By Dave Iltis — Bike people rejoice! From A to B, A Cartoon Guide to Getting Around by Bike, brings together the reasons for riding a bike under one cover. The book features 125 bicycle cartoons and drawings by the British cartoonist Dave Walker.
The cartoons illustrate many of the current themes of why riding a bike is good for the world, fun, and healthy, along with adventure, how-to’s, pitfalls, and safety issues. Chapters include Cycling is Brilliant, Traffic, Getting Started, Safety, and Cycling: A Force for Good. The book is oriented more toward utility and recreational cycling (is there really a difference?) and a less towards racing.
One cartoon makes light of the joys of buying a used bike with comedic illustrations of what the words in an ad translate to. For example, “Ideal Project” shows a bike that is certainly a ‘project’ and much more.
Other cartoons highlight the fun and trials of cycling with kids including bringing along a giant dinosaur in the basket, the types of friends you might ride with, and the joys of wandering around the bike shop. Others are on Romance on a Bike, Hills, Punctures, Shopping, Cars, and Rules of the Road – which points out the differences in consequence of cars breaking the law versus bicyclists breaking the law.
As a companion to this review, we are showcasing two cartoons; one on Car vs. Bike showing the reasons to ride instead of drive, and one on bikes for everyone.
I have been active in the bicycle world for 35 years and got a kick out of how Walker highlights many of the idiosyncrasies of cyclists, bikes, and the interactions that bikes have with cars and roads. More than that, the book shows in succinct cartoon form the counterarguments to many of the tropes used by the powers-that-be (such as people on the internet) that constrain cycling.
For example, he counters the argument that helmets are the only thing that will make cycling safer by drawing on studies on safety that show the best solutions include separating bikes from car traffic, close passing laws, and the health benefits of active transportation. Note that he doesn’t push not wearing a helmet, in case you the reader were about to react.
The cartoons are often funny, sometimes brimming with dry humor, especially to those who have ridden a lot and understand the things that sometimes make it difficult to ride a bike from A to B.
At Cycling West, our mission is to make the world a better place through bicycling. Dave Walker’s book summarizes many of the things that we believe about riding a bike. Buy this book or give it to your friends and family so that they can see why bikes are the best. It would also make a delightful book to give to your favorite or least favorite politician to move them towards more support of cycling.
Title: From A to B: A Cartoon Guide to Getting Around by Bike
Author: Dave Walker
Imprint: Bloomsbury Sport
See davewalker.com for more from the author.