Used to be a faster cyclist; then again, was once dreadfully slow after resuming riding from years of jockeying a desk. Now fall between these extremes of speed; gained balance. Still aggravate motorists who race pass only to be overtaken at next traffic jam or light. This leapfrog action evokes emotion as it exposes drawbacks of automotive devotion.
Books foment exactly the same effect for authors, who argue who said what first as if any of that matters. Bike&Chain, composed in the decade between 1995 and 2005, only succumbed to distribution in 2008. Some of its observations appeared elsewhere before and since. Desire to rehash and unsolved issues persist; unwashed dishes in a kitchen sink sit and stink. Known tomes were acknowledged, even quoted, but others only get mentioned in appendix, remained unread, or were never identified. In penance for sins of omission, for 5 years Labann's blogs have documented this burgeoning culture. Interest will always be a reader's prerogative. Without critical filters, it would take a lifetime to read all this cycling malarky, churned out it seems to compete for attention without editorial restraint, which now rivals baseball in quantity of dedicated pages. But baseball isn't also a practical transportation modality. Public ought to be grateful so many writers have addressed this necessity even if they cover same ground during excessive hours of self imposed isolation.
Came across an excellent essay in UK journal Radical Philosophy, (168, July 2011) by Martin Ryle, "Vélorutionary?", which motivated this renewed literary search. Cited by Ryle, may have completely overlooked Zach Furness' One Less Car (Temple University Press, 2010, 360 pp), but that's probably because title didn't plainly convey cycling. So far in 2013 this smattering of new titles arrived among undoubtedly many others:
Joshua Mohr, Fight Song (Soft Skull Press, Berkeley, CA, 2013, 250 pp.) - milquetoast cyclist who designs video games for a living crashes his bike and rises no longer a small man but steely risk taker. Lively novel comments on contemporary foibles and illogical chaos of society today in an anarchic way. Cycling, however, is nearly overlooked otherwise.
Pete Jordan, In the City of Bikes (Harper Collins, New York, 2013, 438 pp.) - cultural tourism in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Labann appreciates Jordan's inclusion of numerous bibliographic sources, which show author has done research and paid attention. Yet don't know if he saw Bella Bathhurst's The Bicycling Book (HarperCollins, 2011, 356 pages) covering same territory.
Peter Cossins, Isabel Best, Chris Sidwells, Clare Griffith, Tour de France 100, (Cassell Illustrated, London, 2013, 288 pp., oversized) is a fascinating and well produced overview of realities surrounding sport's biggest spectacle and those who made it meaningful. Armstrong is still rightly credited with contributing drama and importance despite presumptuous officials determined to erase all memory of him. Doping for races occurred long before this event originated in 1903, and is rife in other sports, particularly football. Not even ancient Pharaohs, self made gods on earth, could totally obliterate all presence of predecessors and rivals.
Giovanni Flores, The Devil and My Bicycle (46 pp.) is a magic realism novella about a smitten youth who chases with obsession and won't give up when she says, "Bye bye."
Greg Borzo, RAGBRAI: America's Favorite Bicycle Ride (The History Press, 168 pp.) is a sincere followup to originator Karras' 1999 book on same topic and slim competitor to Brian Bruns' humorous Rumble Yell (World Waters, 274 pp.).
Emerging noted but not reviewed:
Donato Cinicolo, Me and My Bike (Constable, Fall of 2013, 208 pages); coffee table photo compilation.
Joe Kurmaskie, Guide to Falling Down (Breakaway Books, Fall of 2013); more adventures from author famous for Metal Cowboy.
Elly Blue, Bikenomics (Microcosm Publishing, Winter, 2014, 192 pp.); previously mentioned as a reporter of the cycling underground.