Feedback taken on board, so how does this cover tweak grab you?

Thanks to all those who commented on the Bike to Work Book cover design. There were some excellent home truths contained in some of the comments.

I’ve gone back to the cover, removed one of the offending statements (“join the revolution”) and enlarged some of the other text and the base pix.

How do you like this version?


There’s still plenty of time to improve the cover before we set the presses in motion so tell us what you think. Don’t hold back, yesterday’s commenters certainly didn’t…

A number of people said they weren’t keen on the distressed font so I’ve changed it. Like this one? Click to see it bigger – the book will be 18cms wide.


If the covers above don’t tickle your fancy, how about this one by Joseph of the US?


And this here is the first cover. Maybe you like this one best?


It’s critical we get this right. You can always tell a book from its cover, and all that jazz. Here are two examples of how a designer can get it wrong. Both are for the same book, the traffic book I raved about here.



The yellow sign version is for the US edition of Tom Vanderbilt’s book. The dog version is the one for the UK market. The former is excellent, the latter may be an attention grabber but it’s also mystifying. Dogs driving cars? I understand the metaphor, but I think it’s a poorly executed cover. Maybe the publisher should have done what I’ve done here and sought some wider feedback?

Mind you, the book is a far, far better read than you’d think from the subject matter and I reckon any cover would have struggled to get across what the book is about.

It’s not every day you get spammed by Claudio Chiappucci

Just received this email:

“We are pleased to introduce you the internet site where you will find informations about the 2008 World Cycling Championship in Varese (Italy), held from September 22 to 28, 2008, and about Varese and its surrounding area, lakes, hotels, restaurants and cycling – informations provided to you by the internet site of Claudio Chiappucci, former Cycling Champion.”

Thank you for reading, and enjoy visiting

NOTICE: According to law 675/96, we would like to inform you that we have taken your e-mail address from public lists.

Now waiting for spam from Jan Ullrich.

Build your own energy bar

It’s all about bites rather than bytes yet Techcrunch still mentioned this yummy-sounding start-up, Element Bars.

Create your own pack of edible performance enhancers by entering your personal permutation of optioned ingredients and, hey presto, 7-10 days later you get a box of bars.

If your tastes are out-of-the-ordinary – and potentially yukky- the bar-building wizard will give you a nudge.

What do you think of this redesigned cover?


This is a fresh version of the cover for the Bike to Work Book. The main image is by Mikael Colville-Anderson of

Mikael has also written a cracking piece for the book and this will be in the first PDF extract, due to be published in the next few days. Sign up – it’s free – for a download notification on

This extract should have been ready by the end of August but time flies when you have to prep for Interbike. Sorry about the delay.


Scans reveal cabbies have brains


In a shock medical finding, researchers from the University College London have revealed that Hackney Carriage operators appear to have rudimentary brains.

Prior to this research it was believed cabbies operated their vehicles with zero cerebral input. Evidence for this was the habitual disregard for other road users, and the ability to spout right wing claptrap while braking suddenly to execute u-turns.

The BBC reports that the Memory & Space Group at London’s Welcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging scanned the craniums of London taxi drivers and, for the first time, found a tiny number of working brain cells.

The research – “Neural Substrates in Driving Behaviour” – has been published in the journal NeuroImage. Researchers noted how different tasks (route planning, dealing with unexpected hazards, running down cyclists) were associated with activity across different parts of the brain.

London cab driver Terry Savage said: “I ‘ad that Eleanor Maguire in the back of my cab once.”

Don’t scream past cyclists, they could be gold medallists

Victoria Pendleton has a sharp warning for drivers who tear past cyclists at close quarters – watch out, you might kill a British Olympic medallist.

“I have to train on the road daily. It’s crucial for endurance work. But the abuse I get from drivers … ‘Get of the effing road’, and ‘Buy an effing car’, are typical. I’m usually dressed in the Team GB kit, but drivers take no notice of that.

“It does my head in that people have no regard for my safety. If someone cuts me up, I will sometimes catch up and have a go at them. It’s not like their journeys are so important. They’re usually off to the shops to waste some more money. Honestly, what’s a few seconds in their pointless life for the sake of not killing me?”

From The Times.

Will Self: boy, does he love his Brommie

The Brit novelist reveals his love of the Brompton in Saturday’s Independent:

It was love at first sight – the first time I saw a Brompton folding bicycle, I fell in love with it. And it was not so much love – an emotion, I concede, that unless you’re seriously perverted, only truly exists between sentient beings – as a kind of lusty covetousness; but, you can take it from me, it was a very strong feeling, and one that has only increased over the years I’ve either had a Brompton between my thighs, or hefted one in my arms.

And if you feel tempted at this point to cast my piece aside, unread, on the quite reasonable grounds that not only do you not like bicycles, or cycling, but you especially revile the ghastly middle-aged-mannish gadget obsession that you already feel emanating from my prose in great waves, then I say: desist! Give me a chance! Read on, and if I can’t convince you by the end of these 2,000 words that a Brompton folding bicycle is not only a superior means of locomotion, and a perfect antidote to the stresses of the modern world, but also a means of achieving a deeper harmony with place and culture than you’ve hitherto achieved, then I personally guarantee to come round to your house and sort out your old Allen keys – or something like that.

And here’s the rest of the article…

Don’t blink, kids

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Usually, on a Friday afternoon in term-time, I coach 20+ kids at a local primary school. This cycling club had an excursion this Friday afternoon. We went to the Tour of Britain stage finish in Newcastle-Gateshead.

We walked from school and got to the finish line with 40 minutes to go. There were plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained but they were itching to see the race hit town.

Hugh Porter did a great job at ramping up the excitement…and then it was all over. Alessendro Petacchi won – again. Rob Hayles came in a valiant second – again.

By hanging out further along than the finishing line, I was able to grab the odd rider to sign autographs for the kids. Travis Meyer of the South Australia team did a sterling job as he was mobbed by the cycling club members. I failed to stop my number one target: Bradley Wiggins (a name all the kids know thanks to a certain event in China) but at least the kids saw him close-up.

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Blazers take umbrage at Rock Racing’s kit switching


Rock Racing’s PR man Sean Weide told Twitterland:

“Rock Racing is not only drawing the attention of fans with its colorful, special team kits, but the race officials have also taken notice.

“In Wednesday’s communique, the officials wrote “(we) have noted the variations in advertising and color of the jerseys…This will be reported to the UCI for their attention.”

“So, for the first time this season, Rock Racing might be fined for its jerseys.”

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The Rock Racing team is known for creating event race-specific kit. As I reported on, the replica shorts-and-jersey combos cost £325.

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I can’t speak Latin, but Mark Winters, UK importer of Fuji bikes, says the graphics on the bikes used by Rock Racing in Tour of Britain, say: “Kill them all, take no prisoners.” A message for UCI wonks, perhaps?

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