Book Review: “Just Ride” promotes the Spandex-Free Zone of bicycling

Just Ride

Grant Petersen doesn’t think you need all that gear or all those gears in this guide for everyday people who ride every day.

“Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike” by Grant Petersen is a “just do it!” spandex-free guide to bicycling.

Petersen, a bicycle racer wants to encourage “unracers” to use their bikes as transportation and recreation, not a style statement. It is a reaction against the commodification of bicycling. You can hear his June 5 interview on the website for Lake Effects, WUWM 89.7 public radio, or read a summary of the interview.

In the interview by  AND , He busts three myths about cycling today.

  1. Lycra is a bicyclists’ best friend: Dress for comfort. Dress appropriately for your destination. Bike shops sells clothes to make money, not make you a better cyclist.
  2. Helmets aren’t invincible: There is not much difference, if any, between the $40 helmet and the $400 helmet when it comes to safety. They all have to meet minimum government standards. Petersen advises a helmet does not make you safe. It just softens the blows. Ride like you are not wearing a helmet.
  3. Eight is enough: When we were kids, we had three gears; then 10 gears. Now some bikes have 30 gears. But almost any urban topography can be conquered with 8 gears. (This goes along with the three-speed theory of life. We have 21 possibilities, but habitually use only three.)

WUWM reports Petersen lives in California and owns Rivendell Bicycle Works, a maker of steel bike frames.