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Anyone Read The Art of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst?

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Anyone Read The Art of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst?

Old 01-24-10, 03:28 PM
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Anyone Read The Art of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst?

I just finished this book. It was written by a bicycle messenger. It is primarily about safety. His method takes what he feels is the best of the Vehicular cycling theory and meshes it with the Invisible cyclist theory. Some of his views are interesting, although I'm not sure I'd adhere 100% to what he says. I did like the book though.

Is anyone familiar with the book? I'm interested in any opinions you all might have.
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Old 01-24-10, 04:21 PM
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never heard of him.
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Old 01-24-10, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by FlaMike View Post
I just finished this book. It was written by a bicycle messenger. It is primarily about safety. His method takes what he feels is the best of the Vehicular cycling theory and meshes it with the Invisible cyclist theory. Some of his views are interesting, although I'm not sure I'd adhere 100% to what he says. I did like the book though.

Is anyone familiar with the book? I'm interested in any opinions you all might have.
Thanks for starting this thread. I haven't read this book but will put it on my reading list. It looks like the original edition isn't available but that a slightly revised version has been released with a slight change to the title. It's new title is "The Art of Cycling (A Guide to Bicycling in 21st Century America)." To get a feel for the contents, here's a link to the listings. Looks like an interesting read.

https://teeheehee.bostonbiker.org/200...urban-cycling/
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Old 01-24-10, 05:01 PM
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I need to get this book as soon as I get my financial aid. I don't have that much money right now...

Thanks for starting the thread!
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Old 01-24-10, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by GraysonPeddie View Post
I need to get this book as soon as I get my financial aid. I don't have that much money right now...

Thanks for starting the thread!
Check with your local library, it may be available there!
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Old 01-24-10, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Laserman View Post
Check with your local library, it may be available there!
That's where I got my copy.
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Old 01-24-10, 08:46 PM
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I will have to check which bus route will lead me to the local library. Besides, I don't have a bicycle yet and cannot drive a car due to my visual impairment.

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Old 01-24-10, 09:10 PM
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pretty good read. he's got another book out called the cyclist manifesto. the art of cycling has a lot of practical riding advice and a lot of great bicycling history.

Robert is a snappy writer about bicycling and offers darn good street smart advice about bicycling.
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Old 01-24-10, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
the art of cycling has a lot of practical riding advice and a lot of great bicycling history.
Yes, I agree. The history of the streetcar and automobile and how they shaped urban planning and how that effects cycling today was interesting.
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Old 01-24-10, 10:33 PM
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I think this book is excellent. He establishes something quite eloquent with the title alone- that cycling is an "art". Books about cycling that emphasize a kind of linear adherence to hard and fast "rules" tend to stimulate a mindset that is not flexible for the survival strategy necessary for effective urban cycling.

That you don't adhere 100% doesn't seem to be the point of the book in my opinion- I certainly wasn't 100% but I still thought it was a great book. That it gets you thinking and aware in the right way seems to be it's intention.

I believe he is a frequent poster in BF. Perhaps he'll weigh in. I recommend this book more frequently than almost any other for people looking for tips as they start commuting by bike to work.
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Old 01-25-10, 12:01 AM
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I haven't bought it, mainly because when I skimmed through it at Barnes & Noble, I kept agreeing with everything I was reading. I figured, "Eh, it makes sense to me, might as well keep doing what I'm doing."
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Old 01-25-10, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by FlaMike View Post
Is anyone familiar with the book?
I will check it out - thanks!

You should look at Urban Bikers' Tricks and Tips - Low-Tech and No-Tech ways to Find, Ride, and Keep a Bicycle by Mr. Bike Dave Glowacz (Wordspace Press)

I just read The Cyclist's Manifesto mentioned above. I liked it a lot.
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Old 01-25-10, 07:58 AM
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Art of Cycling is a good book to read when you begin riding. He definitely gives a nice practical background on safety issues.

Cyclists Manifesto is a good book as far as advocacy is concerned.

Hurst seems to be obsessed with A&S. I can't imagine why, we've got to be the biggest bunch of jerks around...
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Old 01-25-10, 08:32 AM
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The Art of Urban Cycling and its second edition, relabeled as The Art of Cycling, is a good book. It's the first book that got me interested in the vehicular cycling model, and my copy is pretty dog-eared. Good content, and written in an engaging yet tongue-in-cheek style.

Mr. Hurst hangs out here frequently in A&S...
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Old 01-25-10, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by FlaMike View Post
I just finished this book. It was written by a bicycle messenger. It is primarily about safety. His method takes what he feels is the best of the Vehicular cycling theory and meshes it with the Invisible cyclist theory. Some of his views are interesting, although I'm not sure I'd adhere 100% to what he says. I did like the book though.

Is anyone familiar with the book? I'm interested in any opinions you all might have.
Robert posts here from time to time.

I've read the book and have been looking for another book he wrote, called the Cyclist Manifesto. (actually found it at Powells before Xmas, but the lines were too long... )

Personally I think Robert Hurst hit the nail right on the head... His book is practical and straight forward.
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Old 01-25-10, 03:55 PM
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I know that some of you have read Cycle Craft by John Franklin (UK). If you're interested, he has now revised it for the US market.

It's certainly (IMHO) one of the best and clearest expositions of how to ride safely in traffic.
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Old 01-26-10, 10:52 AM
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... and of course I like his section on helmets...
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Old 01-28-10, 01:36 PM
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I've read it. I did a longer review at Amazon.com, but briefly, here's what I think:

Hurst wants to teach you to ride like a bike messenger. That's cool if you want to ride like a bike messenger, but it does absolutely nothing to help normal people learn how to bike. It's like a cookbook written for pro chefs, which assumes that you'll be getting into a commercial kitchen and cooking spectacular special meals, when what most people need is a cookbook that'll teach them how to cook something fast, simple, and healthy at home. He's ultimately a lot like Forester: he thinks the way the roads are now is the way they ought to be, and he's not really interested in people who don't identify themselves as cyclists. Status quo.

That said, he's got a lot of good observations and advice for those who want to ride in an intense, hard-core style. I just don't see my mom -- or most people -- wanting to do that. And we won't get a bike culture in this country until my mom feels comfortable out there.
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Old 01-28-10, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
I've read it. I did a longer review at Amazon.com, but briefly, here's what I think:

Hurst wants to teach you to ride like a bike messenger. That's cool if you want to ride like a bike messenger, but it does absolutely nothing to help normal people learn how to bike. It's like a cookbook written for pro chefs, which assumes that you'll be getting into a commercial kitchen and cooking spectacular special meals, when what most people need is a cookbook that'll teach them how to cook something fast, simple, and healthy at home. He's ultimately a lot like Forester: he thinks the way the roads are now is the way they ought to be, and he's not really interested in people who don't identify themselves as cyclists. Status quo.

That said, he's got a lot of good observations and advice for those who want to ride in an intense, hard-core style. I just don't see my mom -- or most people -- wanting to do that. And we won't get a bike culture in this country until my mom feels comfortable out there.
We won't (and haven't) built a bike culture using what Forester preaches either.

If we have any expectation of "mom" feeling comfortable riding a bike "out there," we're going to have to change "out there." The only places I have seen older folks comfortably riding were in places like Davis and Oulu Finland... which both have low speed limits and lots and lots of separated bike paths. A change like that in America will be a long time coming.
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Old 11-04-21, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
here's what I think:

Hurst wants to teach you to ride like a bike messenger. He's ultimately a lot like Forester: he thinks the way the roads are now is the way they ought to be, and he's not really interested in people who don't identify themselves as cyclists. Status quo.
Your review is really perplexing to me because I got almost the opposite out of it.
I found he went into great detail about two main types of urban riding, the vehicular style, where you act like a car, and invisible style, where you ride like no one can see you, and ultimately he advocates for a blending of these two styles. There was a lot of information about the hows and whys behind each style and how to use them to your advantage on the road, as well as when each style will work to your disadvantage.
The book went into great detail about how to start riding a bike, and the kinds of basic skills that are required to do so safely. It even has some suggestions about how one can start to develop those skills.
The biggest point he drives home again and again is that vigilance and conservative riding are the only things that will keep you alive on a bike when riding through any part of the USA; and that can't be overstated.

One of the conclusions one could come to after reading this book, is that to stay safe requires a lot of work, and to do so smoothly requires skills. So if you want to ride your bike in the United States, you have to WANT to ride your bike, and I think that really makes a statement about how our vehicular culture and bike culture clash here.

and as far as what genec says
Originally Posted by genec View Post

If we have any expectation of "mom" feeling comfortable riding a bike "out there," we're going to have to change "out there." The only places I have seen older folks comfortably riding were in places like Davis and Oulu Finland... which both have low speed limits and lots and lots of separated bike paths. A change like that in America will be a long time coming.
One of the places all people are comfortable on bikes is Japan. I've done quite a bit of riding in Tokyo, Kyoto, Aomori, and Sapporo, and one of the interesting things is that there is hardly any dedicated bicycle infrastructure anywhere. Bicycles are virtually lawless, other than you can't ride with an open umbrella, or headphones in your ears. I would see grandmothers with two small to medium sized children clinging to the bicycle as they pedaled along, in the street with traffic, and on sidewalks, and through alleyways. Bicycles are unanimously accepted by the vehicular population, and there is no fuss. One of the fun things about their traffic laws is that if a car and a bicycle collide the car is always responsible for the accident. Of course that wouldn't work here, because people in the US are short sighted and would just be riding their bikes into cars all the time to collect money for damages. But in Japan the culture understands the immense implications of a bicycle friendly society, and everyone respects that.
So I say all that just to point out that there are other ways to cultivate bike-able cities without having to invest in massive amounts of infrastructure.
I think the point that Hurst is trying to make in his book is that in the United States, as long as you're respecting pedestrians, and the fact that cars can kill you, the patient and vigilant bike rider is free to go wherever they please; and that if bicycle infrastructure reached a point where it became so prolific it was legally deemed the primary and/or mandatory route for bike riders, we would be losing a lot of the freedom that can currently be enjoyed by the vigilant rider.
Some of what we think is wrong with the world is merely the pain we feel by being attached to the different ideas we have in our heads about how things SHOULD be. If you bike like you expect nothing from anyone or anything, and can be ready to work around that, you find yourself on much more enjoyable rides.
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Old 11-04-21, 10:18 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by BicycleSafari View Post
Your review is really perplexing to me because I got almost the opposite out of it.
I found he went into great detail about two main types of urban riding, the vehicular style, where you act like a car, and invisible style, where you ride like no one can see you, and ultimately he advocates for a blending of these two styles. There was a lot of information about the hows and whys behind each style and how to use them to your advantage on the road, as well as when each style will work to your disadvantage.
The book went into great detail about how to start riding a bike, and the kinds of basic skills that are required to do so safely. It even has some suggestions about how one can start to develop those skills.
The biggest point he drives home again and again is that vigilance and conservative riding are the only things that will keep you alive on a bike when riding through any part of the USA; and that can't be overstated.

One of the conclusions one could come to after reading this book, is that to stay safe requires a lot of work, and to do so smoothly requires skills. So if you want to ride your bike in the United States, you have to WANT to ride your bike, and I think that really makes a statement about how our vehicular culture and bike culture clash here.

and as far as what genec says


One of the places all people are comfortable on bikes is Japan. I've done quite a bit of riding in Tokyo, Kyoto, Aomori, and Sapporo, and one of the interesting things is that there is hardly any dedicated bicycle infrastructure anywhere. Bicycles are virtually lawless, other than you can't ride with an open umbrella, or headphones in your ears. I would see grandmothers with two small to medium sized children clinging to the bicycle as they pedaled along, in the street with traffic, and on sidewalks, and through alleyways. Bicycles are unanimously accepted by the vehicular population, and there is no fuss. One of the fun things about their traffic laws is that if a car and a bicycle collide the car is always responsible for the accident. Of course that wouldn't work here, because people in the US are short sighted and would just be riding their bikes into cars all the time to collect money for damages. But in Japan the culture understands the immense implications of a bicycle friendly society, and everyone respects that.
So I say all that just to point out that there are other ways to cultivate bike-able cities without having to invest in massive amounts of infrastructure.
I think the point that Hurst is trying to make in his book is that in the United States, as long as you're respecting pedestrians, and the fact that cars can kill you, the patient and vigilant bike rider is free to go wherever they please; and that if bicycle infrastructure reached a point where it became so prolific it was legally deemed the primary and/or mandatory route for bike riders, we would be losing a lot of the freedom that can currently be enjoyed by the vigilant rider.
Some of what we think is wrong with the world is merely the pain we feel by being attached to the different ideas we have in our heads about how things SHOULD be. If you bike like you expect nothing from anyone or anything, and can be ready to work around that, you find yourself on much more enjoyable rides.
You've revived a thread where the last post was 11 years ago. LOL I wonder how old the oldest revived Zombie thread is?

Cheers
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Old 11-05-21, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
You've revived a thread where the last post was 11 years ago. LOL I wonder how old the oldest revived Zombie thread is?

Cheers
I think there was one from 2004 last year. The last edition of this book was published 10 years ago.

Does anyone actually read these self-appointed gurus at this point?
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Old 11-05-21, 07:54 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by BicycleSafari View Post
Your review is really perplexing to me because I got almost the opposite out of it.
I found he went into great detail about two main types of urban riding, the vehicular style, where you act like a car, and invisible style, where you ride like no one can see you, and ultimately he advocates for a blending of these two styles. There was a lot of information about the hows and whys behind each style and how to use them to your advantage on the road, as well as when each style will work to your disadvantage.
The book went into great detail about how to start riding a bike, and the kinds of basic skills that are required to do so safely. It even has some suggestions about how one can start to develop those skills.
The biggest point he drives home again and again is that vigilance and conservative riding are the only things that will keep you alive on a bike when riding through any part of the USA; and that can't be overstated.

One of the conclusions one could come to after reading this book, is that to stay safe requires a lot of work, and to do so smoothly requires skills. So if you want to ride your bike in the United States, you have to WANT to ride your bike, and I think that really makes a statement about how our vehicular culture and bike culture clash here.

and as far as what genec says


One of the places all people are comfortable on bikes is Japan. I've done quite a bit of riding in Tokyo, Kyoto, Aomori, and Sapporo, and one of the interesting things is that there is hardly any dedicated bicycle infrastructure anywhere. Bicycles are virtually lawless, other than you can't ride with an open umbrella, or headphones in your ears. I would see grandmothers with two small to medium sized children clinging to the bicycle as they pedaled along, in the street with traffic, and on sidewalks, and through alleyways. Bicycles are unanimously accepted by the vehicular population, and there is no fuss. One of the fun things about their traffic laws is that if a car and a bicycle collide the car is always responsible for the accident. Of course that wouldn't work here, because people in the US are short sighted and would just be riding their bikes into cars all the time to collect money for damages. But in Japan the culture understands the immense implications of a bicycle friendly society, and everyone respects that.
So I say all that just to point out that there are other ways to cultivate bike-able cities without having to invest in massive amounts of infrastructure.
I think the point that Hurst is trying to make in his book is that in the United States, as long as you're respecting pedestrians, and the fact that cars can kill you, the patient and vigilant bike rider is free to go wherever they please; and that if bicycle infrastructure reached a point where it became so prolific it was legally deemed the primary and/or mandatory route for bike riders, we would be losing a lot of the freedom that can currently be enjoyed by the vigilant rider.
Some of what we think is wrong with the world is merely the pain we feel by being attached to the different ideas we have in our heads about how things SHOULD be. If you bike like you expect nothing from anyone or anything, and can be ready to work around that, you find yourself on much more enjoyable rides.
"Free to go where you please" is not the same as "Bicycles being unanimously accepted by the vehicular population, and there is no fuss." In the US we have motorists that do not accept cyclists "using roads built for cars," and those motorists will buzz you, do rolling coal, honk, and even throw things at you. Yes, you as a cyclist can be assertive, and fight for your rights to the road, but it is hardly a feeling of freedom and contentment... it can be a constant daily struggle, and risk... depending on the location. Cyclists are not unanimously accepted by the vehicular population, but are merely tolerated in many places... with some places even creating laws to forbid cycling on their local roads.

I encountered a very positive cycling environment in Oulu, Finland... it was a huge huge contrast to what I encountered as a daily commuter in San Diego. I did "go where I pleased," in San Diego, but it certainly wasn't without the pain of regular harassment.
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Old 11-06-21, 10:26 AM
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[QUOTE=BicycleSafari;22296476]Your review is really perplexing to me because I got almost the opposite out of it.
I found he went into great detail about two main types of urban riding, the vehicular style, where you act like a car, and invisible style, where you ride like no one can see you, and ultimately he advocates for a blending of these two styles. There was a lot of information about the hows and whys behind each style and how to use them to your advantage on the road, as well as when each style will work to your disadvantage.
The book went into great detail about how to start riding a bike, and the kinds of basic skills that are required to do so safely. It even has some suggestions about how one can start to develop those skills.
The biggest point he drives home again and again is that vigilance and conservative riding are the only things that will keep you alive on a bike when riding through any part of the USA; and that can't be overstated.
/QUOTE]

I don't think you quite understand my point. I was saying (eleven years ago, but I stand by it) that if you need "a lot of information about the hows and whys of each style," and you're OK with a situation where "vigilance and conservative riding are the only things that will keep you alive on a bike," then you're not interested in making biking accessible to 99% of the U.S. population. I'm not just making up that percentage, by the way; it's the percentage Roger Geller found in his well-known Portland survey (Jennifer Dill's nationwide survey put it at 93%. Not a big practical difference). Normal people don't want to do something that seems really dangerous and requires specialized skills. So I don't think Hurst has (had?) much to offer for anyone who's not already deeply committed to biking.

In the seventeen years since Hurst's book came out, and the eleven years since this thread started, the separated-infrastructure situation has changed dramatically in NYC, Minneapolis, Chicago, and DC, among other places, and everyday ridership by people who aren't bike hobbyists has increased dramatically. Hurst's outlook might have made sense in the '90s, when nobody could imagine that U.S. streets could change. Nowadays, it seems mostly irrelevant.
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Old 11-07-21, 07:02 AM
  #25  
Paul Barnard
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I think there was one from 2004 last year. The last edition of this book was published 10 years ago.

Does anyone actually read these self-appointed gurus at this point?
I read this book. I had been riding a long time before I read it. My intuition and experience led me to a style and thought process that is very similar to the authors. He's more of a stickler for obeying the law than I am.
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