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David Byrne's BICYCLE DIARIES (Viking; On-sale: September 21, 2009)

posted Aug 24, 2009, 12:45 PM by Vu Nguyen

Candid and self-deprecating, Byrne offers a work that is as engaging as it is cerebral and informative.”

Publishers Weekly

“A loving tribute to the bicycle and world travel.”


“Byrne fans will enjoy this peek into [his] daily life…whether describing what he made for lunch during a blackout or puzzling over the thorniest problems of civilization, the author is undeniably an intelligent, sensitive citizen of the world.”

Kirkus Reviews

"The Talking Head's discursive travelogue is hugely entertaining"

The Observer (UK)

The bicycle is the world’s most used form of transportation.  Since the early 1980s, David Byrne, co-founder of the Talking Heads, has been riding one as his primary means of getting around in New York City and on tour overseas.  This point of view—faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person—became his panoramic window on the world over the last thirty years.  Byrne has gathered his observations and insights on cycling around the globe into a new book BICYCLE DIARIES, which Viking will publish on September 21, 2009.

As Byrne pedals through metropolises from Berlin to Buenos Aires, Istanbul to San Francisco, Manila to Baltimore, he sees economics revealed in shop fronts and history in door frames.  With a highly personal mixture of humor and curiosity, he records his thoughts on globalization, world music, urban planning, fashion, policy, architecture, cultural dislocation, and much more.  Byrne explains why efforts to increase bicycle use may solve some of the world’s pressing transportation and energy concerns, and in an appendix, offers tips on bike security, rider safety, and clothing and listings of bicycle activist organizations across the country.

BICYCLE DIARIES is an eye-opening celebration of seeing the world at bike level from one of the most original artists on the scene today. 

About the Author

DAVID BYRNE is a musician, visual artist and filmmaker.  A co-founder of the musical group Talking Heads, he has also released several solo albums and garnered an Academy Award for his score to Bernardo Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor.  His art includes photography and installation works, and has been published in five books, most recently Arboretum.  His is working on a musical collaboration with Fatboy Slim invoking the life of former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, and is currently touring the world in support of “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today,” a second duo album with Brian Eno.  Byrne was recently commissioned by the New York City Department of Transportation to design artistic bicycle racks for the city which were installed last August.