Grant takes issue with bike racing! His real issue(s) are marketing and capitalism, which both serve to put food on his table.

At least he got the title right.
Mark
May 18, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Grant Petersen is a self-avowed "retro grouch" with a deep affection (if not love) for steel, leather, and hemp twine, all in the context of bicycles of course. After years of working in the industry for someone else, he founded Rivendell Bicycle Works to create beautiful bicycles out of, you guessed it, steel, leather, and hemp twine. I have to say that I am a fan of his work and of his world view (as far as I may discern what his world view may be).

This is the book I would recommend to someone
...more
Alan
Jan 12, 2014 Alan rated it really liked it
Shelves: biking
I may be close to the target audience for this book. I started biking again a few years ago after a long time of not riding. (My bike was rusted so badly that it was cheaper to buy a new one that get the old one fixed.)

I've been biking almost every day for over 3 years now. I ride for basic transportation, for exercise, for fun and to hang out with other bike riders. I want to learn more about biking, maintenance and what equipment makes sense for me. Grant Peterson covers most of that is a way
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Maciej Bliziński
Sep 20, 2015 Maciej Bliziński rated it really liked it
I've recently randomly walked into a local bicycle store. I looked around and realized that I don't see any of what I call just a bicycle. All two-wheel vehicles have become specialized. They no longer have what I need. I can appreciate the low weight of a racing bike, but not for the cost of discomfort and fragility. Mountain bikes look cool, but I don't want fat tires or suspension.

In bicycles, there is so much that you don't need!

The first ~60% of the book was the most useful, talking about t
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Doug Canfield
Jul 13, 2014 Doug Canfield rated it it was ok
Readers thinking about bicycle commuting or ones who have just begun may learn quit a bit from this book. On the other, those of us who have been cycling for awhile probably won't. I expected to like this book (at least in part because the packaging is so nice), but I found it preachy and the point of view to be rigid.

I had just finished reading Bike Snob's "The Enlightened Cyclist" and really loved it, so I picked up this one. Unlike the Bike Snob, however, I felt that Grant Peterson was too d
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Lucy Hannigan
Sep 02, 2012 Lucy Hannigan rated it liked it
I am not a bike racer so the book wasn't written for me--the author is trying to get serious long distance bike racers to stop the madness and just enjoy the fun of bike riding. I love riding my bike and we do a lot of family rides, but sometimes I don't enjoy riding just with my husband because the rides feel like a death march...a constant push to ride as fast as possible for mileS. Since reading the book, I have started to slow down a bit, to look at the scenery (as opposed to it being just a ...more
Tom
Feb 04, 2014 Tom rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, cycling
I don't understand who this book is for. The book is less a guide to cycling as a ranting manifesto on why the cycle racing industry and sport has harmed cycling. Especially cycling as a daily activity with few hurdles besides a reliable bike. I've seen many internet comment wars between the so-called Lycra brigade and everyone else, but I'm not on either side. I prefer live and let live, and I wish both sides took that approach too. I didn't learn a whole lot from this book, a few points about ...more
Doug Haynes
May 12, 2012 Doug Haynes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I think the single statement that I make to sum up why this bike gets 5 stars is that it is the bicycle book that NEEDED to be written.

Cycling is increasingly dominated by bikes, apparel and riding philosophy that are not, for the average rider, even the least bit practical. In this book Grant sits down and takes the time to not only debunk some of the B.S. but also provide a wealth of practical advice when it comes to riding.
Leigh
Jun 02, 2013 Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this book. Strips out the pretencious bullshit out of bike riding and puts in the fun. I wish somebody would write a book like this for horseback riding.
Natalie
Apr 30, 2015 Natalie rated it really liked it
I loved it! It's a short, quick read with all sorts of practical advice for the non-racer everyday cyclist from fixing chains and finding the right fit to how to shift your weight and use drift to make better turns. As someone who is still working to gain confidence on a bike, this was a great read! It's also a wonderful reminder of all things that I used to like about riding a bike before there was pressure to keep up with others all of the time. At that, I'm headed out on a relaxed, no-rush er ...more
Mark
Mar 09, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bicycling
Finally, a bike book which expresses exactly my own viewpoints on riding day in an day out. Unracing, Mr. Petersen calls it. You know them by sight- they are the weekend warriors, the ones who need to look like whores for a bike (or clothing) company, decked out in spandex and dressed in clickety-clacky tie-in shoes, which are absolutely worthless while not roped into the saddle- this sort of bike rider I've never wanted to be, and luckily, Mr. Petersen asks people NOT to become. Points like mir ...more
Stephen
Aug 16, 2013 Stephen rated it liked it
"My main goal with this book is to point out what I see as bike racing's bad influence on bicycles, equipment, and attitudes, and then undo it."

What a wonderful premise for a book. If urban cycling is neglected in North America today, it's principally because biking is seen as a sport rather than a simple means of locomotion. This has had a predictable effect on the market: bicycles are promoted according to their racing performance and are sold alongside spandex uniforms, aerodynamic sunglasses
...more
Malin Friess
Aug 06, 2012 Malin Friess rated it it was amazing
Grant Petersen (Rivendell fanatic) shares his strong opinions about bicycling..

1) He hates bike racing and what it has done to cycling..her prefers to call himself an unracer.
2) He thinks bike helmets are ineffective in a crash and often just cause cyclist to have more confidence than they should and ride to aggressively. Grant Petersen goes without a helmet. He claims almost no cylist in the Netherlands wear helmets..and their rate of traumatic head injury is extremely low.
3) Petersen likes upr
...more
Vanessa Wolf
Feb 15, 2013 Vanessa Wolf rated it liked it
Upfront, you should know I'm a commuter cyclist. I've dealt with a lot of grief about; kickstands, helmets, gear, etc... so this was a rather handy book. I'm going to say 'rather' than revolutionary because it puts out a lot of practical advice (stearing with your hips for example, seriously, there's people who don't know to do that?) mashing not circling, and some stuff that's just ridiculous that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

You don't need clips, just wrap a kerchief around your ank
...more
Cody
Aug 28, 2015 Cody rated it really liked it
Shelves: cycling
A refreshing, honest, and very opinionated guide to cycling. As ridership grows, the ideas Petersen puts forth in this book (even when divisive or seemingly nonsensical) are the kinds we should be grappling with in order to work toward a more inclusive, engaged, and enjoyable cycling culture. If nothing else, Just Ride is a great reminder of how simple and fun riding your bike should be.
Clara
Jan 25, 2013 Clara rated it liked it
It's a book about this one guy's personal vision of what biking is and should be. On one hand he's got some great ideas about how duped we are into buying into (and straight out buying) racing culture as the needs of everyday cyclists. Petersen thinks that racing harms bicycling because it conditions both what shops sell and what bike riders believe they need...when they'd often be better off with something completely different.
The ideas are generally interesting and inspiring, the book repeats
...more
James
Jul 21, 2012 James rated it it was ok
I mean no disrespect to Mr. Peterson or the incredible work he does with Rivendell, but COME ON. The reason people get on carbon fiber road bikes is because they're awesome. The reason they get kitted up and smear chamois butter in their shorts is because there are other people to do it with them. I get the impression that the audience for this book is potential Rivendell owners who are scared off by the intensity of intermediate or professional road riding. Mr. Peterson does make a few valid po ...more
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Grant Peterson is the founder and owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works and writes the Rivendell Reader. His writings and opinions have been featured in major bike and outdoor magazines, including Bicycling, Outside, and Men's Journal. He's commuted exclusively by bike since 1980, and lives with his family in Walnut Creek, California.
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“Don’t evaluate a short ride in physiological terms. Easy pedaling is good thinking time. I get all kinds of ideas for bikes, products, and general life solutions during short rides. The super grand solutions often come after twenty minutes, but you’ll get some good ones within five; and if you don’t, it’s still better than five minutes of sitting down and eating five minutes” 0 likes
“Solution 2: Don’t let your blinky light blink. By keeping it on steady mode, you’ll use up the battery faster, but you’ll be around to buy more. Don’t be cheap and dead.” 0 likes
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