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Best Cycling Books to Read(17 posts)

Best Cycling Books to ReadBill RHIT
Jan 12, 2002 4:10 PM
I am curious as to some books related to cycling that anyone might reccomend. I enjoy reading and would like to find something written by pro's or experienced riders. I am not interested in as much technique and maintenance and I am interested in experiences and stories. Thanks for any input!
re: Best Cycling Books to ReadRandyMH
Jan 12, 2002 4:29 PM
I enjoyed Lance Armstrongs "It's not about the bike" also the "99 Tour De France" gives a pretty good insight to what it's like to ride the tour.
a ride on the wild side/ bob rollcolker
Jan 13, 2002 10:16 AM
the gavia pass stage is wonderfull reading. roll is a good writer..
re: Best Cycling Books to Readgwood
Jan 12, 2002 5:22 PM
i just picked up a book last night named "Miles From Nowhere". i don't have the book in front of me so don't remember the name of the person who wrote it but it is about a couple who did an around the world tour on bicycles; it took them two years. i've only read about 100 pages but it is hard to put down. i belive it was written in the early 80's and after the successful tour, the lady (writer) was killed in a cycling accident.

i am also about half way through lance's book - interesting but at the halfway point kind of depressing. don't anyone go and spoil it by telling me the ending!!

Miles from NowhereAndy M-S
Jan 13, 2002 2:15 PM
Barbara Savage is the author; she and her spouse set out to ride around the world staring (I think) in '77. There's not much about cycling per se, but it is a wonderful adventure.

I just picked it up in Chicago to read on the ride back to La Crosse--I put it down for dinner, but that was about it.

She has some choice words for Florida drivers...
Miles from NowhereBlair
Jan 13, 2002 7:52 PM
I second that reccomendation. There is some good cycling bits, like how they rode through the rockies with a double and how a fork broke. Their lack of cycling background also makes the story amazing. Check the Library, ours has it.
re: Best Cycling Books to ReadIseemo
Jan 14, 2002 9:47 AM
Miles From Nowhere is an excellent book. I read that several years ago when I thought I may be doing some serious bike touring (never did - got into racing instead). Gives a nice perspective on rustic bike touring and some great and not so great places to cycle in the world (as well as how to maintain a relationship).

Lance's book is terrific also.
re: Best Cycling Books to ReadTrent in WA
Jan 12, 2002 6:18 PM
Hinault's _Memories of the Peloton_ is a great read, especially if you're old enough to remember the racing scene from the 70s and 80s. For more touring-oriented books, _Spokesongs_ and _Metal Cowboy_ are pretty good, too.

re: Best Cycling Books to Readbianchi boy
Jan 12, 2002 7:34 PM
The Yellow Jersey is a pretty good novel about cycling. I also read Miles from Nowhere years ago, and it's a great read. I have heard of another novel, something like North Wind in My Spokes, that supposed to be pretty good, but I haven't been able to locate it in any libraries or bookstores around here.
re: Best Cycling Books to ReadBill RHIT
Jan 13, 2002 6:22 PM
North Wind in My Spokes is available here:
You have got to read Hearts of Lions by Peter Nye! (nm)allervite
Jan 12, 2002 7:37 PM
re: McGowan, Nicholson, Abt...redman
Jan 9, 2002 8:17 PM
Sam Abt of the N.Y.Times has several really good books--In High Gear is one of the titles. My favorite of his is the one that covers the 84 Tour with Hinault trying to take the tour back from Fignon, and a rookie Lemond in the white jersey, plus new stars like Lucho. I know the Tour begins in 86 for a lot of American cyclists, but Abt has a great way of telling the out of the way Tour stories.

Geoffry Nicholson's (The Times) book covering a mid 70s Tour (not near my books, but can supply a title if it helps) tells the stories as well as anybody, and is a really great book about a great great period of cycling.

Robin McGowan has a really fine book from the late 80s on the tour and on the season's major races. It is an 8x11" size with great photos too. It has great Tour history (McGowan worked from French sources, and his ancient tour stories are more reliable than most of the third hand drivel you read) as well as great 80s tour stories. It has extended and detailed descriptions of the the whole season of racing, which in the 80s seemed pretty obvious, but now that the season has changed so much after the Gran Prix, etc., it's great to have a record of the way the season used to work.

These are the best written books with the best stories and insights. There are other great stories in books less well written. One not to miss is the Memoirs of the Peloton book ghost-written for Hinault. David Walsh wrote a good biography of Sean Kelly in a rapid, spare, style that leaves you wishing you had the whole story. Wish I was near my books now, because there is that great book from 1990 or so by the Irish domestique, Paul ____? the tells the real story of how drugs work in cycling. It won some awards but got the whole peloton ticked off.

Not the stories you're looking for but a how-to compendium: Effective Cycling by John Forester is an all time classic, that shows the kind of all-round cycling nut (racer, commuter, activist, curmugeon, retro/cyber grouch) you can become if you're not careful. Forester has made a huge contribution to American cycling and cyclists in Nor. Cal. in the 70s badgered him for years to write it. He finally did in 84. Feel free to ignore about a quarter of what he says is the only reasonable way to do things.

From a literary point of view, again not what you asked for, the Noiseless Tenor is a collection of literary excerpts that feature cycling in some way that could only be conceived by a cycling freak. This book has dense and detailed introductions to the excerpts that are longer than the experpts themselves. Like the Forester book, kind of a monument to how intensely people come to feel about cycling.

Tempted to mention many others, but the top three are the great racing stories books. Might be hard to find in print now. Can provide better titles if you're interested.

The best cycling stories come right out of L'equipe if you live where you can get it. Worth learning French for. Learn Flemish and there is a whole nother world of cycling stories.
re: Best Cycling Books to Readmark31
Jan 13, 2002 4:39 AM
you have got to read breaking the chain by willy voet it willopen your mind
The Immortal ClassTypeOne
Jan 13, 2002 8:12 PM
I read a book by a Chicago bike messenger called "The Immortal Class" last year. It was an interesting retrospective, with stories of messenger crits, fearlessly zipping through urban traffic, wielding a U-lock as a weapon, joining Critical Mass, and barely surviving it all. It really is the story of a pro cyclist, although not what you are probably looking for. I thought it was a really good read.

I liked the Samuel Abt books I read, as well as LA's book (it truly isn't about the bike--you learn a lot about chemotherapy and in vitro fertilization), but I was disappointed by an Eddy Merckx coffee table book I borrowed from a friend. It had lots of pictures, but must have been orginally written by a Belgian. It was awkwardly constructed, but worth checking out...from the library, if you can.

As for fiction, I read one of the Greg Moody books and wasn't so enthralled. I think I finished "Deadroll." Skip it.
"French Revolutions" by...Timo Vennonen
Jan 13, 2002 10:21 PM
Tim Moore. A hilarious tale of a layman's Tour de France. Highly recommended.
Not the metal cowboy.salmonwheel
Jan 14, 2002 10:04 AM
Or whatever the title was. I tried to read some of it, but couldn't get too far, it was really poorly written, and not even interesting. I've heard good things about MIles From Nowhere, but haven't gotten a chance to read it yet.
Bob Roll!bn
Jan 14, 2002 12:28 PM