List of Book Reviews

Cycling Books

Here is a list of past book reviews. As well as the list below I’ve added a few books that I’ve read but not reviewed in case you’re looking for a read sometime. A book choice is always personal so make what you will of any opinions and reviews.

The Climb by Chris Froome
Shadows on the Road by Michael Barry
Lanterne Rouge by Max Leonard
Faster by Michael Hutchinson
The Monuments by Peter Cossins
Ma Liberté de Rouler by David Moncoutié
At Speed by Mark Cavendish
The Cycling Anthology, Volume 3 by various writers
Project Rainbow by Rod Ellingworth
Land of Second Chances by Tim Lewis
Mountain Higher by Daniel Friebe
Mountain Kings by Giles Belbin
Domestique by Charly Wegelius
Va Va Froome by David Sharp
The Cycling Anthology, Volume 2 by various writers
Mapping the Tour by Ellis Bacon
Racing Hard by William Fotheringham
Maglia Rosa, triumph and tragedy at the Giro d’Italia by Herbie Sykes
The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell
Review: Coppi – Inside the Legend of the Campionissimo
The Cycling Professor by Marco Pinotti
The Cycling Anthology, Volume 1 by various writers
Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage
Vélo by Paul Fournel
The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle
Consumed by Jonathan Budds
Tour de France by Christopher Thomson
Riis Stages of Light and Dark by Bjarne Riis
Pedalare! Pedalare! A History of Italian Cycling by John Foot
Cyclo Cross 2011/2012 Photo Book by Bálint Hamvas
The Jersey Project by Bill Humphreys and Jerry Dunn
Eddy Merckx, The Cannibal by Daniel Friebe
Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike by William Fotheringham
The Sweat of Gods by Benjo Maso
The Competition Bicycle by Jan Heine
Mountain High by Daniel Friebe
Racing Through the Dark by David Millar
The Rider by Tim Krabbé
We Were Young And Carefree by Laurent Fignon

As well as the reviews above, here are a few more books that I’ve read and enjoyed but never got around to writing a review. Perhaps I will soon.

In Search of Robert Millar
Arguably Britain’s best cyclist until Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins started to land the big wins, Robert Millar has since retired from public life, to put it one way. Unable to interview him, writer Richard Moore sets off to write a biography and tells the tale of Millar’s life as a cyclist via anecdotes from others. The determination to succeed from the earliest days stands out.

A Dog In A Hat
Racing in Belgium as experienced by an outsider. Like the frog dropped in hot water rather than sitting in water than gradually heats up, Joey Parkin gets scolded by life in Belgium as a pro. We might revel at the toughness of the sport but Parkin covers the underside with what it feels like to lose, to watch others cheat and more. If you think pro cycling is glamorous, read this.

Tour de France intime Brunel

Worth learning French for – but there’s an English edition too

Le Tour de France Intime
Yes it is in French but this is a pictorial history of the Tour and you don’t need really need to understand French as the photos are so good by themselves. That said Philippe Brunel is one of cycling’s best writers with a deep understanding of the sport and his descriptions of the riders and the race are great. He’s choosen pictures from the race that show riders in a different light. They might be relaxing on a rest day, getting their haircut or stopped by the road to grab a drink. In fact often the shots show riders without a bike in sight. It’s here that you get a glimpse of the men involved and can look into their eyes. A superb book.

Tours de France
In French only, this is a collection of essays and articles in L’Equipe by Antoine Blondin. A playwright and author, he covered sports for fun and his observations are witty and incisive, especially as he is able to detach himself from the sport and make leaps towards other ideas, to observe the race with an artist’s eye. Here he is on the subject of doping, the words written at the time of the Apollo landings on the moon:

A whole planet where everything should be held up in contagious joy – audacity, courage, health – reveals a shady aspect which nobody talks about. It’s the dark side of the moon with its valleys of trickery, its craters of suspicion, its seas of repression.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

ulfhjensen February 14, 2013 at 8:50 am

Hello INRNG,

May I suggest “The Escape Artist” by Matt Seaton. Really one of the best reads in my humble opinion. Mr. Seaton writes about his life as it evolves around bikeracing; from a young boy into adulthood and responsibilities. A stunning book.
Other must reads would include
“Bikie” by Charlie Woods
“Tomorrow we ride” by Jean Bobet (the brother)
“Put me back on my bike” by William Fotheringham
Ulf

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Chris February 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

One that is a personal favourite is “Kings of the Mountains” by Matt Rendell, though I guess that is partly because I haven’t been able to find a definitive book on Colombian cycling. It’s a bit difficult to find, as it is out of print, but I know that Klaus over at Cycling Inquisition had a few copies available not too long ago. Definitely worth checking out!

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c40jim February 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Le Tour de France Intime is available in English. I just checked my bookshelf and it’s there.

A few that I’d recommend from the old days:
The Giro d’Italia by Dino Buzzati on the 1949 Giro Coppi vs. Bartali
Devil’s Island and the Tour de France by Albert Londres on the 1924 (this was a freebie from Cycle Sport a few years ago)
1904: The Tour de France Which Was to Be the Last by Jacques Seray (my copy’s missing so someone borrowed it and didn’t return it)

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Tripod Ape July 27, 2014 at 9:17 am

I’d thoroughly recommend Phil Gaimon’s Pro Cycling on $10 a Day.

It’s well written, full of hilarious anecdotes and blokey one-liners. However it also sheds light on the serious realities of trying to rise to the top in the modern sport; the hard work, the setbacks and low wages, BS peddling team managers and racing against ‘ex-dopers’. And, not to spoil the plot, it’s got a happy ending!

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Nina August 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm

One of my favourite books is “Bicycle History” by James L. Witherell. It is a chronological history of the bicycle. I thought it might be tough to read, but indeed it was so fascinating that I couldn’t stop. Today we forget that before the automobile it was the bicycle that really had an impact on everyday life. It changed the possibilities of the working world, was used as a propaganda tool in politics and provided a new freedom of movement and speed. There were bicycle classes, bicycle clubs, bicycle laws, bicycle trains…. A whole new world.
The book has little pearls like this: For the TdF 1920 every rider had to give a suit to the organizers so he has something to wear in case his luggage gets lost. There are also poetic, sad anecdotes like the one of José Meiffret and his last will. You’ll find interesting informations about the different tactics the bike manufacturers used over time to sell their bikes and much, much more.

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