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Best cycling books?

jswbajswba Posts: 491
edited August 2007 in The bottom bracket
Anybody have thoughts on which are the best written, most entertaining books about cycling?

I recently went through Tim Moore's French Revolutions, which was OK (but I had the nagging suspicion that he was fibbing about a few things).
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  • andypandyp Posts: 8,129
    We should start a sticky on this question.

    My recommendations, which are mainly racing related, would be;

    The Rider by Tim Krabbe (simply the best book ever written about racing a bike)
    The Escape Artist by Matt Seaton
    Put Me Back On My Bike by William Fotheringham
    The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell
    King of the Mountains also by Matt Rendell
  • heavymentalheavymental Posts: 2,006
    I think you've got to include Its Not About the Bike by Lance. Love him or hate him I think its a pretty good book.
    I've just finished Richard Moore's book about Robert Millar which was a pretty good read. I'm halfway through Graeme Obrees book but thats on hold due to Harry Potter stealing my attention!

    On the flipside I'd say 23 Days in July is best avoided. Very dull. Infact I had to give up it was so rubbish.
  • AidocpAidocp Posts: 868
    I'd second the Millar book, I'm half way through it at the moment and I'm finding it a great read. I've got the Obree book too, not started it though but the film was good.
  • carlstonecarlstone Posts: 602
    The flying Scotsman is one of my personal favourites and the Lance book.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    [quote="andyp"
    The Rider by Tim Krabbe (simply the best book ever written about racing a bike)
    [/quote]
    I'd second andyp's view here.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    "The Hour" by Michael Hutchinson is quite nicely written - he has a great line in self-depreciating humour that I think you'll like if you like Tim Moore.

    BTW, Moores other book "Frost in my Moustache" about his endeavour to recreate one of his ancestors Artic andventures made my p!ss myself on several occassions.
  • girofangirofan Posts: 137
    Loved the Tim Krabbe book. What can you say? Written by someone who's done it!
    Also Kings of the Mountain, Matt Rendell. I think a lot of us have the same appreciation of these books. Anyone read the Charlie Holland book yet? Would be interested in your opinions. :D
    I say what I like and I like what I say!
  • Moose11Moose11 Posts: 235
    Almost finished The Flying Scotsman and it's a superb book, one of the best I've read. The movie was superb too. Lost a lot of respect for the UCI after how they treated Obree at times.
  • PeacenikPeacenik Posts: 292
    jswba wrote:
    Anybody have thoughts on which are the best written, most entertaining books about cycling?

    I recently went through Tim Moore's French Revolutions, which was OK (but I had the nagging suspicion that he was fibbing about a few things).

    I don't think it matters if he fibbed - it's all done in the name of comedy. I laughed out loud both of the times I read this. I still can't look at a tube of Savlon in Boots without grinning.

    I like Matt Rendell's Pantani biography and Krabbe's novel is brilliant. I also think Paul Kimmage's account is very intriguing. I wonder what sort of book David Millar would write after retirement?
    FCN - 3 (hairy-legged roadie)
    FCN - 6 (single speed)

    http://adventuresontwowheels.blogspot.com/
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Bronzie wrote:
    "The Hour" by Michael Hutchinson is quite nicely written - he has a great line in self-depreciating humour that I think you'll like if you like Tim Moore.

    The Hour is a great book, I've lent it so several people, some of whom aren't even cyclists and they've all enjoyed it.

    I'd also recommend Lance's It's Not About The Bike, and Matt Seaton's The Escape Artist. Paul Kimmage's Rough Ride is worth a read as well. The Hour is definitely the best of the bunch in my mind though.
  • The escape artist isn't about cycling really.
    The Rider is my all time favourite. Also enjoyed "1 more km and we're in the showers" (though he isn't a very happy bunny the author. Quite enjoyed the flying scotsman. 21 days in july is drivel (at least the first few pages are. I abandoned after that). Only Jeffrey Archer could match it for glorifying a cheat.
    Try "Feet in the clouds." It's about fell running but is the only book that approaches "The Rider" for me.
    Dan
  • ChrisLSChrisLS Posts: 2,749
    ...it has to be The Flying Scotsman for me...fantastic book...
    ...all the way...'til the wheels fall off and burn...
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    I've just finished reading The Unknown Tour De France: The Curious Story of the World's Biggest Bicycle Race - I really enjoyed it. It's full of quirky stories about the TDF - how it started, the personalities over the years etc. Some of the stories from the early days are unbelievable.
    Highly recommended
  • mondobongomondobongo Posts: 13
    Riding High subtitled Shadow Racing the Tour de France by Paul Howard is a great read and gives you an idea of what it must be like to get up to race each morning. Another vote for The Escape Artist.

    As Peacenik suggests David Millar has probably got one hell of a book to write.

    To be avoided Push yourself just a little bit more by Jonny Green most definitely not a patch on a Riot of our own.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    The escape artist isn't about cycling really.

    I see where you're coming from, but I'd say there's probably more stuff that's just about cycling in The Escape Artist than there is in It's Not About The Bike.
  • AidocpAidocp Posts: 868
    Is Lance Armstrong Tour de Force any good? My local supermarket was selling it for £4.99 so I thought I'd take a chance on it
  • "Riding through the storm" Geoff Thomas
    "Fall from grace"Freddy Maertens
    "APeipers tale"Allan Peiper
    "wide eyed and legless" Jeff Connor
    "Tales from the toolbox" Scott Parr
    these are all good reads
  • jswbajswba Posts: 491
    Thx everyone! I've got a decent list to get on with now. Krabbe, Seaton's Escape Artist and Rendell's Rough Ride are at the top. Will report back if anybody's still reading this thread in a few weeks....
  • nick hansonnick hanson Posts: 1,655
    Aidocp wrote:
    Is Lance Armstrong Tour de Force any good? My local supermarket was selling it for £4.99 so I thought I'd take a chance on it
    Yep,good book,that one
    As an alternative to the serious stuff,I can very much recommend Push Yourself Just A Little Bit More,by Johnny Green. A Very Entertaining read,written by the former manager of the Clash,if my memory serves me correctly?
    so many cols,so little time!
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,609
    Not book but film - American Flyers. Dumb fun.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • star_roverstar_rover Posts: 318
    Anyone read Bad to the Bone by James Waddington? Surreal, black comedy set in the world of pro cycling. Previously average riders start winning everything, then suddenly disappearing and dying after going soft in the head. All after hooking up with a mysterious 'doctor'.
    Written in about 1999. But still seems topical.
  • Lucky LukeLucky Luke Posts: 402
    Anyone fancy doing a book swap ? I've got Graham Obree's 'the Flying Scotsman' and William Fotheringham's 'put me back on my bike ' to offer for a swap if anyone's interested .
    Luke
  • Paul Kimmage's Rough Ride has already been mentioned. The story of his training and progress from National Champion to struggling mediocrity in the pelaton is both gripping and sobering. It harshly illuminates just how high the bar is for professional racing.

    He is less convincing as a writer where he describes blood doping etc. By this point in the narrative he's dropping out of top level competition and he comes off as whinging and desparate, undercutting the strength of his arguments by over-extending his logic. After three or four telling points, he quotes an example of an athelete doing pull-ups in the middle of the night as evidence of EPO or homologous transfusion- this must be due to a raised haematocrit and the risk of a heart attack, says Kimmage. Kimmage may be correct, but it's a poor illustration as an equally beleivable explanation would be pre-race nerves, for example. He just seems desparate to prove his point, when in fact he's already stated his case clearly. The last part of the book has several of these rather grating lapses of writerly judgement.

    On the whole though a thoroughly enjoyable read, very good at evoking the rigours of elite riding and the cameraderie within the community. The story about Greg Lemond descending while squitting diarrhoea is priceless!

    COI: I ride a Lemond.
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,129
    star_rover wrote:
    Anyone read Bad to the Bone by James Waddington? Surreal, black comedy set in the world of pro cycling. Previously average riders start winning everything, then suddenly disappearing and dying after going soft in the head. All after hooking up with a mysterious 'doctor'.
    Written in about 1999. But still seems topical.
    I read it a fair few year's ago, i.e. around when it was published I think. I found it mildly amusing but it wasn't that well written and some of the names of the riders seemed strange (maybe I missed out on the joke though).

    I may dig it out and re-read it now though, as I'd forgotten I had it.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Just about finished "In Search of Robert Millar" which is a fascinating read - the author doesn't make any judgements, and it is well researched and written. "The Death of Marco Pantani" is a pretty compelling, albeit a tragic tale. I found "The Hour" pretty dull - you can tell he's not a writer by profession. "French Revolutions" is a good laugh and Tim Moore a good writer - his book about taking a donkey across Spain is funny too. I enjoyed the "Escape Artist" and having more recently been racing against Matt, he's no slouch on the bike either. I've read too many books about the Tour to find them interesting anymore.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Stark.Stark. Posts: 108
    My favourite reads include:

    Le Tour by Geoffrey Wheatcroft – full of fascintaing stories from the earliest days of the Tour. Les Woodland's Unknown Tour de France is excellent too.

    William Fotheringham's Put Me Back On My Bike is a really well-balanced and unsentimental view of Tom Simpson's career.

    I'd also recommend Sweat of the Gods by Benjo Maso, The Rider by Tim Krabbe and Willy Voet's first-hand account of the Festina affair.

    I'm currently reading The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell. At first I found his style a bit grating, but as the story progresses you get a real sense of Pantani's world spiralling out of control. Tragic.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    Stark. wrote:
    My favourite reads include:

    Le Tour by Geoffrey Wheatcroft – full of fascintaing stories from the earliest days of the Tour. Les Woodland's Unknown Tour de France is excellent too.
    quote]

    Wheatcofts book is well written but riddled with errors. I don't know if they have been corrected in the new edition.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    Off racing, "A Bike Ride" by Anne Mustoe, and "The Middle Aged Mountaineer" (yes, really) by Jim Curran, or any of several by Josie Dew, Bettina Selby and others.
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • Whatever you think about him Lance Armstrong's It's Not about the Bike is an excellent read.
    Other cycling books, not on a racing theme which I have enjoyed include:-
    Richard & Nicholas Cranes's - Journey to the Centre of the Earth - a real minimalst adventure and a great read. I read it from local library, but have since seen it available to read on the net http://web.archive.org/web/20041211045554/http://www.koopmann.lightup.net/crane/

    Goran Kropp's Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey an account of his journey cycling from his home in Sweden to the base of Everest an then climbing it and cycling back home. Interesting read, though the account does seem to miss chunks of his trip. Sadly he since died in a climbing accident.

    Tim Mullner's Long Ride for a Pie - an entertaining account of his ride from UK back home to New Zealand
  • hevipedalhevipedal Posts: 2,475
    The Beautiful Machine - Graeme Fife - absolutely brilliant
    Blazing Saddles - Matt Rendell - very good
    French Revolutions - Tim Moore - A laugh a minute
    Flying Scotsman - Graham Obree - very good and not a laugh at all
    The Hour - Michael Hutchinson - Brilliant, very funny.


    Definately not that pile of poo by geoff Thomas; great bloke and what he did was amazing, but the book is censored . He thinks Euskadi Euskatel are dutch because they wear orange.................
    Hevipedal
    It's not only people that are irrational; 1.4142135623730950488016887242096980785696718753769480731766797379907324784621
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