Welcome to the online appendix to my new book Everyday Bicycling, a guide to getting started riding a bicycle for transportation. This is an evolving list of resources that I particularly recommend for readers of the book who want to expand on some of the topics in it or connect with one of the many bicycling subcultures out there.
Also, if you have questions to ask (or tips to share) about everyday biking topics, I’ve started an interactive advice blog for that purpose.
Good reading if you’re just getting started
- Let’s Go Ride a Bike (LGRAB) is often credited for luring first time cyclists out onto the streets, often in skirts and heels and with a front basket full of fresh farm vegetables.
- Lovely Bicycle! features highly literate and technical but accessible reviews and commentary, and features a sidebar of posts that offer guidance on both bicycle choice and cycling skills.
- Simply Bike (see family section below) has a great selection of posts on basic topics, highly recommended for new riders.
- Everyday Biking (pdf) is an excellent, basic, graphic-heavy guide to getting started, put together by a Chicago advocacy organization.
- REI offers handy tips about bike fit.
- A guide for larger-bodied cyclists.
- Are you short in stature? Half Draft is a website devoted to your bicycling needs. Focus is on sports cycling, but still useful for daily riders.
- Surly hilariously summarizes their answers to just about every technical question you might ever have.
Tips for biking in all conditions
- Clothing tips for riding in the summer
- Very hot weather
- Live in a rainy climate? Here are some tips for dressing in the rain and here are some more.
- Staying warm and dry on a budget
- IceBike is the best comprehensive online source for cycling in ice and snow
- Lots of steep ups and downs in your way? Here’s how Seattle riders deal with hills.
- The SF Bicycle Coalition has an excellent guide to bicycling with your family. (Free to download, once you register.)
- Carfree With Kids is a great resource. Angela and Dorea in Cambridge, MA post about their own lives carfree with two kids, bike reviews, and interviews with other carfree families. Also recommended: Their article on “How to be a Carfree Family” in Yes! Magazine.
- Simply Bike is about cycling, parenting, and life, with an academic and feminist bent (also, there’s a great series of posts about bicycling while pregnant)
- Totcycle is a long-running family biking blog out of Seattle with lots of gear reviews. Covers the safety question with thorough aplomb.
- Car Free Days is another long-running blog out of Seattle with an excellent story to tell.
- Chicargobike mixes family updates with useful posts on topics like how to build your own balance bike. Lots of tips for kids’ bike shopping.
- A Simple Six chronicles the life of a family of six living car-lite in Huntington, WV
- A Civilized Conveyance a Portland, Oregon couple post sporadic but worthwhile missives about topics like bicycling to the birth center.
- A reminder that your first cargo bike doesn’t have to be your one and only from family blog Full Hands
US cargo bike shops
Thinking about incorporating some test riding into your next family vacation? Here are some recommended shops to visit, broken down by city.
- Portland Portland is blessed with three shops focused on city, cargo, and family bikes. Clever Cycles is the original. The shop has a family focus and promotes a lifestyle characterized by sitting upright and riding at conversational speed, and carries cargo bikes, city bikes, family bikes, folding bikes, gear, and attire with this in mind. Splendid Cycles caters to families and businesses alike, offering a small but robust selection of cargo bikes, longtails, and cycle trucks, including both imports and locally made models. Joe Bike has a more eclectic selection that changes frequently.
- New York Rolling Orange imports a wide variety of bikes from the Netherlands. Adeline Adeline is a “bicycle boutique” with a small selection of city bikes and accessories for the fashionable cyclist. Hudson Urban Bicycles has an interesting selection of cargo and kid carriers.
- San Francisco My Dutch Bike has a good variety.
- Los Angeles Flying Pigeon LA imports a wide range of city and cargo bikes from all over the world.
- Seattle Dutch Bike Co. has several options.
Blue Heron in Berkeley has a mix of cargo and commuter bikes and are expert at converting old mountain bikes into practical everyday bikes; great for new riders. The Bicycle Works in hilly San Anselmo (Marin) is a nonprofit shop with good cargo bike and electric assist options.
If you’re on a budget or if you’re so inclined, why not build your own cargo bike? Tom LaBonty shows you how to make a sturdy front-loader using materials and tools found in your garage. Or buy an Xtracycle conversion kit to convert your everyday bike into a hauling machine.
Note: There are more shops throughout the U.S. that carry just one line of cargo bikes. To find those, check out the bike companies’ dealer listings. A few places to start: Yuba, Madsen, Xtracycle, WorkCycles, Boxcycles, Bullitt, Buddy Bike, KidzTandem, Gazelle/Yepp …
Bike culture links
Below are some of my favorite books about everyday bicycle transportation. Each of them is a good supplement to Everyday Bicycling (which you can buy directly from me here or pre-order from Amazon or Powell’s (it comes out Dec 1, 2012).
I’ve provided several options for each—major retailers are affiliate links. (For a longer and more general list of recommended bike related books, go here.)
- How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish (Powell’s) (Amazon). A great basic guide to living by bus and bicycle, and on foot.
- The Art of Cycling by Robert Hurst (Powell’s) (Amazon). If Everyday Bicycling is the beginner’s guide, this book is the intermediate level—your next step.
- Women on Wheels by April Streeter (via Taking the Lane) (direct from author) (Powell’s). A Portlander’s how-to transportation bicycling guide written specifically for women. Gorgeously designed, and includes some interesting history and culture notes.
- On Bicycles edited by Amy Walker (Powell’s) (Amazon). A fun compendium of writing about bicycle culture, bikes, and things to do by bike, with essays ranging from the whimsical to technical (I contributed two chapters, one about safety in numbers and one about the history of women in cycling).
- The Chainbreaker Bike Book by Shelly Lynn Jackson and Ethan Clark (via Taking the Lane). The first half of this book is one of the very best, most accessible, and most encouraging beginners’ guides to bicycle repair I’ve encountered. The second half reprints a series of zines full of compelling stories by members of a community bike shop in New Orleans before Katrina.