Number 1: Summer 2012

This is the first issue of the Bicycle Reader, a new collection of quality writing about cycling. It is edited by Jack Thurston, presenter of The Bike Show and Tim Dawson, a Sunday Times journalist and editor of

Two thoughts inspired the Bicycle Reader. The first is that there is a great deal of brilliant article and essay-length writing about cycling that remains inaccessible to most readers. Some of it languishes out of print.  Other pieces appeared in publications read by only a tiny minority of cyclists. The second is that Kindles and other eBook readers are the natural companion of cyclists. They are light enough to fit unobtrusively in the saddle bag and have a battery life capable of providing reading material on even the most sustained odyssey.

In this issue, which runs to 20,000 words, are ten articles written at various moments over the past 130 years, from the very earliest days of the bicycle right up to today. Some are lighthearted, some demand deeper engagement. Mark Twain’s account of taming the bicycle is a classic, Violet Paget will leave you with an urge to head for the hills and Russ Roca will convince you why it’s never too late to discover the bicycle and what a life changing discovery it can be. In Albert Winstanley and Paul Lamarra’s contributions you will find more than mere fireside reflections on pleasurable days awheel. The best writing has the capacity to enrich the experience of cycling itself. And should you be in danger of becoming a cyclomaniac, ‘Rusticus’, writing in 1879, tenders a rebuke that still holds true today.

If you’ve got a Kindle, you’ll find it on Amazon: (if you’re in the UK). (if you’re elsewhere).

If you’ve a Kobo, it’s here.

For Nook, Sony and other readers the Smashwords edition is for you.

You can reader the Bicycle Reader on iPad, Android tablets, phones and ordinary computers, but you’ll need to install the relevant Amazon Kindle app first (free).

Articles in this issue:

Jack Thurston comes to terms with the hill climb

How Losing My Car Saved My Life
Los Angeles freeways led Russ Roca to the slow lane

Martin Ryle pedals in new dimensions

Taming the Bicycle
Mark Twain finds an uneasy equilibrium

My Bicycle and I
Violet Paget on getting lost to find your way

To Ribblesdale – by the back way
Albert Winstanley on a traitor’s Trough in Bowland

Inhabited Solitude
Paul Lamarra rides from the unknown to enlightenment west of the M74 motorway

Sometimes a Bike is Just a Bike
Alex Baca on the symbolism – and politics – of bicycling in Washington D.C.

‘Rusticus’ and ‘Goethe’ trade blows in a battle of obsessive compulsive Victorian values

Tim Dawson lets gravity do the work