Ride of my Life - The Story of the Bicycle

If you’ve been reading my previous posts you’ll know that I’m about to rekindle a love of cycling so that I can lose some weight, get fit and generally enrich my life. Over the last few years whilst I skirted around cycling because I didn’t fit my expensive bike and it was uncomfortable and just not fun I indulged myself by reading quite a few cycling-related books, mainly travel journals. I’ll add some posts about them but I wanted to start with a particular book and the related TV show that I re-watched last night.

During the summer of 2010 the BBC broadcast a programme called ‘Ride of my Life: The Story of the Bicycle’ which is presented by Rob Penn (website and Twitter). It’s all about Rob’s quest to build his ultimate bike and sees him travelling around the world meeting various component manufacturers and buying their wares. As an added bonus, interspersed amongst it is a potted history of cycling.

What is fantastic about the programme is that Rob is wonderfully enthusiastic and is very passionate about cycling and the skill and quality of the manufacturers he meets. It’s very inspirational, not in terms of making you want to travel the world by bike or to buy components, but rather in terms of simply wanting to ride a bike for the sheer pleasure and joy it gives.

You can buy a copy of the DVD if you want to (details on Rob’s site) but there is also a book which the programme was actually based on.

It’s All About The Bike: In Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels (Amazon UK link, Amazon US link) is essentially the same story but with a lot more detail and whilst the TV programme is more instantly gratifying, the book, as is usual, is more well-rounded, more complete and more immersive.

The programme and the book are highly recommended, particular if you want something beyond the normal travelogue. I read the hardback book around a year ago but I’ve just bought the Kindle version which I’ll be starting tonight.