DC bloggers get a lot of e-mails about cycling products and events; we’re asked to review them, endorse them, and basically spread the word. Since I’m considered the “literary one” of DC, I often get the book reviews coming my way. That’s great; I love reading, and I’m happy to give a CRITICAL REVIEW when necessary. That doesn’t mean I’m always happy to stroke a new product; sometimes they suck. When they’re awesome, I’ll glow.
A few weeks ago, a copy of Alan Canfield’s ‘Watch Your Line’ landed in my mailbox. When I opened the package, I recognized a self-published book immediately. I dig self-publishing; I think it’s been a great outlet for good authors, but I’ve seen enough self-pub books to know that the vast majority of them suck. Canfield’s cover design did not dissuade me of this belief.
Design aside, however, Canfield’s book is actually quite useful. It’s a slim book, and it’s intended for, as Canfield states, intermediate riders. The techniques described in the book seem pretty rudimentary if you’ve been riding bikes a long time, but as I read, I found myself thinking, man, these are some techniques I should probably brush up on.
My favorite part of this book is Canfield’s general attitude toward cyclists and cycling: “Every time we get on our bike and ride down the road,we are advocates and ambassadors for cycling.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. The way Canfield writes will tip the reader off that as a cyclist, you are in a vulnerable position; but you are not without your own responsibilities, both to yourself and to the cycling community at large. This is an attitude I can get on board with, because it’s one I generally practice.
The prose is nothing to write home about. He writes like an engineer—and incidentally, he is one. You won’t be riveted or glued to the page, but for quick reference and straightforward description, the book is solid. The table of contents is VERY thorough, and the book is easy to navigate. No B.S. filler here; Canfield gets right to the point and stays there.
So would I recommend it?
Yes and no.
I’d recommend it to beginner riders or intermediates who have not taken the time to learn proper procedures for cycling. I would not recommend it for all intermediate cyclists. If Canfield wanted to develop a broader appeal, a bit more proofreading and some professional cover design would go a long way. Otherwise, a solid read with a positive message ALL cyclists can benefit from.
D2 gives it 4 out of 5 spores.
The next book review will happen in a few weeks: “Gold” by Chris Cleave. Got a copy direct from Simon and Schuster…pretty cool.