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The Christmas reading list for cycling as transport

The following books covering cycling as transport for your Christmas reading list are reader-recommend which also are highly rated generally.

The prices below are links to independent Irish book shops, you might also want to check your local book shop. These links were just added because they might be useful, has no connection with the book shops which are linked to.

From A to B: A Cartoon Guide to Getting Around by Bike
by Dave Walker
€13.15 / €17.55

If you spend any time following cycling Twitter or Facebook, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen one of Dave Walker’s cartoons.

In his own words, he describes the book as: “‘A manifesto for pedal-powered transport’, as it contains all the things I really wanted to say about riding a bike.  This is not so much about the sport side of cycling, but more about riding a bike as an everyday means of getting around, and all the joys and challenges that involves.”

He said some of the topics covered includes: “How to get started and choose a bike, staying safe, the problem of traffic, good and bad cycling infrastructure, responses to objections about cycling, going on adventures, and even a bit about how cycling can change the world.”

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle
by Dervla Murphy
4.06/5 on Goodreads

Murphy Dervla is described as “Ireland’s most prolific travel writer who for five decades has travelled the world mostly alone, and mostly by bicycle. A fiercely independent woman who turned her back on societal conventions at a time when few were as brave, she observed and recorded the world with wonder and curiosity, and an astute political sensibility. “

A few readers recommended any book by her and by name Full Tilt, her first book, was mentioned. It covers her cycling trip from Ireland to India where she started off, despite pleas from people who knew her, in the worst snowfall in Europe in the last century. Published in 1965, it’s the oldest book on this list.

Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality, and
Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives
by Melissa Bruntlett and Chris Bruntlett
€25.65/€25.74 / €29.12 /€31.05

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Melissa and Chris Bruntlett — two of the most famous non-Dutch advocates of Dutch cycling — wrote their first book, Building the Cycling City, before moving their family to the Netherlands to take up jobs promoting Dutch cycling. It details the Dutch blueprint and how even US cities are learning from it.

They are back this year with Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives. Now armed with more insights after experience living in the Netherlands. The second book is described as a mix of their personal story, research and interviews with experts to share the experience of living in a city designed for people.

Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution
by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
4.28/5 on Goodreads
€17.46 / €22.95

Janette Sadik-Khan served as New York City Department of Transportation under Commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg — basically, Sadik-Khan was the driving force when NYC started its journey to become a more cycling and people-friendly city. Seth Solomonow was her press secretary and agency’s chief media strategist who had to deal with a huge amount of backlash at the time.

Streetfight, with step-by-step visuals, dives into how cities can add protected bike paths, improve pedestrian spaces, and reduce speeding. But it’s it also covers the fights needed to get there and it is not confined to NYC, with examples around the world given.

Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World
by Peter Walker
4.16/5 on Goodreads
€14.83 / €17.55

The Guardian political correspondent, Peter Walker, has had a secondary job of reporting on cycling as transport, and in this book he takes it further and looks at how cycling can save the world. Not on its own, but it can help.

Walker is London-based but he looks at international examples. Even committed cyclists outline how Bike Nation has armed them with the arguments for how cycling can play its part for better streets, towns, cities and even a better world.

Bike Nation was published in 2017, since then, Walker has also published The Miracle Pill which covers walking and how sedentary living “now kills more people than obesity, despite receiving much less attention”.

Roads Were Not Built for Cars
by Carlton Reid 
4.12/5 on Goodreads
€29.12 / €31.05

Carlton Reid has covered cycling and transport for three decades. In this deep-dive book, he looks at the — as said on the cover — ‘how cyclists were the first to push for good roads and became the pioneers of motoring’.

It covers the strange story of how cyclist groups, not motorists, were the first to campaign for better roads as well as covering the history of roads and of the relationship between bicycles and cars. The focus is mainly on the US and UK, where he sourced a mountain of records, but many of the tales from there can be seen elsewhere. is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty

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