Only 10 more days to go until Christmas, which is lucky because it means you still have time to buy your cyclist loved one Dave Walker's comprehensive book of cycling cartoons. It quickly sold out after publication earlier in the year but is back in stock today. We've been fans of Dave Walker's simple, but well observed illustrations for a while now and travelled into the wilds of south Essex to meet him back in 2016. If you've not come across him before via his very popular twitter or facebook pages, read on!
In March 2016 Dave had just been commissioned by Bloomsbury Publishing to produce a compendium of his cycling work - and we've had to wait a long time to see the end product - but it doesn't disappoint. The Cycling Cartoonist - an Illustrated Guide to Life on Two Wheels contains no less than 138 images of his art in a sturdy hardback book.
It goes without saying that Dave Walker is a cycling fan, and it's his passion for cycling that makes his cartoons so good. The drawings cover every bike topic you can imagine - from the pro peloton, and spectating at a grand tour to everyday commuting. But what cyclists will really love is the way that Dave, in a similar fashion to a stand-up comedian, is able to look at the absurdities of the sport and comment on them in an understated and loving way.
I laughed out loud at Dave's description of "ringing bell (in a way that sounds non-aggressive and doesn't startle pedestrians)" as an Advanced Skill - as a regular on the cycle path along Brighton's heaving seafront I can confess that I've yet to master this skill. Ditto track stands at the traffic lights - such a show-offy male thing to do! One thing I did learn, even before I bought my first road bike, was that "wearing World Champion's kit if you aren't one" is a "Cycling Habit Guaranteed to Upset a Purist". There's so much in this book that will appeal to any rider for their own peculiarly personal reasons.
He's also fairly evangelical about the benefits to health and the environment of cycling and this is a common theme which will appeal to the converted, for instance in "Why People Don't Cycle" Dave's answer is: The Main Reason: Idiots Who Might Kill You.
The Cycle Club is also particularly well-observed with illustrations of member types, how to join a cycling club and of course the ubiquitous club ride. Anyone who has turned up for a turbo spin session and downed an espresso at the over-priced cycling cafe will love these drawings (I am the 'roadie who has done 3 miles (but trying to look like they have done 90)') in case you were wondering.
But ultimately his message is that it doesn't matter whether you have the right bike, the right kit, if you live in the right place or what your level of fitness is, the important thing is: Just Ride! Order your copy from Amazon in time for Christmas for just £7.69.