Saturday, November 28, 2009

Faster than a walk, slower than a train.

"This point of view–faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person–became my panoramic window on much of the world over the last thirty years--and it still is." -David Byrne, Bicycle Diares
A personalized rack. Mine, all mine.
A personalized rack. Mine, all mine.
-------Thanks for your patience. Finally, here is my meligrosanized view of the fun read:
Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne.

I received an email from Penguin group book publishers.
This would be the first book I receive from a publisher before the piece is officially released.
And it is a book by David Byrne.

This book makes you think and relate. Makes you consider your surroundings with the bicycle as the machine to become the viewer, a citizen, an involved resident of your city. Mr. Byrne observes things that we can universally relate to. As wanderlusters, as tourists, as people on bicycles, as pedestrians and as people that want to see a city belong to people with limbs rather than cement maze monsters.

Reading the book puts you in a position that we can relate to one another as cyclists. Past the cities infrastructures (or lack thereof) bike lane views, dead end streets leading to highways only, Byrne explores the local flavor of each city included in this diary. My favorite parts, are all about the food. I would be a rockstar just to be fed around the world, local food in its authentic environment. And global coffee. Oh goodness.

Of course we are not international stars, but he presents us with more than a few instances that made me feel as if was sitting with a good music-loving bicycle-fanatic friend of mine, chatting into the smoggy sunset from the corner of a tiny café in Mexico City. Juana Molina, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Mercedes Sosa (RIP). His analysis of streets, music, women and tight jeans in Argentina had me rolling. Perhaps one of my favorite chapters is Argentina. I have not been just yet, my fellow boludos.

There is this relationship that is formed between the book and yourself. If you are into artsy things -I am- it was pretty nice to read his description of the dinners and collaborations he has had throughout his career with his fellow comrade, Sagmeister.

Bike both ways.
Bike both ways.
His vivid stories between Karaoke nation, eating a good meal before or after a show, going for a little bike stroll around any given city to stretch out the mind and body before a presentation, will keep you reading til the end.
Of course there is a small SF chapter, but will let you read on that yourself. Though I must say he also talks about a presentation given by Johnny Ives when he visited Silicon Valley. We all visit Silicon Valley every so often, it's 'only' 45 minutes away. A mini-van tiny new suburbia city (from the bike lane perspective IMO at any rate). I was cracking up when he said something in the likes of "...People in Silicon Valley live near work, so they can go home, and continue to work, and wake up and go to work." Sounds very sad, but it is quite the culture down there, and therefore true.

Overall his humor just layers this delicious cake of a book and it also includes pictures from the bike lane he has taken. He dedicated the book to his daughter ("--who doesn't ride a bike...yet" -DB)

*I have seen a few reviews around the blogesphere, but not sure if people noticed as much as I did, one of my favorite paper parts of the book. Yes I smell books when I first get them, I try to guess the main body font(s) and I look if the total number of pages means anything. Mmmmmhh.
Paper inspector detects a playful little monster at the bottom area of the pages in the book.
Enjoy the little video:

- - -
Now get off this computer gadget, grab a copy and enjoy it.
♥Cheers .xo/m


  1. first ~ the bike rack = brilliant!
    second ~ i've seen this book around, and thanks to your lovely review I think I shall read it. well said.

  2. thx Sig! glad you enjoyed the review ;-)

  3. I've got a copy and I've been trying to read through it. So far, I'm pretty impressed with the tone of the book and his perspective on American cities is spot on.

    Berlin seemed a little more random, but interesting. It started to reel back in with Istanbul. I'm paused at Buenos Aires until I can sneak a few moments to dive into it again.

    What happened to the days when I had time to read books?

  4. Top flight review. You certainly have a knack for writing. The only question for me is if I can wait till
    it's in paperback .
    Jon C.

  5. Thank you so much for this review. Off to the bookstore now. I hardly ever buy books. Love my public library branch, but this one looks so beautiful! Will read it, and pass it on to a dear friend,...
    Your blog is fantastic, so inspiring. I used to be so scared to ride my bike in this city - used to live in Berlin for over a decade, and love their bike lanes - but I've pushed through it, got a map, and a helmet, and am all set now. Thanks!

  6. Trish bought me this book for my birthday and I'm in the middle of it now. Your review is delicious and has me excited to finish reading.

  7. the book itself looks like a work of art--the binding, layout, and design. makes me want to hold it (and read it!). plus, i was a big t-heads fan back in the day...thanks for the review.

  8. dickdavid/ I know right?!? blame it on the interwebs ;-)

    jon/ oh thanks so much. im always quite flattered by your super nice comments!

    willow/ wonderful!! that drawing on the cover is also by Byrne, I read somewhere. Im so happy to hear that, and thanks for sharing, please feel free to share your story anytime!! cheers ;D

    fridaycyclotourist/ many thanks nathan!! it is quite a fun piece to have around, especially b/c as people on bikes with cameras, makes you say 'hey I would've probably taken that pic too!' Thanks for stopping by -

    dottie/ oh what a sweet gift! it is def. a slow-pace friendly book :D

  9. lovely! I cannot find the book anywhere :( here in the UK it seems every bookshop has a 5 weeks waiting list!! bo-hooo! I was hoping to get it for my boyfriend for xmas.... will keep searching ;) L xxx

  10. Cool! I plan to read/comment on it while I'm on tour in Brazil this winter!

  11. Great review, I'll be picking that up when I finish finals! Long time lurker, first time commenter, have you read Around the World on Two Wheels?

  12. lorenza/ what about bookstores in NYC?! im sure a shipment over the pond wouldnt be bad? ;-) ciao carina and thanks for stoppin by!

    KT/ ouuuuuuu you lucky duck!!

    Liz/ Thanks for your comment Liz, and best luck with finals :-)
    Yes I read Annie's Around the World [link], and enjoyed the author's story behind it as well. Good read and timewrap piece.


with coffee in hand, sincere thanks for your readership ×