An Interview With David Herlihy, Writer of “Bicycle – The Historical past”

David Herlihy’s e book, Bicycle: The Historical past, was the primary and solely e book on bicycles which made it to probably the most distinguished show stand at my native Barnes and Noble. Revealed in 2004, it has been a shocking success, bringing the historical past of bicycles to tens of 1000’s of individuals in a number of completely different languages. The e book is wealthy and colourful, each in its images and its phrases

I met David whereas I used to be in faculty within the 1980s. He was making a bit of additional money by shopping for stunning, barely used highway bikes in Italy (DeRosas, Cinellis, Tommasinis and the like) after which promoting them at remarkably inexpensive costs to cyclists within the USA. This allowed him to indulge his love of journey, play with great bicycles, and produce pleasure to folks on either side of the Atlantic. Come to consider it, his books on biking do just about the identical issues…

Q: Bicycle: The Historical past was an enormous success. How has this success modified your life?

A: Thanks, Forbes. “Big” is a relative (and really flattering) time period. But when I’ll brag a bit, because it got here out in fall 2004, Bicycle has bought over 20,000 copies, principally exhausting covers. That is a reasonably giddy determine for a e book of this nature, revealed by an educational press. I am certain it is much more than even Yale had anticipated. From what I hear, it is now one in all their all-time bestsellers (there are even editions out in Russian and Korean).

All that is extremely gratifying, as was all the eye it obtained within the press, together with evaluations in prestigious publications like The Economist and The New York Occasions Assessment of Books (I’ve to credit score my good publicist, Brenda King, for engineering a lot of that). Most have been fairly favorable and straightforward to digest (a couple of have been much less satisfying, however I managed to recover from them fairly rapidly).

And, sure, I relished my fifteen minutes of fame. It was nice enjoyable touring and selling my e book, even when I needed to cowl my very own bills for probably the most half. I loved giving slide lectures and signing books, and assembly biking lovers of all types. One among my most memorable moments was at a motorcycle present in Edison, New Jersey, the place I had a desk. After one man confirmed that I used to be in truth the writer, he type of misplaced it. He had his image taken with me utilizing his cellular phone. I felt like a rock star.

Getting again to actuality a bit, I can not say that the e book has radically modified my life or life-style, not less than not but. But it surely has been a really optimistic expertise and I believe it has opened up new inventive potentialities.

For starters, it was an incredible aid and satisfaction to lastly flip a decade plus of analysis into one thing concrete that might give me some recognition and really generate somewhat income to maintain physique and soul collectively (to not point out serving to to pay for all that analysis, which included a number of journeys to Europe. Not that I am asking for sympathy, thoughts you!) And I need to say, in my protection, that a lot of my greatest materials surfaced towards the top of my inquiry. Had I revealed the e book even a couple of years earlier, it merely wouldn’t have been as colourful or as wealthy.


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