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Cycling to work - a beginner's guide



Keenly priced novice friendly guide to everyday riding

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Cycling to work is one of those books striking the right balance, managing to be accessible, well written and informative without being evangelical, and it's cheap enough to captivate the curious. It’s aimed at those tempted by the idea of commuting to work-either by health, costs of living or simply convenience. The cover shot is spot on, depicting riders in everything from city brogues through to stiletto heels, dismissing the myth that utility cycling requires specialist clothing.

Assuming no prior knowledge, the pocket sized guide discusses the time honoured topics of buying the right bike, riding safely in traffic, choosing routes, using cycling as part of an integrated means of transport and a smattering of basic mechanics. Well trodden paths they might be but a conversational, informative tone runs throughout, interjected with handy real-life tips from recent commuting converts including leaving scent free baby wipes, changes of footwear etc at the office and other practical time/vanity saving tips.

Great care has been taken both in tone and photographic representation to include all sections of society and professions from parents and children riding the school run to executives brandishing Moulton through the rush hour. There’s even a series of case studies giving promotion and in fairness, credit to firms with cycle friendly policies. Thankfully the closing chapters discuss cycling’s wider horizons including lists of organisations and further reading. Overall, this is a very likeable, genuinely inspiring guide. Being critical, suggested prices for bikes/equipment were a little low and there were a couple of grainy images but these are very minor points.


Keenly priced novice friendly guide to everyday riding

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Make and model: Green Books Cycling to work - a beginner's guide

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

As the title suggests it's a practical guide aimed at cycling commuter virgins and manages the right tone, assumes no prior knowledge but doesn't patronise the audience.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

95 paperback pages complemented by full colour photography and covers the time honoured topics buying the right bike and equipment, riding safely in traffic, finding the best routes to work, cycling as a component of integrated transport, basic mechanics.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Sturdy pocket sized guide.

Rate the product for performance:

Delivers exactly what the cover promises.

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Well written and informative with a nice tone. Gender neutral and should go down well with anyone wanting to start riding to work but unsure of where to start.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good tone, gender neutrality, covered most topics well- or at least well enough as a foundation for wider reading.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

One or two images were slightly grainy.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Novices, yes

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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