Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists

You don’t have to look far to spot a cyclist these days, especially with urban cycling up 36% in the 70 largest US cities over the past five years (League of American Cyclists). Yet, for all the shared passion of being on two wheels, cyclists are an incredibly diverse bunch, represented by tribes as different as the bikes they ride. 

In Bike Tribes: A Field Guide to North American Cyclists (Rodale Books; Publication date: May 22; Paperback; $18.99; 224 pages and 60 illustrations throughout; ISBN: 978-1-60961-743-1; also available as an e-book), author Mike Magnuson offers a hilarious and essential field guide that breaks down the various tribes of the cycling community: from the spandex-clad weekend warriors to the hipsters on street bikes who love to laugh at each other (and themselves).

A life-long rider who has written extensively about cycling, Mike Magnuson takes us into the insular world of the cycling community, poking fun at pretenses and offering an up-close look at every type of bike tribe, including:

• The Commuter: rides 6 miles to work every day, even in the rain; only employee to use company bike rack; secures briefcase with bungees; believes commuting helps them think.

• The (Serious) Roadie: decked out in spandex; pencil-thin arms; often think they’re the next pro; despises triathletes and loves to bicker on web message boards.

• The Overwhelming Majority: prefer bike paths; ride for fresh air and to get from A to B; easily outnumber – and often annoyed by – roadies.

• The Vintage Lover: prefer 1960s bikes, considering them works of art; likes to ride to social functions or the farmer’s market; well-dressed; hopes people are watching them.

• The “Fixie Rider”: rides a fixed gear bike with a slick paint job; wears a cycling cap, no helmet; skinny arms covered in tattoos; nearly synonymous with hipster.

Bike Tribes, instilled with Magnuson’s endearing style – a brutally honest, laugh out-loud stream of consciousness – is the Preppy Handbook of bicycling, replete with one-of-a-kind illustrations that taxonomize the special habits, clothing, preferences, and predilections of cyclists. Bound to appeal to newcomers and grizzled cyclists alike, Bike Tribes is a fun romp through the through the various subcultures in the bike community.

Mike Magnuson is a passionate cyclist, all-around cycling expert and long-time contributor to Bicycling magazine, whose work has appeared in the Best American Sportswriting series. Magnuson is the author of five bikes, including Lummox: The Evolution of a Man, and Heft On Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180. 

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