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New book and BBC documentary chart the history of one of man’s greatest inventions

Next week sees the publication of Robert Penn’s new book It’s All About the Bike and an accompanying BBC4 documentary.

The author decided to build himself the ultimate bike after a lifetime’s love affair with cycling and sets off around the world in search of the perfect components.

His search turns into a global exploration of cycling culture – and one that’s well worth reading, according to Guardian reviewer William Fotheringham, who said, “Cyclists pore over the catalogues, websites and magazines known as ‘bike porn’, but Penn's book is the cycling equivalent of Anaïs Nin's Delta of Venus. Or it could be seen as a stretched version of the tale that all cyclists tell when the credit card statements arrive: no matter how shiny and costly the item of bike bling, there is a back story, usually a good one.

“Artfully, Penn turns his quest for new hardware – an activity most of us indulge in furtively on the internet – into a worldwide spin around cycling and its culture.”

It’s All About the Bike will be available from Thursday 29 July and the documentary, Ride of My Life: the Story of the Bicycle, will be screened on Tuesday 27 July at 9.00pm on BBC 4. Here’s a taster…

There’s more information about both book and documentary on Robert Penn’s website.

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc).