Clackamas's Reviews > Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists

Bike Tribes by Mike Magnuson
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Sep 09, 12

bookshelves: 2012, edutainment, to-gift
Read in September, 2012

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 chain athletic stores that sell bikes and equipment. I felt he was a little snotty on that point, but since he's probably right I can't really fault him too much. He found something good to say about each of the tribes (except maybe the Hipsters, of which there are plenty around here). One device that I really liked was the boxes with key distinguishing characteristics of each type of cyclist. They were entertaining and I have found myself looking at the bikers in my area playing "Spot the Tribe".

What detracts from this book is that I'm just not sure who the audience is supposed to be. Cyclists might enjoy it as a bathroom read, but it isn't really telling them anything new. While it's cute and gave me a few chuckles, it isn't laugh out loud funny and there's nothing that's worth quoting to my friends. Non-cyclists might like it but will likely be confused by all of the jargon. It would be a lot more accesible and may actually work as the field guide it is trying to be if there were entertaining footnotes with biking terms in the sections they first show up, or at least a glossary of terms near the front.

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