The League of American Bicyclists recently released a new book called Smart Cycling: Promoting Safety, Fun, Fitness and the Environment, and this book is a very helpful resource for anyone who is getting into cycling for the first time, or has taken some time off and needs a few refresher tips. Smart Cycling, edited by League president Andy Clarke, is an updated and professionally published version of the League's first book, A Guide to Safe and Enjoyable Cycling, and the book covers everything from a brief history of the bicycle to basic maintenance tips.
Smart Cycling begins with the "History of Bicycling," written by David Herlihy, who has also written Bicycle: The History and The Lost Cyclist. The book moves on to hit just about all of the topics that a cyclist would need to consider before venturing into the world of commuting or recreational riding. There is useful information on choosing a bike and the right gear, there is a discussion of rules of the road, and there are interesting pointers on handling your bicycle and avoidance maneuvers for a plethora of different riding circumstances. There are even tips on proper stretching for cyclists and basic information on fitness training.
As a guide for a beginner cyclist or for a cycling safety instructor, Smart Cycling is a comprehensive and very readable book. The information is presented in an organized progression and in language that can be easily understood by a novice cyclist (not always the case with tech manuals or safety regulations). And, for more experienced cyclists, there are plenty of insightful descriptions. After riding in traffic for years, concepts like speed positioning and signaling may seem intuitive, but reading the updated copy on best practices is a good reminder to think and act purposefully when riding a bike.
Overall, the book is well thought-out, very nicely executed, and, as an added bonus for cycling advocates, proceeds go to The League. There is a DVD with videos as well, and Smart Cycling is a great new resource for learning and teaching basic cycling benefits and safety.