Book reviews

"Mindful thoughts for cyclists" (Nick Moore, 2017)

I first saw this book in a sort of pop up shop in Antwerp with all sorts of cool cycling gizmos. There was so much choice that I... just... left emptyhanded. Decision paralysis!

A year and a half later, I'm on a day off, idly browsing a bookshop in Shoreditch, and I find the book again. It's a signal: time to get it!

I start reading it in the company of iced coffee, overseeing the monumentally ugly Silicon Roundabout. Later on, I hop on the tube, walk to a shop, find it's closed (yay for boutiques with erratic opening times), I realise I'm actually closer than I thought from home, so I find a nearby TFL bike station, hop on the bike and start experiencing the joy of mindful cycling...

It's a warm July afternoon, it's sunny, I'm vaguely aware of the direction I need to follow, I get lost a few times, but I slowly find my way around until I connect with the area I am familiar with. I'm aware of the heat, the sunlight between the leaves, the sweat under my armpits, the wind I create as I move, cooling me down (specially in the armpits). It's a good ride.

It is not the most perfect book ever, some things just leave me a bit "eh?", and I would have liked more thoughts on urban cycling---the author seems to live in a pretty suburb and has way more chances than I do to stop and witness nature--- but there are some beautiful reflections here. I often bring them back to my mind when I'm frustrated while cycling:

  • focusing on the spindle which holds everything together as we pedal
  • the resistance from gravity and the incline
  • the smell and quality of the air
  • how are my muscles feeling right now
  • etc

Some more I've developed, inspired by the book:

  • looking at the patterns of traffic lights when waiting for a green light
  • actually counting how many cars get through a green light
  • how are people dressed
  • how slow can you go without losing momentum? what's the most comfortable way to just enjoy the ride?

It's also quite nice physically-wise: a little square-ish book. Interesting form factor. Agreeable formatting and layout. The drawings are a bit too digital for my liking, but I can live with them. I like all the cycle drawings and drawings of people on cycles.

Definitely enjoyable.