Book Review - Bicycling Street Smarts


As a fairly novice cyclist who commutes to work by bicycle, I have an interest in improving my urban cycling knowledge this year. I plan to read a few books on the subject, and I started with John S. Allen's Bicycling Street Smarts, a free book that can be read online here.

The book covers several basics that are important for any cyclist: starting and stopping, where to ride on the road, lane changes, riding through intersections, steering out of trouble, riding in groups, and riding in darkness or the rain. Many of the suggestions the book makes are fairly obvious but can take practice to incorporate into one's riding routine until they become second nature. In addition to clearly-written explanations of how to deal with various situations, the book also includes easy-to-understand images that depict the right and wrong ways to handle them. These images go a long way to helping the reader understand what to do at all times on the road. With the combination of the text and the images, I think it's safe to say that most readers will feel more confident on the road after reading this book.

Bicycling Street Smarts is fairly short and to-the-point, which was a great introduction to the topic for someone at my cycling competency level. It certainly helped me gain a bit of confidence in my own riding abilities, although I know that reading the information is one thing, but putting it into practice is a completely separate beast. Ultimately, I would recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in cycling on the road or any automobile drivers that want to better understand the regular obstacles that cyclists deal with.

4/5 stars. 46 pages.