By now, if you’re a bicyclist, you’ve read all the reviews you could handle for Grant Petersen‘s book, Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike. In the comments for Lovely Bicycle’s review, Grant himself wrote, and offered to give ten readers of the blog a copy of his book. (He gave away 30, and the offer is now closed.) On a whim I wrote to him and asked for a copy, not really expecting to get one. But right before Christmas, a box appeared on my doorstep, and I received a signed copy of his book.
As Grant writes in his introduction, “you’ll disagree often, but I’m not asking you to buy everything– just to consider everything.” So, in that spirit, here are some points in the book that were new to me and that I spent some time thinking about.
Beausage. Pronounced “byoo-sidj,” it’s the combination of the words “beauty” and “usage.” It means the beauty of an item that has been used, as opposed to a shiny new item. Grant maintains that bikes should wear down and have beausage. I’m still thinking this over. I admit to being enticed by the shiny.
The S24O. This stands for the “sub-24-hour overnight” trips, in which you ride to a campsite or overnight destination and then ride back. The point is to be with friends and enjoy riding on a short trip– it doesn’t have to be a 4-day tour. I think it’s a great idea, and I hope to do it sometime soon.
Know Your Guts. I have a record of my cholesterol and triglycerides levels. I never thought to check my blood glucose on a regular basis with a cheap kit. It would help to confirm how my body processes foods. And as I’ve mentioned, I need to know my heart rate on climbs. I just bought a heart rate monitor, so I’ll be writing about what my findings are there.
Keeping Score So You Always Win. There are many times when I feel discouraged about my lack of progress, but I like what Grant says here, “who does more work? The guy [running a marathon] who carries 133 pounds (his body weight) for two hours, sixteen minutes or the guy who carries 190 pounds for four hours, forty-five minutes? We know who gets the trophy, but that’s not the question.” Who’s the superhero here? How can I ride so that I feel like a winner?
Is this book worth reading? Yes, especially for people starting out on cycling, but also as a reminder for those Lycra-clad folks to remember that it isn’t only about the posing and suffering. But really, the title sums it up. If you want to ride a bike, don’t overthink it. Just Ride.