Goggles & Dust Book Review
Goggles & Dust First thoughts
Velopress’ Goggles & Dust is a collection of photographs from the “glory days” of competitive cycling in the 1920’s and 30’s. The book is chock full of images from what we could call the “early” days of cycle racing. The conditions and equipment used are eye opening, to say the least. History buffs and the casual observer will both find the contents intriguing and often amusing.
Velopress’ Goggles & Dust – Performance
OK, while the word “performance” doesn’t really apply here, I can speak to the quality of the book itself as well as the “bang for the buck” factor. When I first cracked the cover, the book opened (wide) rather easily and with little or no “cracking” that one typically hears with a new book. This initially led me to believe it was poorly constructed and I had just broken the binding. This was not the case at all. The book has since been read through no fewer than 15 times in an effort to test the quality. It has held up admirably and without a single stitch going awry. The (glossy) pages still have spring and life to them speaking to the quality of the paper, cover and binding.
The contents of the book are of equal quality to the book itself. The Velopress Goggles and Dust is a fantastic trip through history to a time when cycling seemed a little more pure and, frankly, “hard core”. There didn’t seem to be the decadence of money and sponsorships and the focus sat squarely on the riders themselves. The images reminded me of the early days of Formula 1 and the rustic and obviously dangerous conditions in which these athletes competed. I am not a cycling history buff at all. For someone like myself, this would be my only real criticism related to the contents of the book. As a casual observer, the very limited information about each of the photos does not really paint the entire picture. The name of the cyclist is given along with the year and the name of the race (typically the Tour de France). There is another line of around 5-10 words explaining the activity in the photo. Since the photo leaves a decent amount of space for these three lines of text, I think more could have been added to give more context. How did the rider finish? What position were they in at the time of the photo? How long had they been racing? Were they sponsored? etc.
For someone that is very involved in cycling and knows the history, the contents of this book will be a trip down memory lane. The bikes and other equipment are as much of the story as the riders. For those that know the history, the details in each image will provide countless stories and comparisons to today’s innovations. Even casual cyclists will be able to appreciate these aspects. At the end of the day, the goal is the same. Finish the race ahead of your competitors. The beauty of this book is it tells the story of the conditions and equipment that were used nearly a century ago. And we quickly see that generally speaking, the equipment has not changed that drastically.
Velopress’ Goggles & Dust – Details
- Hardcover with 100 photographs
- 8″ x 7″
- 120 pages
The Velopress Goggles & Dust is an entertaining book and a good addition to any cycling (history) enthusiasts coffee table. The book has enough intrigue and history to capture the attention of the die-hard fan and the casual observer alike. I would have liked to see a larger book with larger images for the price. That said, the amount of work that went into making this item more than justifies the cost. These images truly are historic and priceless. MSRP: $16.95. For more information and purchase please visit www.velopress.com.