Reviews About Bike For Life Book

“A great, funny page turner that you simply don’t expect. Yes, it’s packed with excellent advice on training, diet, and injury prevention, but the anecdotes and biographies are so enjoyable and well-told that I came away both enriched by newfound fitness knowledge and by the people I ‘met’ in the book and the example they set” — Michael Frank, Executive Editor Mountain Bike magazine

“Every once in a while someone puts together a book that is quickly recognized as a future ‘classic’. Bike for Life – How to Ride to 100 is one of those books – within a few years it is likely to end up next to Leonard Zinn’s maintenance books or Jobst Brandt’s wheelbuilding book on the bookshelves of most cyclists.” — Karl Etzel, Ride

See Karl’s full review below or at:

“I’m not a huge fan of “helpful” cycling books. I was surprised then to find that I truly enjoyed Bike for Life. In fact, allow me to take that assesment one step further—I actually learned things by reading this book….. Sure, other books have addressed some of these issues, but what makes it worthwhile is that Wallack and Katovsky are long-time, hardcore cyclists who know how to write interesting text aand have included several interesting mini-feature stories about truly great cyclists who have all kicked the shit out of Old Man Time. Gary Fisher, John Howard, Johnny G, John Sinibaldi, Ned Overend, Mike Sinyard, Eddie B, Jim Ochowicz, Missy Giove, Patrick O’Grady, Marla Streb and Rich White all get a chance to opine on their long-lasting love affairs with cycling. Most of the features are riveting. It’s top notch writing and story telling and, to be honest, it pisses me off that I didn’t think of this first.” — Vernon Felton, Bike magazine website

See Vernon’s full review below or at:

“As you probably have noticed, I have a penchant for books (that’s part of me) and I’ve come across a recent release (4/05) that I find very informative. It’s Bike for Life, How to ride to 100 by Walliick and Katovsky (Avalon publishing group)

I suspect the title will bias many younger riders (20, 30, and possibly the more impetuous 40 somethings) because it aludes to riding when old. That would be a shame, because I think of it as a good guide for what to do NOW for those who might want to have the option of riding later in life. And from my vantage, I’m confident in saying that if a person values their ability to ride now, it’s only going to become a more significant part of your life as time goes by.

I read a couple different reviews of the book and thought that it looked like a rehash of much of what I have alread read in other places on a variety of topics related to cycling.

But I was browsing at the mega-book store (B&N;) recently and they happened to have it in, so I sat down for a half hour thumb through. Often times, this activity turns into a five or ten muinute exercise which confirms that a book is a little short on what I am looking for. But right from the start I got side tracked into reading, always a pretty good indication that this might be a keeper.

The authors cover most of the general topics of interest, and included are most of the standard recommendations and warnings we are familiar with. But they have done a good job of including new information; the section on osteoporosis is really outstanding and points out why ANYONE (man or woman) who does high mileage, with much intensity should take measures to counteract this problem. It’s not just about little old ladies anymore, ultra-riders in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s are at very high risk for this problenm, and once you have suffered the effects, you have the problem. Sort of like lung damage from smoking, it does not go away later, and who wants to go through a hip replacement from a fall at age 48-52?

Another feature that I found pretty entertaining is a series of interviews with people of note. Included are a dozen interviews with people associated with the sport, Ned Overend, Gary Fisher, Missy Giove, Eddie B, these were revealing and entertaining.”

Posted: Sep 12, 2005 5:29 PM

Like most cyclists who read Roy Wallack’s 2004 article in Bicycling magazine, I didn’t think I was a candidate for bone thinning. Then, last summer, I read Wallack’s book, “Bike For Life.” The chapter on cyclists being at risk for osteoporosis was bone chilling – no pun intended. But again, the months passed and I didn’t take action.

I read a piece in a January issue of RoadBikeRider about two masters-age riders who crashed, broke their hips, and were later diagnosed with osteoporosis. That pushed me over the top.

I turned 50 last week, I’ve been riding for 30 years, and I’ve put on more miles than ever the past three years. I figured it was about time to have a bone mineral density (BMD) test.

So what’s my diagnosis? It’s a bit much to explain here, but I blogged on this topic last week. If you’re a master’s age cyclist (over 40), and riding is your primary form of exercise, you might want to read my my riff. Here’s the link:

Posted: Feb 24, 2006 6:50 AM

Book Plug: “Bike For Life”

I am reading a very interesting book on cycling. It’s called “Bike For Life. How to Ride To 100”. The premise of the book is how to use cycling as well as other fitness strategies to live longer and better, to be even MORE fit and healthy than you were in earlier decades, and to be able to cycle til you’re 100. The parts of the book I like best are the stories about people who took up cycling later in life and are now stronger, healthier, and more alive than ever before. I just read a great story about a 60 year old woman who is actively competing in those 24 hour mountain bike races. She took up cycling in her forties and always wanted to win a world championship at something. So she decided to try to win in her age category for the 24 Hours Of Adrenaline events.

I was at Whistler, B.C. a couple years ago and was mountain biking with my husband on some of the easy trails. (This choice was for ME, not him. If he was alone, he’d be riding the Crazy People trails.) We accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up on a Crazy People trail, the kind that are steep, technical, and not do-able for me. I had to get off my bike and push it up part of the trail. As I did that, I noticed the trail was marked. Clearly marked. For an event. Suddenly, a group of cyclists rode past me. They were muddy and riding this steep trail like it was flat. We had accidentally ridden onto the course for the 24 hour race at Whistler. My husband explained that the race was 24 hours straight. (Did I mention the phrase “Crazy People”?) To ride 24 hours was beyond my understanding.

I forgot about that experience and haven’t thought about it since until I started this book and read about a SIXTY year old woman doing this exact event. In her mid forties she was beating twenty year olds in bike races, and in her sixties, she was winning world championships. I think that’s really cool. Her story gives me a whole new outlook on my middle age years and beyond.

This book also mentions other riders who are still seriously cycling and racing into their eighties. That just blows my mind. Do you personally know anyone who’s eighty? Can you imagine them in full race gear and going 45mph downhill on a road bike or riding through a felled-log wildnerness on a mountain bike?

It is part of my husband’s long-term life dream that he and I continue to enjoy athletic adventures. Til we die. This book has given me a whole new set of ideas on cycling LONG-TERM and what all goes into that LIFESTYLE. Cycling is great because you CAN ride til you’re old. Many other sports are just not like that. I played on a flag football team the past couple years as a thirty-seven year old mama, and I think I’m done. There are some sports that you have to leave behind as you get older. High risk for injury and physical contact are two factors that start to weigh more heavily as you get older. Cycling is no-contact and great for fitness. It helps with many aspects of staying young, agile, and healthy.

I’m looking forward to cycling more this year. We hope to take a cycling trip some day soon so I have a goal to work towards. This book is a great read for anyone into biking and anyone who wants to understand more about how to live better for longer. Check it out. Get inspired. “Bike For Life” by Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky.

Posted by Christina Hyun Christina Hyun at Jan. 6, 2007 8:00 a.m.

“What do cycling and Osteoporosis have in common? Me and you.”

On Wednesday, February 15, 2006, I was diagnosed with Osteopenia – a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal. It is not low enough to be classified as Osteoporosis, but it is significant enough to elevate my risk for developing it.

The link between cycling and Osteoporosis has gotten a fair amount attention in the past two years, since Roy Wallack published an article on the subject in the March 2004 issue of Bicycling Magazine. Roy cited a study conducted by San Diego State University Researcher, Jeanne Nichols, that included testing of of 27 long distance male cyclists – _ including RAAM riders Pete Penseyres and Dr. Craig Breedlove. The study found a linkage between long hours in the saddle, relatively low skeletal impact, and accelerated bone loss. Further, Wallack hypothesized that excessive sweating leaches much as 200mg of calcium per hour of exercise.

Thanks a to a wonderful book called Bike for Life that Wallack co-authored with Tri-Athlete Magazine founder Bill Katovsky, I became aware of the risk that recreational, long-distance cyclists incur when they spend months and years in the saddle. Until I read the chapter devoted to the subject, I considered Osteoporosis a risk only for women. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, just 2 million men in America are said to have it.

I didn’_t have any joint or muscle pain. I am not _at risk because of my age or family history. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink much soda pop. I even crashed last year at 15 mph and didn’_t break a bone. In other words, I had no indication whatsoever that my bone mass had thinned by as much as 15%, and that this condition were to continue undetected, I could soon develop Osteoporosis and be at severe risk of fractures, even permanent debilitation. Like most cyclists, I didn’t act on this information. But I read another article – this time in the January 19 issue of RoadBike Rider – the eNewsletter published by Ed Pavelka, a former editor of Bicyling. Two riders in their 60’s were involved in a low-speed crash. Both experienced broken hips. Both were diagnosed with Osteoporosis.

I sent my doctor an email. He ordered a bone scan. Thank God we caught this early, before it progressed into Osteoporosis.

If you have been riding for years and cycling is your primary form of exercise, you, too, may be at risk. I urge you to consider a bone density test. If you under 70 and male, your insurance probably won’t cover the $250 it will cost you, unless the condition presents itself, in which case, you will feel it wa_s the best money you have ever spent.

Posted by David Rowe, Portland, Oregon at 10:05 PM Friday, February 17, 2006

“Wouldn’t you like to be able to ride a century when you turn a century? That’s the premise behind Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100. Authors Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky, both longtime cyclists, explain how you can pedal your way to a longer, healthier life in their sometimes serious, sometimes light guide. The book is chock full of cycling-specific advice from training and nutrition tips, to advice on injury prevention and riding technique. It changes gears every so often, mixing in such topics as cycling-specific yoga and cycling with your significant other. Interviews are sprinkled throughout with cycling legends like Gary Fisher and Spinning guru, Johnny G. It’s an informative and entertaining read that will educate and inspire. $17, Marlowe & Company, — Windy City;=4829


5 stars
Fantastic Book on Cycling can change your life!,
February 26, 2007
Reviewer:Hot Properties, LLC “Ken” (Charlotte, NC)

I ran across this book completely by accident. I was in the bookstore perusing magazines and someone had left a copy on the rack. I picked it up, flipped briefly through the book, and decided to buy it. For a 49 year old that’s just getting back into cycling after being off since the early 90’s, this was a terrific book. It provides relevent information for every aspect (both mental and physical) of developing a plan for lifelong health and well being through bicycling and other exercise. I think the interviews are great and provide insight into the lives of some of cycling’s pioneers and gives a glimpse of what we all deal with as we age. The information in this book can change your quality of life, if practically applied. 35 days after completing this book, I’m 11 lbs lighter and feel so much better!


5 stars
A must read if you love to bike!,
August 12, 2005
Reviewer: Jame Moore (Washington)

I just logged in to Amazon to look for some Lance Armstrong books, and I bumped into this title. A fellow-cyclist got me this book from Amazon, shortly after it was published. WOW! What a read. I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know what’s been better for my cycling these days taking my thor-plex or this book. Ok, taking my thor-plex has, but the book is right up there with it. Guys and gals get this one. It is loaded with important information and excellent tips. The health information will be of tremendous use to you – all the talk on the human growth hormone (HGH) convinced me to get YF-8 in my diet and to drink plenty of water.

Read the book and let us all know how you enjoyed it, as other have done here much more eloquent than I.


5 stars
Lotta bang for the buck
November 20, 2005 “”

Bike for Life reads like a lifestyle magazine, categorized by topics designed to pique interest but follows up with depth reserved only for the New York Times or National Geographic. The authors know how to take a position without turning it into religion. Completing a Century ride on your 100th birthday appears within reach, but maybe not if your only activity is cycling.

It’s likely that if you’re a cyclist or triathlete you’ve already read both authors, Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky. Both have been fixtures in the publishing world for years. In fact, Katovsky started Triathlete and Inside Triathlon, and Wallack was one of Triathlete’s premier editors. You’ll likely recognize each of their distinctive literary voices from chapter to chapter, and feel a pleasant familiarity not unlike the sense you get when James Earl Jones’s voice shows up in a commercial. At once you feel at ease.

Simply, Bike for Life posits that cycling is an integral part of longevity but not a panacea. While aerobic fitness can be maximized riding, even into our golden years, other aspects of fitness and bicycling must be addressed. Strength training and flexibility fill in the gaps of cycling’s physiological deficiencies. The right bike fit solves the hand, wrist,neck, back, foot and numb nethers issues plaguing many of us, which, if ignored either kill the enjoyment or take us off the bike altogether. And, cycling related benefits notwithstanding, this book is a user’s manual for us all, cyclists or otherwise, because it details a cornucopia of secrets to long term health and fitness. It’s like having all of those pertinent articles that we read and wanted to save (but never did) compiled and organized for our periodic reference.

Not only, entertaining interviews introduce us to legendary, mature riders who, whether setting records or just climbing into the saddle, embody an ideal, inspiring confidence in our own future, by their achievement, while their peers sidle up to canes and walkers. The authors’ personal experiences aim their book squarely at you and me, recreational riders and age-group competitors who want to milk as much fulfillment and adventure as we can from our time turning the cranks. For what it’s worth, I took the 34 mile, 10,000 ft. Haleakela volcano (on Maui, HI) climb challenge right off the pages of Bike for Life, essentially at Roy’s behest. Now I have indelible imprints of a 4 hour ride from Mayberry to Mars that’ll keep me company long as my memory remains – at least ’til my 100th birthday.

There’s at least one typographical error. Spinal erectors – those muscles running the length of our vertebral column – are mis-described as spiny erectors. This bothered me – one who’s found errors in the Webster’s Third International Dictionary (really) – but probably not anyone else.

Bike for Life is a great read, a great reference tool and a great gift – I’ve given away a half dozen copies so far. As a triathlon coach, personal trainer and avid reader I recommend this book.

Chris Drozd
Beverly Hills, CA
Book Review: Bike for Life – How to Ride to 100

Every once in a while someone puts together a book that is quickly recognized as a future “classic”. Bike for Life – How to Ride to 100 is one of those books – within a few years it is likely to end up next to Leonard Zinn’s maintenance books or Jobst Brandt’s wheelbuilding book on the bookshelves of most cyclists. The authors, Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky, are hard-core athletes with many years of cycling and multisport experience to draw on, but they also search far & wide for experts in the many areas they touch on in the book.

The book covers the usual topics such as bike fit and nutrition, but what I found really interesting was the inclusion of topics such as how to ward off osteoporosis, which becomes more likely if you follow a cycling-only exercise regimen. The value of yoga to cycling, the “How to Survive” chapter, and the advice on integrating cycling into your family and personal relationships are also unexpected gems. The authors provide a lot of information that racers will value, but do it in a way that will not leave recreational riders bored. Most importantly, this book goes a long way toward helping the not-so-dedicated cyclist find ways to safely increase their mileage and long-term enjoyment of the sport.

The only real complaint I could levee against the book is that some of the details on nutrition and training techniques could be improved. For example, the authors suggest that any kind of calf raises are good, while most trainers will specify standing calf raises to activate the gastrocs, and the guidance on simple sugars vs. complex carbs, and how they fit into your fueling strategy on the bike, were a little confusing. But these are very minor quibbles, and in any case none of these few foibles will lead you down a bad path, just a less optimal path.

All of that valuable information makes the book useful, but what I really enjoyed was how the authors made the book fun, with lengthy and informative interviews cycling luminaries such as Ned Overend and Gary Fisher. These combine with the authors’ own stories to break up the steady stream of technical information and give the book a nice flow, while also providing some very interesting perspectives on how far cycling has come in the last few decades. This website’s viewers will particularly enjoy Wallack’s tales from La Ruta, the famous MTB stage race in Costa Rica.

If you are looking for an entertaining book that covers a wide range of important cycling topics and will enlighten beginners and hard-core riders alike, you should definitely check out Bike for Life. You can buy it here and learn more about it at the author’s website. I expect it to be a Christmas season hit for two-wheeled enthusiasts.
MEDIA: Bike for Life

A Cut Above the Rest
By Vernon Felton

WHAT: Bike for Life WHERE: Your Average Book Store HOW MUCH: $16.95

I’m not a huge fan of “helpful” cycling books. Over the years I’ve found most are targeted at budding cyclists who (judging by the subject matter within these books) are dying to know the difference between a toe clip and a clipless pedal. In short, the content generally leaves more experiences riders muttering either “No shit” or “Who gives a shit?” I was surprised then to find that I truly enjoyed Bike for Life. In fact, allow me to take that assesment one step further—I actually learned things by reading this book. Bonus.

Long time riders and authors Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky lead off this book with a simple question: Wouldn’t you like to ride a century when you turn a century? A silly rhetorical question (sorta like “Wouldn’t you pay five dollars to have Regis Philbin knocked off?), but these two authors proceed to tip the shitty-cycling-book paradigm on its ear by promptly addressing all sorts of worthwhile topics, including:

  • Avoiding the “Vegetarian Deficit”
  • Yoga for cyclists
  • How to avoid bad knees and a bad back
  • The link between cycling and osteoporosis
  • Cycling and visualization techniques
  • Cycling and depression
  • Tips on long-distance cycling;

and a ton more that I just ain’t feeling perky enough to jot down.

Sure, other books have addressed some of these issues—what makes it worthwhile in this case is that Wallack and Katovsky are long-time, hardcore cyclists who know how to write interesting text.

But here’s where it gets really interesting. On top of addressing worthwhile topics, the two authors also included several interesting mini-feature stories about truly great cyclists who have all kicked the shit out of Old Man Time. Gary Fisher, John Howard, Johnny G, John Sinibaldi, Ned Overend, Mike Sinyard, Eddie B, Jim Ochowicz, Missy Giove, Patrick O’Grady, Marla Streb and Rich White all get a chance to opine on their long-lasting love affairs with cycling. Most of the features are riveting. It’s top notch writing and story telling and, to be honest, it pisses me off that I didn’t think of this first. Nice work, guys.

My only complaint with the book is that Bike for Life is text heavy and image light. In fact, it’s a visual Gobi Desert: lots of text and no pictures to help give your eyes a breather. Not to suggest that the book is boring. It’s great stuff, but even great editorial needs some breathing room and design flair to help balance things out.

I highly recommend Bike for Life–it is arguable the best book of its kind. Sure, it could use more photos, but don’t let that scare you off. The great interviews alone make this a must-read. The excellent writing and solid topics put it over the top.