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Book Review: David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries

I know, my third book review in a couple of weeks, but I read a lot this time of year.

David Byrne has made a habit of taking a folding bike with him when he travels. The case is checked as a second piece of luggage and there's even room for a helmet. The bike gives him a unique perspective on the cities he visits. Each of this book's chapters corresponds to a city that he's pedaled in: Berlin, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Manila, Sydney, London, San Francisco and New York. He talks about his experiences on the bike in these cities, and what brings him (a musical performance, a PowerPoint about PowerPoints, etc.). His frequent digressions (about art and artists, urban planning, architecture) are usually pretty engaging. In this you can see the aptness of the "diary" in the book's title. It reads like a diary, or a well-crafted blog maybe.

In the end he points out that the way we use cars, commuting long distances to work, is unsustainable ... and maybe the bicycle, along with better-designed urban spaces, is part of the solution.

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August 2017

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