Monday, May 31, 2010

Non-Fiction Monday: Cyclist BikeList – The Book for Every Rider


When I’d first heard that I had been chosen to receive a copy of Cyclist BikeList,  I was thrilled.  Not only do I love to collect children’s books, but I am very fond of all things educational, and from what I could glean, this book fit the bill.

Who doesn’t remember the first time they set flight on a bicycle without the assistance of training wheels, or a parents protective grip?  The feeling of confidence and sheer joy that I felt at this milestone moment in my life has not been easily matched since. 

Although children don’t ride bikes in the numbers nor the frequency that they used to prior to this age of technology, Cyclist BikeList could be just the type of book to inspire young riders to get out there and explore what excitement and adventure a bicycle in the outdoors has to offer.

To show just how far we’ve come with the technology of  the bicycle, this informative book begins with the course of its evolution.  Playful illustrations show us the bikes humble beginnings as a pedal-less, wooden device back in 1817 to its safer and much improved current form almost two hundred years later. 

For the technically inclined, there is a detailed diagram used to show the various parts that make up a modern bicycle, while the ins and outs of bicycle engineering are also outlined as it is explained how a bicycle works via the combination of its parts and their specific mechanics. 

Riding tips are found in the text, or through an illustrated character’s conversation bubbles as asides throughout.  There are elaborate instructions on how to change gears properly, as well as little things, like, that you should “always pedal with the ball of your foot for maximum efficiency.”

Parents will appreciate the advice on how to shop for a bike, how riders can stay safe while riding, and what the important legal requirements are regarding helmets, signaling and the obeying of traffic signs.  Since this is a Canadian book, most of the information provided is surrounding Canadian laws, but is still useful to any cyclist looking to keep safe.  One would be wise to check out their local laws regarding cycling regardless of where you live, as regulations can change and need to be stayed on top of. 

As well as extensive checklists detailing the essentials needed, there are instructional sections on how to dress appropriately for safety, comfort and hygiene, and what accessories are required for different types and lengths of bike rides.

As well as an extensive chapter on how to maintain your bicycle, there is another on how to help the rider maintain their health, and what it takes to properly fuel the body.  The author breaks down the importance of complex carbs, protein and other crucial vitamins and nutrients, as well as addressing a cyclist’s need to eat and stay well hydrated while riding, in order to keep energy levels up. 

Cyclist BikeList is the perfect blend of history, mechanics, safety and inspiration. Although I have seen some websites recommend it for 7-9 year olds, I find it to be geared (no pun intended) more towards the 9-12 year old.  That being said, this is a beautifully illustrated and colourful reference material that will keep any cycling-minded child, teen or adult reading right through to the last page. 

One thing I think this book could have used was a glossary of terms at the back, as I am certain that most children don’t know the meaning of ‘pneumatic’ or ‘centrifugal.’  On the other had, this may encourage a child to take a moment to look the words up, which is always helpful to a growing vocabulary.  Strangely, there were some instances where the definition of a tough word was provided in parenthesis after it was used, like in the case of ‘metallurgy,’ I’m just not sure how some words missed this special attention.

Cyclist BikeList has a wealth of information and not only is it the perfect reference guide for a child doing a project on ‘the bicycle,’ it could be an important factor in choosing the right bike for a new rider, or helpful to an experienced rider planning an extended cycling trip. 

I would definitely recommend this book to others, and I’m excited to be able to add it to my collection.

4/5 Snakes


Non-Fiction Monday is a weekly event celebrated by various blogs throughout the kidlitosophere.  To participate you have to write about a non-fiction book for kids, paste the Non-fiction Monday button in your post, then link your post to the blog that is hosting the round-up for that respective week. 

This weeks round-up post is being hosted by Lori Calabrese, so be sure to link your post to hers if you are participating, by clicking on the button above. 

Although I am not part of any specific blogosphere, I have received a copy of Cyclist BikeList – The Book for Every Rider, from Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program, and felt it was a perfect fit for this meme.


  1. Sounds like a cool book and one I should perhaps recommend to several avid cyclists I know (one of whom works with kids planning bike trips for the underpriviledged).

  2. This really does sound like a cool book. Like you said, the number of children riding bikes has dwindled, since competing with video games, texting, and computers, so this could be just the book they need to get moving!

    Thanks for sharing on Nonfiction Monday!

  3. There are likely lots of cyclists in New Mexico whose children would enjoy this book. It sounds like it's written for the enthusiast, but it just might get them interested.

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  5. Cyclist BikeList sounds like a great book!

  6. Kristen~ This would be a wonderful reference guide for your friend, I agree.

    Lori~ It certainly is. Thanks for hosting Non-Fiction Monday.

    Shirley~ I don't doubt it. I'm sure it would get them interested.

    Wild About Writing Trio~ Indeed it is.

  7. PeachyTO, I am a bit late in responding, so appreciated your drop by Rasco from RIF; thank you for guiding me to your first Nonfiction Monday post. I shared this book and your comments with several RIF staff who are working with cycling groups in DC. Thanks again!

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