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Any good cycling books (biography, cycling history)

ridgeway_swissridgeway_swiss Posts: 145
edited October 2019 in Road general
Just finished reading the biography of Gino Bartali "Road to Valour" which is a simply amazing read as it covers a difficult period in our history and how one man simply rode through it and the Nazis ! If you've not read it and enjoy a good biography then it's well worth it.

I'm sure there's plenty of biographies on pretty much all "great" riders but which ones read well and tell an interesting story ?

Can anyone recommend any others ?

Thanks
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Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,090
    "the hour" Michael Hutchinson
  • "the hour" Michael Hutchinson


    Thanks, i'll add it to the list.
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 3,226
    The Rider - Tim Krabbe (edit: this is fiction but absolutely excellent)

    Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy

    Fallen Angel : Fausto Coppi by William Fotherington
  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,615
    The secret race by Tyler Hamilton.

    Ok, so it's about a dark era in cycling history but it's a great read, and provides an open and honest insight in to the life of a pro tour rider at that time.

    You may see things in a different light as a result, I certainly did.
  • I've not read "The Hour" so I don't know how much might be repeated in my recommendation Michael Hutchinson's "Faster", but I can found it an excellent read which includes an insight into the workings of British Cycling under Dave Brailsford.

    I also enjoyed "Roule Britannia" by William Fotheringham
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    The Beast, The Emperor and The Milkman - Harry Pearson.

    The book tracks the intertwined history of Belgian racing and riders with the impact of the times they lived in. Ever wonder why the E3 race is so called - it’s in here!
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Etape by Richard Moore is probably my favourite cycling book, is formatted as a collection of short stories about particular tours/stages, so easy to dip in and out of - Richard Moore's work in general is excellent - Slaying the Badger also an excellent read.

    Laurent Fignon's autobiography 'We were young and carefree' also worth a read.

    Would echo 'The Secret Race', excellent read, got me started reading bike books.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,090
    "the hour" Michael Hutchinson


    Thanks, i'll add it to the list.

    The difference is that it's not your usual biography and Hutch can actually write. It's really good
  • "the hour" Michael Hutchinson


    Thanks, i'll add it to the list.

    The difference is that it's not your usual biography and Hutch can actually write. It's really good

    Just ordered it this morning, thanks
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,573
    Wide Eyed and Legless
    Ben

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  • Ben6899 wrote:
    Wide Eyed and Legless

    That looks like a good read, the inside story on Roches' TDF, my childhood era.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 11,378
    redvision wrote:
    The secret race by Tyler Hamilton.

    Ok, so it's about a dark era in cycling history but it's a great read, and provides an open and honest insight in to the life of a pro tour rider at that time.

    You may see things in a different light as a result, I certainly did.

    Also, The Death of Marco Pantani.
  • I would add my vote to 'The Death of Marco Pantani' as well, very well researched and pretty comprehensively detailed account of his life and career.
  • I enjoyed both of David Millar's books. My current cycling read is 'Training and Racing with a Power Meter' (which I'd recommend if that's your thing!)
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,752
    +1 for The Rider and The Secret Race.

    One of the best I have read is "Domestique" by Charly Wegelius
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    I'll echo everything Ugo's said about The Hour. I've even leant it to a couple of people who weren't cycling fans who thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • tomisitttomisitt Posts: 257
    I can thoroughly recommend this, recently published :wink: It's an excellent read about an amazing (and long-forgotten) bike race across the battlefields of the Western Front in 1919, and the author's attempt to follow the race route.

    ZR+graphic.jpg

    BTW, the stuff in Road to Valour about Bartali and the Nazis appears to be complete fiction. An interesting look at the myth here:

    https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-a ... estigation
  • mr_mojomr_mojo Posts: 189
    I read Seven Deadly Sins by David Walsh. About Lance Armstrong and his doping but I thought an excellent book. I read and enjoyed The Secret Race too and liked it.
  • Wow tons of reading here !!!

    I wonder if we read more than we ride :lol:

    Thanks for all the ideas.
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,319
    Chris Boardman's autobiography 'Triumphs and Turbulence' is good - much better than I thought it would be.
    I'd also recommend anything by William Fotheringham - many of which have already been recommended, also his brother Alasdair has written a few good ones - he tends to focus on Spanish subjects such as Luis Ocana and Indurain.
    Ned Boulting's books are always a good read, mostly about the TdF and his exploits covering the race.
    David Millar two biographical books are really good, as have been recommended above.
    If you want something cycling related but not about pro-racing, then Tim Moore's 'French Revolutions', ''Gironimo' and 'The Cyclist who went out in the Cold' are really good as well.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,573
    There's also "Ventoux" - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16000713-ventoux

    And Bjarne Riis' autobiography is a bit of an insight into Narcissistic Personality Disorder...
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
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  • borisfaceborisface Posts: 273
    Unfortunately, most cycling books are not very well written sports biographies which are little more than a list of a riders achievements, impressive though they may be. IMO exceptions are Jean Bobet's tomorrow we ride, Juliana Buhring's The Road I Ride, Herbie Sykes' The Race Against the Stasi about an east German cycling champ who defected after a race, John Foot's Pedalare, Pedalare is a solid history of Italian cycling, and Laurent Fignon's When We Were Young and Carefree is wonderfully poignant.

    Not so much cycling history or biogs of the greats but Alaistair Humphries books Moods of Future Joys, and Tom Allen's Janapar are fantastic. Tom Kevill Davies' A Hungry Cyclist is worth a look, especially if you're a foodie.
  • big_harvbig_harv Posts: 524
    Victoria Pendleton, Between the Lines. Some raw stuff in here, most now know better than to call her er...flaky.
  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,620
    Some good suggestions.....
    I haven't read through the whole thread so someone may have already mentioned it but...

    Three Weeks, Eight Seconds: The Epic Tour de France of 1989 by Nige Tassell... all about Lemond and Fignon battle in 1989

    This one really worked for me and I liked the format.
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Calibre Bossnut
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,216
    we were young and carefree - Fignons book. he was a complicated chap that one. bloody good bike rider though.
  • aclivityaclivity Posts: 94
    Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy
    This. 100% this.

    I read this about 40 years ago, it is still where my mind goes whenever people talk about a cycling book.

    Also - the one about Tom Simpson that I found in a second hand shop... Not sure what it was called though?
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    Think I'll get The Sykes on the Stasi one, right up my street. Though prefer defecting the other way...
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,087
    Very specific to a schoolboy hero of mine but "In search of Robert Millar" by Richard Moore is excellent.
    I also enjoyed both of David Millar's books.
    Ned Boulting's "How I won the yellow jumper" is good but I found his later offerings less enjoyable.
    Chris Boardman's autobiography is very good - he has a very dry sense of humour and I was unaware of just how much involvement he had behind the scenes in the success of British Cycling over the last 10-15 years.
    Rob Penn's "It's all about the bike" is a good read - it inspired me to build my own bike. I think there is a short film based on it as well.
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,090
    crescent wrote:
    Rob Penn's "It's all about the bike" is a good read - it inspired me to build my own bike. I think there is a short film based on it as well.

    Whis is awaste of time... I assembled myself quite a few bikes over the years (build is a big word, it would imply making the frame as well)... none of them was better than an off the peg Specialized Allez
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