Need for the Bike

Need for the Bike

4.43 (221 ratings by Goodreads)
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A book like no other, Paul Fournel's Need for the Bike conducts readers into a very personal world of communication and connection whose centre is the bicycle, and where all people and things pass by way of the bike. In compact and suggestive prose, Fournel conveys the experience of cycling-from the initial charm of early outings to the dramas of the devoted cyclist.

An extended meditation on cycling as a practice of life, the book recalls a country doctor who will not anesthetize the young Fournel after he impales himself on a downtube shifter, speculates about the difference between animals that would like to ride bikes (dogs, for instance) and those that would prefer to watch (cows, marmots), and reflects on the fundamental absurdity of turning over the pedals mile after excruciating mile. At the same time, Fournel captures the sound, smell, feel, and language of the reality and history of cycling, in the mountains, in the city, escaping the city, in groups, alone, suffering, exhausted, exhilarated.

In his attention to the pleasures of cycling, to the specific "grain" of different cycling experiences, and to the inscription of these experiences in the body's cycling memory, Fournel portrays cycling as a descriptive universe, colourful, lyrical, inclusive, exclusive, complete.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 150 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12.7mm | 272.16g
  • Lincoln, United States
  • English
  • 0803220197
  • 9780803220195

Review quote

Need for the Bike, Paul Fournel's charming collection of essays on cycling, has been announced as a September/October 2003 Book Sense 76 selection. "Paul Fournel is an award-winning French novelist and a publisher, but equal to these interests for him is his lifelong love of biking, which he whimsically chronicles in this fun(ny) and fascinating book. Written in short, two- to four-page chapters, it is the perfect book to take along on a ride, for reading during water (wine?) breaks." --Curt Witteveen, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, OR "Fournel writes with a poetic compactness and a wry, light touch about topics that make perfect sense to most cyclists...Its bite-sized chapters make it the ideal book to nibble away at."
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About Paul Fournel

Paul Fournel is a member of Oulipo, a collective of avant-garde writers whose works focus on the problems and puzzles of language. He is presently the cultural attache at the French Embassy in Cairo.
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Rating details

221 ratings
4.43 out of 5 stars
5 60% (133)
4 26% (58)
3 11% (24)
2 2% (5)
1 0% (1)
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