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Cycling Books (1) – Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling

January 10, 2009

I’m into cycling for a while. Well, I have been biking to commute since 2002 Fall, but I hadn’t been serious about biking for fun until the end of January in 2007, when I bought my first “high-end” (to me 😛 ) bicycle (a folding bicycle in fact).

Since then, I first started to ride some long-distance trips roughly once per month. I was quite brave to take a century trip in March, just after two or three short trips (less than 50 km). Or foolish, depending on how you look at it, since I fell into the trench when I riding down the hill. This accident was due to my lack of experiences of riding in a hilly area, where the side of roads may be slippery for the moss on it. After the accident, I still continued our route (almost half of it!), and only noticed how serious the injuries were when I went home. It took me over three weeks to recover (mostly on knees and legs, a little bit on shoulder). I was told that I was lucky not to have any bone broken. And a helmet really protected my head and face from injury.

Anyway, it’s a good lesson which I don’t want to take again.

Well, despite some fear of riding downhill — I’m still quite careful about it, it didn’t scare me away from cycling. I wanted to know about cycling so that I wouldn’t make some foolish mistakes again, so I started to buy some books about cycling. And this is the first one I got written in English.

Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling
By Selene Yeager
Publisher: NAL Trade (March 2008 )
ISBN-13: 9780451223043 (320 pages)
(book arrived in Apr. 2008)

Since the book is a guide to cycling, it covers from the basic, e.g. how to choose a bike and how to ride, to the advanced, such as training plans. In the book, Ms. Yeager answers to some concerns or questions that some women may have when starting cycling. However, most of topics can be suitable for everyone who is interested in cycling.

The first three chapters talk about different kinds of bicycles or gears to help you choose those fit you. Since I already have a bike, I was more interested in the following chapters, e.g how to ride and how to train, as well as cycling food and health concerns. I found good advices in these chapters.

Near the end, Ms. Yeager covers a little bit on simple bike maintenance, but not much. I guess, it is partially because not many women like to get hand dirty on dissembling their bikes, but mainly because it needs another book to explain those in details.

The strength of this book is on the part of training plans. The three training plans — weight loss, century and 40K time trial — include very detailed tables of exercises to do by week and by day. These plans are very helpful for those who want to lose weight or go on racing, as long as you can squeeze out some time almost every day to ride. At this moment, I haven’t been able to follow any plan. Too busy is the main excuse. I do wish I can ride few times a week, rather than once per week.

The 2nd part of this chapter discusses the off-season and supplemental training. Cycling is fun, but you don’t want to ride in a raining or snowing day. And despite of being a good exercise, cycling is not a well-balanced one, especially not good for preventing osteoporosis. Therefore, you need do some other exercises that can increase your performance in cycling as well as balance your workout, putting you in a good shape. Since I don’t have an indoor bike trainer (should I get one? 😕 ), I only follow the instructions on the resistance/strength and flexibility trainings. These led me to buy a pair of 2-lb dumbbells 🙂 and to get to know about more Pilates (maybe come back to this topic later).

Overall, the content of this book matches up with its title. Even those not-so-novice cyclists can still find something informative (especially those who can make use of these training tables!). The only complaint I have is that there are too few pictures in the chapter of how to ride. Just the description of some tricks is not illustrative enough. Anyway, the book is still pretty good, and I quite enjoyed reading it. 🙂

Ms Yeager’s blog: Fit Chick

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