The Cycling Cartoonist: An illustrated guide to life on two wheels
by Dave Walker
published by Bloomsbury, rrp £10.99 in the UK
reviewed by Andrew Brown
The book reviews I have read are often measured, balanced pieces of prose with a gentle leaning to either, buying and reading the selected publication, borrowing it to take a peak or avoiding. This review does none of the above. Instead it advocates purchasing large piles of The Cycling Cartoonist and giving it as gifts to friends as it is brilliant.
All bike riders, particularly those in middle age tending to ride their bikes on a Sunday morning dreaming of sporting achievements in days gone by, will appreciate every page. There’s something in it is for everyone. It will make you laugh out loud, giggle and point at the pages, smile to yourself knowingly and raise the odd eyebrow.
Dave Walker has captured on the page in what are simple, unfussy but excellent line drawings, almost every aspect of life on two wheels – except maybe cargo bikes (please point out my error if I missed this). It is clear why he has been such a successful illustrator and cartoonist for so many cycling magazines, as well as the Church Times (images of country vicars cycling to the family service spring to mind). He knows his stuff and knows which buttons to press and where to poke fun.
I knew when I saw the cover via social media that I liked the idea of the book. I wasn’t disappointed. When it came in the post from the publishers Bloomsbury (thank Alice Graham) my teenage daughter took it and enjoyed immensely. My wife read it over breakfast and loved it – she saw me in many of the pictures, friends, herself and knew it would make the perfect present for birthdays and Christmas for any cycling friends.
Anyone picking it up will find something funny in it to share. From the long-suffering partner and family members to die hard devotees of any kind of two wheeled transport there is a laugh on every page. I had a few favourite pages, 35 was one that stood out on a personal level. But probably the best page is the last one, page 143, when Dave Walker illustrates the argument that it doesn’t matter what you ride, what you wear, where you live or how fit you are, just ride the bike. We like that.
All images courtesy of Dave Walker. See more at http://cyclingcartoons.com/