The Girls' Bicycle Handbook: Everything You Need to Know About Life on Two Wheels

288p. index. photos. websites. Quercus. 2014. pap. $24.99. ISBN 9781623651497; ebk. $13.99. ISBN 9781623651503. LC 2013913400.
Gr 9 Up—British blogger and retailer Nicklin is on a mission to encourage more women to incorporate biking into their lives. Her guide starts with a brief overview of the history of women and biking, and the role that the bicycle played in the suffragette movement. The next several chapters provide solid information on choosing a bike that will best meet the user's needs, accessorizing it, and riding safely. The chapter on basic maintenance is excellent for novices. The narrative is broken into manageable chunks, with sidebars including "The Lazy Cyclist" and profiles of North American and European women for whom biking is an important part of life. Full-color photographs are often more decorative than enlightening. While Gale Bernhardt's Bicycling for Women (Velopress, 2008) covers some of the same ground, Bernhardt focuses on the activity as part of a comprehensive strength program, with attention to specific women's health issues. Nicklin's emphasis is cycling in style, with suggestions for fashions that are both fun and functional. Since she provides lots of detail on helmets, including how to ensure a proper fit and recommendations for manufacturers (all of which she carries on her website), her failure to mention the Hövding airbag helmet, which has been available in Europe since 2011, is surprising. Bottom line, there is much to like in this breezy, conversational guide that emphasizes the fun aspects of cycling. Unfortunately, poor grammar, run-on sentences, and spelling errors plague sections of the book and may be a distraction to readers.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

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