Michael's Reviews > Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike

Just Ride by Grant Petersen
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's review
Jul 02, 2012

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 buy into this trend, he suggests; rather, they should buy equipment that will suit them and help them have fun. I didn't agree with everything he said, but many of his points are very well-taken. It reminds me of windsurfing: in the 90's, it became all about shortboards that only a few skilled riders could use under conditions rare in most of the country, with everything else being uncool. Now, the sport is pretty much dead. I still love my race-inspired road bike (though it has some features that make it suited for long rides and so is not as radical as it might be) and I don't think cycling is dying--just the opposite--but all you have to do is take your hand off the bar and make a friendly wave at people riding the other way on bike paths. Most don't wave back. They seem too busy mashing pedals and checking heart monitors and GPS readings to pay attention to their surroundings, to potential friends riding, and to enjoying a great ride. I've put my heavy "campus" pedals back on, so I can clip in for long rides and just wear street shoes and shorts for a quick jaunt. Thanks, Grant, for talking some sense. I hope to ride until I'm 100. With your advice in mind, maybe I'll get there.
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