Friday, November 25, 2011

Bicycle Diaries

I had put off reading David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries because my husband tried to read it and didn't finish. "It wasn't what I had expected," he said. With that comment I let the idea of reading the book slide for months. Recently, I needed something to be immersed in and it was the one book I hadn't picked up yet from the "bike section" on our shelves.

I was immediately taken with the screaming orange cover. It was worth a look.
I was instantly captivated. It's not the usual chronicle of someone's bicycle travels, but a different approach altogether. Like many of us who cycle for that balance in our life, David has traveled with a folding bike for several years on many music gigs and art projects which take him all over the world, and back to NYC. It's his unique perspective of several cities from an on-the-ground vantage, which includes an area's politics, rough underworld, housing, art, roadways, and of course all from a musical bent, which plays a heavy part in all of this. I can see why it didn't captivate the hub, who often needs adventure/escapist novels.

The author does get a bit winded in sections, but overall it's a nice diversion from common bike genre. David Byrne is a genuine bike commuter too, riding in his hometown of New York City and has become an advocate. I respect someone - infamous or not - who is actively working towards more bike friendly infrastructure.

I leave you with an interview with David, as he pedals the streets of NYC.


  1. I've been meaning to read this book too. Not the tops on my list since I get my bikey reading mostly through blogs by regular people but I think it helps to move transportation cycling further to see high profile individuals out there doing it. David Byrne is infinitely hipper than I.

  2. I read a good deal of this book while traveling last winter. I was not too appreciative though, b/c I had hoped for bicycling, bike advocacy, and bike issues to be more prominent in the text. I do like Byrne's insights generally but I had hoped they were more woven into the unique perspective one gets when sitting in the saddle. He is a much better musician (and fantastic in concert!).


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