Bicycling Reading List

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Amazon.com books lists over 500 bicycle touring books on its website. You can order any book you like from Amazon through Tailwinds.org. Here are some books that come to mind. I'm sure I'll be adding more as I think about it.

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Day trips: The far majority of bicycle touring books are of the day trip variety, such as Mountaineers' "Bicycling the Backroads" series, which includes, for instance, Erin& Bill Woods' Bicycling the Backroads Around Puget Sound (Mountaineers Books 1995); or, Philip N. Jones & Jean Henderson's,Bicycling the Backroads of Northwest Oregon, (Mountaineers 1992-- A collection of 45 bicycle trips ranging in length from 12 to 178 miles. Individual rides can restrung together into multi-day rides. Each individual ride description includes mileage logs, a graphical elevation profile and a map).Expanding to multi-day trips and regionally, I found books like:Jean Henderson's Biking the Great Northwest (the Mountaineers 1995 -- Subtitled"20 tours in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana"twenty 2 to 9 day tours are described. I was pleasantly surprised that an interesting tour into British Columbia (Vancouver Island)was included. Like Jean's Bicycling the Backroads of Northwest Oregon, above, each individual ride description includes mileage logs, a graphical elevation profile and a map.

Bicycle touring how-to books: There are several books about training for, packing for and undertaking long-distance bicycle trips, such as: Richard Lovett's The Essential Touring Cyclist (Ragged Mountain Press,1994). I have this book and found it useful in preparing for my trip.

I've heard good things about Frosty Woolridge's Handbook for Touring Bicyclists; Gourmet Eating and Successful Touring(Chockstone Press, 1996).

Alaska touring guide:The only Alaska bicycle touring book I found was Alys Culhane and Pete Praetorius, Alaska Bicycle Touring Guide: Including Parts of the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories (Denali Press, 1992) This book is out of print and hard to find. I think I met these people when I lived in Alaska.

Wilderness travel:For general information about wilderness travel, I recommend Keith Morton's, Planning a Wilderness Trip in Canada and Alaska (Rocky Mountain Books, Calgary 1997). This excellent Canadian book lays out everything an adventurer needs to know about traveling in the northern wilderness:planning; navigation; food; hazards; emergencies. Though not directed specifically to bicycling, I bought this basic canoeing or hiking primer in preparation for a bicycle trip into the Northwest Territories and a kayak trip in the Brooks Range of Alaska.

Canada touring guide: Elliott Katz, The Canadian Cycling Association's Complete Guide to Bicycle Touring in Canada (Great Northern Books, 1994). This book offers bicycle routes across each of the Canadian provinces.I used parts of this book to plan my trip down the Icefields Parkway through Jasper and Banff and across northern Michigan. There are some maps and black and white photos.

Epic journeys: Barbara Savage, Miles from Nowhere (Mountaineers Books, 1983). This is the premier narrative bicycle adventure book. I bought it after hearing radio reader Dick Estell read portions of it on National Public Radio. This book was one of my inspirations for making this journey. Barbara Savage and her husband Larry rode around the world, including some of the places I rode. As the 1983 book was going to press, Barbara Savage was killed from injuries suffered in a cycling accident near her home in Santa Barbara, California.I met Larry Savage in Fairbanks in 1984.

Jane Schnell, Changing Gears: Bicycling America's Perimeter (MilnerPress, 1990). Ms. Schnell's writing style is similar to mine and her book is excellent.

Steven K. Roberts, Computing Across America: The Bicycle Odyssey of a High-Tech Nomad (Information Today Inc., 1988). This was my inspiration to haul a computer along on my bike, knowing that I could do a lot more with technology than Roberts. In 1988, the technology I employed was nothing but a dream. My computer was far lighter and more powerful and digital photography is only now becoming feasible.

John S. Boettner, Hey Mom, Can I Ride My Bike Across America? Five Kids Meet Their Country(Sbf Productions, 1990). This book chronicles a cross-continent bicycle trip of some middle-school kids and their chaperone.

The Alaska Highway:The Milepost: Trip Planner for Alaska & Western Canada There is one book that is essential to any journey in Alaska or on the Alaska Highway (or for that matter any other road in the Northwest Territory, Yukon or British Columbia). The Milepost has been a popular guide to travel in the North Country since 1949. Tom handed each of us a Milepost when we started our journey down the Alaska Highway. Though a bit heavy for my bicycle, I found the advertising for lodging and supplies invaluable. The Milepost is updated every year and a free 21"x31"fold-out map is included.

Timothy J. Bell, Bell's Mile By Mile Alaska, Yukon & British Columbia Travel Guide(Bells Alaska Travel Guide, 1997). A smaller and less expensive alternative to Milepost.

Cycling literature:The Literary Cyclist, James E. Starrs, Editor (Breakaway Books 1997). This anthology of short stories includes such notable writers as Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, H.G. Wells, Stephen Crane,Ernest Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, John D. MacDonald, Will &Ariel Durant and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Willie Wier, Spokesongs (Pineleaf Productions 1997 & 2000). Originally aired on KUOW (University of Washington public radio), this book consists of 59 little 1-2 page "songs" (short stories) about major bicycle trips in India, South Africa and the Balkans. The "songs"are short descriptions of encounters the author had with the civilizations of the countries he visited not the technology of bicycling..

Joe Kurmaskie, Metal Cowboy: Tales from the Road Less Pedaled (Breakaway Books 1999). A seasoned blind rancher explored Kurmaskie's touring bike with his cane and bestowed the title "metal cowboy"upon him. Joe's book is a series of hilarious and insightful essays.I just started reading the book and can tell already that I'm immersed--it is good.

 

 

 

© Ed Noonan 1996-2000

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