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Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,000 ratings  ·  295 reviews
“No matter what or how you ride, read this book and remind yourself just how enjoyable cycling can and should be.”—Eben Weiss, author of The Enlightened Cyclist
Just Ride is a revelation. Forget the ultralight, uncomfortable bikes, flashy jerseys, clunky shoes that clip onto tiny pedals, the grinding out of endless miles. Instead, ride like you did when you were a kid
Paperback, 212 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Workman Publishing Company (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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William Cline
Jun 25, 2012 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
Sep 15, 2012 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”
Andrew Janke
Jan 04, 2013 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
May 05, 2013 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
Sep 24, 2012 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
Robert Pitts
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good Bikey Bike book. For the commuter and those weary of lycra ;)
Feb 16, 2012 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.
Mar 28, 2014 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
Jul 02, 2012 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
Bryce Wilson
May 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
On one hand it's hard to argue with the larger points that (I think) Peterson is making.

Of course QUOTESerious CyclistsUNQUOTE should incorporate bike riding into their daily lives, and not treat cycling as a freakish parenthetical in their week. A more expensive version of fly fishing.

Of course beginner cyclists shouldn't be intimidated by all the Lycra, talk of gear ratios and get themselves a nice simple hybrid to start on.

Of course carbon frames are the evidence of Lucifer's hand here in t
Maciej Bliziński
Sep 16, 2015 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
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
Jun 19, 2012 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.
Malin Friess
Aug 06, 2012 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
Jan 12, 2014 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
Lucy Hannigan
Sep 02, 2012 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
Mar 05, 2013 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.
Doug Haynes
May 12, 2012 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.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I wish I had written, possibly could have written - a counterpoint to all the overhyped theory and mechanics of bicycling. What Petersen calls an "unbiker", I have for years called a "puffer." Both describe bikers who want to enjoy the experience, not wear fancy bike clothes, have practical affordable bikes, and don't worry if they can't do century rides. Lots of good down-to-earth advice, understandable to the layman (except the chapter on "Technicalities"). Great book!
Povilas Balzaravičius
Not offended. Not inspired. Bike was my primary commuting item during prior-COVID era. I was not riding just during winter times because felt to risky to ride on snowy & slippery roads with my younger one sitting in kid's chair just behind me. During my commuter's era I've got a chance to figure out what fits the best for me: clothing, accessories, packaging items, bike type. And some of these picks are totally different from what is mentioned in a book. This is neither bad or good. It is just a ...more
May 15, 2015 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
May 18, 2012 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
Mar 09, 2014 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
Clay Kallam
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
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
Doug Canfield
Jul 13, 2014 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
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure where this guy gets his information from, but a vast majority of the things he says are complete nonsense. If his audience or what he calls "unracers" are people that like to ride around the neighborhood or a ride in the park, then yeah, this book makes quite a bit of sense and I highly recommend it. However if you are a cyclist or are aspiring to be a cyclist, and I mean a non-racing bike tour or rides over 25 miles, then this book serves no purpose and is completely misleading. Th ...more
Jul 21, 2012 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
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
I was initially pessimistic about “Just Ride,” although I was familiar with Petersen’s minimalist/traditional approach to cycling. Themed to convey the freeing nature of getting back to the roots and simplicity of the sport that’s been lost by succumbing to the racer culture, “Just Ride” eventually convinced me that I’m an “unracer” at heart.
Jun 01, 2013 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.
Scottsdale Public Library
JUST RIDE by Grant Petersen is an absolute blast of a book to read as it is an open and inclusive approach to riding your bike. Like the author proclaims in the beginning, I can see how some purists among the cycling community may take issue, but as a member of that same community, I found JUST RIDE to be informative, entertaining and it absolutely widened my perspective for the riding experience as whole. Grant Petersen who is an avid and longtime cyclists gives tips on riding technique, road s ...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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    Pulitzer Prize–winning literary critic Michiko Kakutani, the former chief book critic of The New York Times, is the author of the newly...
54 likes · 16 comments
“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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