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

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  191 Ratings  ·  44 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
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Rodale Books (first published 2012)
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Mar 27, 2012 Clackamas rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-gift, 2012, edutainment
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
Chris Witt
Jun 15, 2015 Chris Witt rated it it was ok
No, you won't necessarily *get* anything out of reading this book but you might find it nice for a coffee table or just for justifying owning 12 different bikes.
Thomas Cannon
May 07, 2017 Thomas Cannon rated it really liked it
I added this to my collection so that I have all of Mike's books, but it is well written. Mike is knowledgable and his passion for biking helps this be a informative book.
Jul 07, 2017 Tony rated it it was amazing
Funny, good to read in chunks
Jun 17, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: cycling
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
Sep 17, 2012 James rated it did not like it
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
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
Aug 28, 2013 John rated it liked it
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
Beverle Myers
Apr 16, 2012 Beverle Myers rated it really liked it
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
Bill Sleeman
Dec 28, 2013 Bill Sleeman rated it really liked it

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

Dec 10, 2015 mobot rated it it was ok
cute read... but I have to give it a low rating due to some of the more ignorant commentary around people who don't wear helmets being considered less than smart. wish there was more nuance in some of the conversation. this book could have had the potential to lend a voice to the growing advocacy world but instead it feels alienating and isolating to me due to oversimplifications of who people are based on their choice of bicycle style and use.
Jan 29, 2015 Theresa rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this hilarious book! The author pokes fun at all different types of cyclists, and in my experience, is not far from the truth. I've been cycling for over 15 years now and can testify to the "idiosyncrasies" of each tribe (myself included :-)). If you're a cyclist that takes yourself so seriously, (like those mentioned in the book), you probably won't enjoy it --after all, it's you the author is writing about! LOL
Jun 07, 2013 Caroll rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-non-fic
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.
Oct 31, 2012 Sandy rated it liked it
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.
Matt Beckwith
Mar 26, 2013 Matt Beckwith rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 16, 2014 Meredith rated it it was ok
Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists by Mike Magnuson. Not exactly a marvel. I enjoyed the illustrations, and the author's obviously encyclopedic knowledge of cycling. But outdated comments on dietary effectiveness and very forced, wooden dialogue in the stories kept this from rising higher in my library of cycling books.
Graham Polando
Apr 11, 2014 Graham Polando rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 11, 2013 Lisa rated it did not like it
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.
Malin Friess
Sep 17, 2015 Malin Friess rated it liked it
Did you know their were different bike tribes? Which tribe are you a part of?

Beach cruiser
Casual Mountain Biker

A fun book that reminds people what is they enjoy about cycling.
Apr 17, 2014 JDK1962 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 20, 2016 Timojhen rated it liked it
Shelves: cycling
Sometimes humorous but generally straight forward accounting for the various personalities within biking subcultures. Accurate and somewhat dry but reasonable for the subject matter.

Maybe I need a beach cruiser after all!
Jan 01, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 03, 2013 Matthew rated it liked it
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 correctwe definitely need to come together as Cyclists instead of putting distance between fellow bike lovers.
Jun 08, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
This is a fun book if you're into bikes. The different tribes Magnuson describes are easy to see if you're looking from the inside out, harder if you're on the outside. Most of it is common sense and you're really not going to learn a whole lot, but you will learn some.

Worth reading for fun.
Nov 30, 2015 Jer added it
"Cute" is the word that comes to mind. This light read would be a nice gift for cyclists or it's skeptics. From fanatics to weekend warriors to critical mass attendees... the stereotypes are presented in 2 page situations, with fun little illustrations and descriptions.
Jun 25, 2012 Libia rated it it was amazing
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.
Edward Rothschild
Fun read - for bike geeks only. Vignettes of bicyclists and cycling community.
Pushpak Karnick
Apr 01, 2014 Pushpak Karnick rated it it was amazing
For my review, please refer to

Oct 20, 2012 Karen added it
What a hoot - pokes fun at all kinds of cyclists - so true!
Adam Koenig
Sep 19, 2014 Adam Koenig rated it liked it
Shelves: cycling, 2014
A decent read, really quick.
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