Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Bicycle Diaries

Over the holidays, I've been reading like crazy. Yesterday I finished David Byrne's (of Talking Heads) The Bicycle Diaries. I had heard about it through USA Today, which is where I get many ideas about what I should be reading. I guess I assumed too much. I figured that Byrne, who has been using bicycles as his main form of daily transportation since the 80s, would preach about the benefits of biking over driving, and offer insight on all those things you can miss seeing and hearing if you're in an automobile instead of riding in open air. Not so.

Byrne covers cities all over the world and gives interesting facts about each. There is, however, a huge disconnect most of the time between the cities and their info, and how biking fits into this new-found knowledge. Byrne talks about all sorts of things, but they are things that I should think you could know about from visiting a city no matter what form of transportation you used while you were there.

Finally, he stops the jibber-gabber near the end of the book and gets around to talking about his work to make cities more biking-friendly. He's apparently pretty active in this movement in New York City, a place he says is getting better and better for bike riders all the time.

Typically I love reading memoir and especially when the writer covers places he or she has traveled. This time, though, it was a bust.

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