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Cycling Books (4.1) – Bicycling for Women

November 10, 2009


Bicycling for Women
by Gale Bernhardt
Publisher: VeloPress (November 18, 2008)
ISBN-13: 978-1934030288

This book is one of three books in my big order from Amazon (see the previous post). Another cycling book is the well-praised The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel. I read Bernhardt’s first last night, and then I couldn’t wait to post my review the following morning (and that also pushed me to finish the belated review for City Cycling šŸ˜› ).

It’s a pity that this book doesn’t receive more reviews than Selene Yeager’s. Even though I like Yeager’s book, I didn’t post my review at Amazon. But I did for Bernhardt’s book, because I hope people can get to know this book through my introduction and the comparison with Yeager’s book, and even with Friel’s.

I put the number as 4.1 in the title, because I will come back later after reading it more thoroughly. šŸ™‚

== Review ==

Before buying this book, I bought and read many books / magazines about bicycling since last year. I already bought Selene Yeager’s Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling last April. When this book came out last Nov., I wonder whether I would need another cycling book for women. This year I became more serious in cycling and started to look into cycling training books, I checked this again. When I read this part in chapter 1:

“Despite studies proving the contrary, the misconception that women are proportionately different from men endures. But in fact, while we are all individuals and have individual dimensions, in the critical dimensions for cycling, the difference between the average U.S. male and female is surprising small.”

I then decided to buy this book. I learned about this information from Myra VanInwegen’s article before. The author really knows something, rather than repeating what is being told (incorrectly).Ā  Of course, I was also interested in what kinds of training plans she would provide for female cyclists.

Now I have received the book, and I am quite happy with my purchase. As clearly stated in “Preface”, the training programs can be applied for not just women but men (Ms. Bernhardt also coaches male athletes), but the book also highlights the anatomical and physiological differences between women and men that would affect the aspects of cycling training. This part is only slightly covered in Joe Friel’s The Cyclist’s Training Bible (also bought along with this book).

That doesn’t mean this book can replace Joe Friel’s The Cyclist’s Training Bible, nor does Ms. Bernhardt want to. Instead of feeding you the training theory to make your own training plan, Ms. Bernhardt designs five training plans, from a 12-week plan for a century ride to a 6-month plan to improve hill climbing, which can bridge the gap between the recreation cycling to cycling racing.

As for comparing with Selene Yeager’s Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling, which was an enjoyable read for me last year, two books have different focuses. Yeager’s is a great guide for a novice or one in the intermediate level and it does cover various topics, e.g. choosing bikes, accessories and a little bit on riding skills and bike maintenance (not much though). These (above mentioned) topics are not in Bernhardt’s book (only the bike accessories related to bike fit are mentioned). Instead, Bernhardt’s book targets at female cyclists who have been riding for a while and really look into riding faster and longer.

In short this is an excellent training guide for female cyclists. Highly recommended.

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