There are many great books out there for those times when you are not riding. Whether you are resting up after a long ride; camped out under the stars on a bike packing trip; or looking for ideas to broaden your horizons, there will hopefully be something here to interest you.
Bike Nation – Peter Walker
Peter came to see us in March 2018. A little while before that I read his book and was thoroughly impressed. If you ever wanted all of the arguments ever made for why cycling is awesome, all in one handy-sized book, this is what you need.
Both entertaining and overflowing with information, Bike Nation is very much worth your time.
It’s all about the bike – Robert Penn
Illustrious member of the Abergavenny fraternity, we recently met Robert during Jack Thurston’s excellent ‘slow food’ tour through the Monmouthshire hills. Rob is a broadcaster as well as an author, passionate about bicycles, about cycling and lately about wheat and wood.
This is the book that accompanies the excellent documentary that follows Rob on his pursuit of the best parts for his new, custom bicycle.
Lost Lanes Wales: 36 Glorious Bike Rides in Wales and the Borders – Jack Thurston
Another illustrious member of the Abergavenny fraternity, Jack has spent the past few years scouring the UK for the paths less travelled –the lost lanes.
Lost Lanes Wales is a compendium of Jack’s scenic discoveries on his travels around Wales. Aside from some beautiful photography, the book also includes links to the GPS tracks for each ride.
Messengers – Julian Sayarer
Julian was a bike messenger, before heading off around the world on his bike, circling the globe in 169 days. However, he soon found his way back to the mean streets of London to return to his old job at a time of great change and upheaval in the City.
Messengers is the story of his many ups and downs during his return to couriering; his commentary on the mystifying City of London that was still reeling from the financial meltdown of 2008
Julian is an excellent wordsmith who, in addition to Messengers has written a number of books and contributed many an article to Boneshaker magazine. However, Messengers is a good place to start. You can get it from Waterstones here, or Amazon here, but you may also find it at Cardiff Central Library.
On simplicity and personal finance…
Minimalism: Live a meaningful life – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
I came across Joshua & Ryan’s documentary on Netflix at a time when, after unconsciously ploughing through my 30s without any real plan and watching in horror as things started to unravel. It was the wakeup call that I needed.
Minimalism is all about stripping back to only the essentials, which is not just good for your finances, but the planet as well. There are few things simpler than bicycles.
Aside from creating an excellent documentary, they’ve written a few great books that I return to time and time again. This is the first one in a series, followed by Everything That Remains and Essential.
However, start with this one.
Dave Ramsey – The Total Money Makeover
Dave Ramsey has a no-nonsense approach to getting your finances in order, living within your means and building a solid financial footing.
If you’ve ever heard of the debt snowball, it is probably from this book. It, as well as a number of practical steps for getting your finances in check are within these pages. There’s no sugar-coating here and the whole book is a brutal slap in the face that I dearly needed a few years ago.
Of particular interest to us is Dave’s views on car debt –if you can’t buy it with cash, you can’t afford it. That’s something we can get behind.
Grab a copy from Waterstones.
The No Spend Year – Michelle McGah
Have you ever wondered where your money goes? The coffee & scone here, the odd takeaway there when you don’t have the motivation to cook. Perhaps it’s the subscriptions that seem to mount up, with Netflix, Prime, Apple Music or Spotify. It all adds up.
This was Michelle’s problem. She had no idea where her money was going, so on Black Friday one year she set about having 12 months of buying nothing at all. Apart from paying her mortgage and the bare essentials, she couldn’t buy anything. She couldn’t even pay to get around, so she cycled everywhere, including for holidays.
This is an excellent, eye-opening book that you should be able to find at the library (I did), but you can also pick it up on Amazon here.
You can buy happiness (and it’s cheap) – Tammy Strobel
The Minimalism documentary led me onto another excellent book, this time by Tammy Strobel. Tammy and her husband lived a life rather a lot like many of us. Two full-time jobs, two cars, mortgage & consumer debt, before stumbling upon tiny houses and a simpler life.
Space is pretty cheap in the USA, so the typical house is pretty huge compared to what we have over here. Tiny houses are wooden homes built on a trailer (to get around zoning laws), but being tiny you need to trim down to the bare essentials. In doing so, Tammy and her husband swapped their cars for bicycles.
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