Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's All About the Bike - Robert Penn

I admit that I was intrigued by this book because I just recently learnt how to cycle. And because I like the cover design. A shallow move of no regret.

Part biography part history part engineering I don't know what people categorise this book in, non-fiction oh yes. The writer narrates his journey to the one bicycle, not a perfect one, but his perfect one (And very expensive too). He laced it up with facts and the history of the two-wheel; and he did it brilliantly: lightly funny, warmly personal, heavy with content yet accessible even with plenty of technical terms. Now I know the history of random household names, Michelin, Dunlop, Benz, Ford, all related to this one amazing machine. The amazing machine which shapes our society in its subtle ways, something so obvious that I overlooked it before.

I find the writing to be my favourite bit, it keeps me turning the pages for more, for the language and the wisdom between the lines. The melancholic reference to workmanship and community.

"Not long ago, much of what we owned was alive with the skill, and even the idealism, of the people who made it - the blacksmith who forged our tools, the cobbler, the wood-turner, the carpenter, the wheelwright, and the seamstress and tailor who made the clothes we wore."

“The big house in the suburbs with a fence around it, then driving ten miles to school and twenty miles to work every day – this destroys communities.”

I might not be able to relate on his love towards cycling but the passion is evident within the pages. The review stops here – am highly recommending it to bike lovers and not.

This review is the second review featured by Alia Salleh. A "Very short actually," review (according to her), nevertheless it never failed to tempt me (and I know you too) to get the book! On behalf of The Buku Project, I'd like to thank her for her sweet effort :)