I’ve known Rohan Dubash for a few years now and remember him mentioning some time ago now that he was working on a book with Guy Andrews. Rohan’s one of the best and most meticulous bike mechanics I’ve ever met, with a huge passion for things Italian as well as the history and traditions of the sport of road cycling, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a typical or basic look at bike mechanics.
Rohan’s worked personally on my bike before and I couldn’t recommend him highly enough as as a mechanic. So from that point of view plus the fact that he’s also written a number of stories for Rouleur Magazine over the years, meant I was intrigued by the book. I’ve also been a long-time fan of the writing of co-author Guy Andrews, who was the Editor for Rouleur magazine from launch until very recently and the book is a Rouleur (and Bloomsbury) publication.
In some ways I might well be a perfect test for the book. I have little mechanical aptitude and struggle at moving past basic bike maintenance. Whilst I’m also somewhat interested in the history and traditions of cycling, I’m far more interested in the future. So I wondered would someone like me struggle with a book written by perfectionists like Rohan and Guy, who have also helped breathe new life into the rich history of road cycling.
Actually, no I didn’t. Normally I wouldn’t even conceive of buying a book like this thanks to my lack of mechanical sympathy or ability but I found the opening section of the book on the history and life of pro-mechanics drew me in and held me there until the detailed discussions of tools and bike repairs took over in the second half of the book.
Even then, knowing I was fairly unlikely to attempt much of the work shown, I still managed to keep reading but in fairness, I think the second half of the book is aimed more to be reference to dip in and out of. For that it works well, broken into a sensible structure, with good photo references and helpful guidance (including tool selections and lubricants).
The section of the book about tools was very likeable as it featured Rohan’s own favourite tools gathered over decades of working with bikes – not simply those from a brand who might typically sponsor a book like this then showing a wide range from said brand.
This is more of an artisan approach, where a good tool may be discovered in an unlikely place as well as a manufacturer’s catalogue and will last a lifetime, becoming a trusted friend.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a copy of Rouleur, you’ll likely enjoy this book. It being a Rouleur/Bloomsbury title means the writing and photography too, thanks to Taz Darlings fine photos give it the customary look feel with respect to both the written word and the visuals. It’s a book that can both look good on your coffee table but also provide a solid reference to use for any work you might want to do on your bike. I even reckon some smudged oily finger marks will fit in with the design.
If you’ve even a passing interest in road bike mechanics, then Bike Mechanic is well worth checking out. Even if you don’t, it’s a good book with an interesting insight into the world and history of professional race mechanics. I’ve enjoyed reading Bike Mechanic and it now has a permanent place on my cycling book shelf.
Thanks for reading