Bicycling For Women

Gale Bernhardt
Velo Press, 2008, 261 pages

Bicycling for women is geared (no pun intended) toward cyclists in training—whether for a competition or to meet a personal performance goal. Cyclists unsure of which training program suits them best, what diet advice to take and what to discard, or which studies about women and cycling to take seriously, would do good to read this book from cover to cover. Though by no means a comprehensive bicycling encyclopedia, the book is a well-organized, easy-to-understand guide to achieving bicycling-related goals and, in the process, becoming a healthier person.

Casual cyclists can use the book as a reference for bike fit, nutrition and health information. And men should not be put off by the title—the real “girl stuff” only lasts for three chapters.

Bicycling for Women emphasizes healthy self image—perhaps a focus because of its female target audience (although, Bernhardt notes, men increasingly battle body image issues and related mental barriers, too).

She offers the latest research on how women differ from men in cycling, and how to optimize health and performance as a female cyclist. Basic health class information dominates the chapters on menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, but they do include some cycling-related information and advice.

Bernhardt encourages athletes to educate themselves, make informed choices and listen to their bodies. She succinctly explains how different exercises and foods affect performance as a precursor to presenting her sample training programs. Equipped with a foundational understanding of how the body works, cyclists can customize their training and diet to their individual needs. If a current program does not yield the desired results, a little tweaking may help the athlete find that perfect balance.

Erika Prins

Roads To Quoz: An American Mosey
William Least Heat Moon
Little, Brown and Company, 2008, 592 pages

A book to delight the traveler and the linguist alike, Roads to Quoz returns Heat Moon to his literary roots, the travel narrative. Unlike his 1976 best seller Blue Highways, Roads to Quoz is not a narrative of back roads travel. This time around Heat Moon is seeking “quoz” the strange, unusual and offbeat geographical, geological and historical features of the landscape. He finds and describes Quoz along the road in a half dozen journeys into as many landscapes. From black flies in the Maine woods, to strange murders on the Midwestern plains; from seafood shacks on the Florida coast to quirky ranchers in Wyoming, Heat Moon entertains the reader with his musings.

Before getting serious about quoz, Heat Moon dedicates an entire chapter to words beginning with Q. Beginning with the word Quoz itself, with tongue in cheek, he resurrects and ponders the use and demise of dozens of nearly extinct Q words. The reader will at least chuckle through the entire chapter and only the most staid will not burst into laughter at least once. After this whimsical query into the quintessential nature of Q, Heat Moon and his companion Q set off on their quest for quoz. (If you think that sentence queer, wait until you read the book.)
While reading Heat Moon’s book, the reader must pay heed to the subtitle, An American Mosey. The key word being mosey. Heat Moon moseys along spinning his yarns. Often digressing for pages on previous experiences he adds depth to the images he forms of the country through which he takes us.

The Roads to Quoz will add a whole new dimension to any reader’s future travels. It will instill a desire to seek out the unusual that might lie just around that next corner, the one you didn’t plan to take. I know that I will look for the Quoz along and at the end of my next road trip. After reading Roads to Quoz, you will too.

Stan Miller