Your Favourite Cycling books

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by mec287

I'm half way through, and liking 'My Time' and there are some useful nuggets of info in there from Wiggo. Helps me when I'm in the garage on the turbo to think of him in his shed with the heaters on!!

I read Lance Armstrong's book 'Its not about the bike' about 5 years ago, and at the time thought it was really good (mostly from a 'beating cancer' perspective). Have felt pretty duped since he was properly outed, mind you!

I have Boy Racer and Wiggo's first book to read when I get the chance.
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by KB

The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham is an excellent book as it's not just about the bike. Also liked Richard Moore's book on Lemond and Hinault. Millar's a drama queen, so I don't rate his book. Kimmage's book is full of self pity.

I've read many cycling books, but my favourite is Hamilton's. It totally lifted the lid and told us what the non gullible expected.

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by djconnel

I'm reading René Herse: The Bikes • The Builder • The Riders, by Jan Heine. I got it as a gift and admit I was skeptical: how many photos of old Herse bikes before it gets silly? But it's not primarily a photo book. The history of the competitive nature of randonneuring and the innovation of René Herse is captivating. The book is extremely well written and is of excellent quality. It's definitely not weight weenie: 1.8 kg.

I tended to think of old randonneuring bikes as being tanks designed for comfort but exceptionally slow. But this book, and other work by Jan Heine (Bicycle Quarterly), has proven this bias wrong.

Alternately, I'm reading Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. So far I'm not impressed (see link for comments), but I haven't gotten to what I suppose is the good part.

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by Slagter

prendrefeu wrote:The Rider - Tim Krabbé

Does anyone know, where to get this book for Kindle or iPad? Any kind of non-paper version would do.

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by jvanv8

Great thread, piecing together a wish-list from the ones I haven't read.

Of those that I've read, probably nothing new here, but I'll rate them in descending order from 'Great' to 'Good' of those that I would recommend reading. Although you should be forewarned that my opinions come with little merit, so taking the inverse isn't a bad route either.


1. 'Road To Valor' by Aili and Andres McConnon (pictured above) @QuattroAssini Probably my favorite. Tough riding without races. Hard to read a bio of a modern day cyclist after this. The stages back then make today look like a a sunday afternoon club ride, not to mention the interruption of war. Oh, and Bartali isn't a half-bad cyclist. Couldn't put it down.

2. “Mountain High: Europe's 50 Greatest Cycle Climbs” by Daniel Friebe and Pete Goding (pictured above) @Dalai (because he clearly needs beautiful photos after his mundane rides)
Available both in Europe and now in the US

This is a large format 'coffee table' & reference book with great photos, stories, and data should you venture to one of the climbs. It's organized by height-meters, smallest to largest.

My old apartment makes a cameo.

Sample of the data for each climb.

Sample of the data for each climb.

What's covered in this edition.

It only covers 50 climbs by design, but I was wishing for it to include a climb or 2 from Mallorca, Corse, and a bit more from Austria and Great Britain. Seems like they had this in mind, because there is a another edition just out called Mountain Higher which looks to cover these areas (available in UK/Europe and in the US

3. Joe Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible from the late 1990s. My brief and short-lived success at racing was largely aided by his plans. Later versions were ok, but not as good in my opinion.

4. The Secret Race: Tyler Hamilton (pictured above) (New England guy living like Bond on the Cote d'Azur... much of it sounded familiar except for the LA stuff). @ dereksmalls and others.

5. Le Tour: 25 Etapes Legende by Jacques Augendre (pictured)
After spending numerous days perusing French bookstores, this was one of the best coffee-table cycling books I could find (that doesn't load down your luggage). The stories are well written and highlights how hard Le Tour was years ago compared to today. Many full page photos which are great, especially for the casual french reader, like myself, to fill in the gaps.

Another option along similar lines is "Cycling's Golden Age" (pictured) which is in English and includes more diversity in it's racing coverage. Also some great modern day photos of old team kits.

6. A Dog In A Hat: Joe Parkin (pictured above) @eric , @wingnut Enjoyed it, but it's a wild-wild-west drug infused cycling story. I can only take this type of atmosphere on certain days. However, it's probably the best of that genre and a good read.

7. We Were Young And Carefree: Laurent Fignon (pictured above) @wingnut I read the English version. He's an interesting character. I didn't watch cycling in the 80s so this filled in some gaps.

Now reading: "Slaying The Badger" which overlaps Fignon to a degree. It's good if you are already interested in the characters but not exceptional storytelling.

I remember fighting through The Rider by Tim Krabbé in French, even while living in Languedoc-Roussillon but it never really connected. I think I need to revisit it at some point based on the good reviews.
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by mm1

Need for the Bike by Paul Fournel and Tomorrow we Ride by Jean Bobet (Louison's brother). Both are beautifully written, moving and lyrical evocations of the joy and freedom of riding a bike. Bobet's account of a wet night time ride in Italy on the eve of his brother's World Championship victory is a great piece of writing. If nothing else, these two books are a refreshing change from sordid doping confessions.

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by gravity

Tyler Hamilton's The Secret Race is a really good book. But I don't like the fact that he is a cheat and still try to profit by writing a book about his cheats.

I also remember he tweeted 'Karma' when the news of Mick Roger's clenbutarol case came to light. That is just not cool. He now think that he holds a higher moral ground than the rest of the cheats just because he wrote a book about cheating/doping?

Bjarne Riis' Stages of Light and Dark is pretty good too. I enjoyed reading it. Surprised this book didn't get a mentioned here.

I wish Moncoutie's book will be translated to English tho..

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by mm1

Not convinced that profit would have been Tyler Hamilton's chief motivation in telling his story. Unless there are film rights and merchandise to be sold, or sequels to be written there's not that much money in writing a book and whatever was made will have been shared with Dan Coyle. Hamilton's confession is sordid, brutal and real, far more so than any of the other doping confessions. I defy anyone to read it without at least an occasional wince, or without wondering why Hamilton didn't just find another job (the money of course). Getting everything off his chest must have been hugely cathartic and, given what we know about his sometimes fragile mental health, may well have saved Hamilton's life. Not a fun read, but engrossing nonetheless.

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by eric

My wife is an author with a long list of published books and she keeps up on the publishing industry. Her self-admitted high guess is an advance in the mid five figures (USD) each for Tyler and Coyle, and it would not have paid more than the advance (which is typical).

That's ok but not great pay for what was probably about half a years work for Coyle. I have no idea what Tyler's finances are like so don't know what that figure would mean to him. My guess is that after the pay he received as a top pro, not a whole lot. The only significant financial reward I could see would be movie rights and that's a very long shot. Especially given the subject and the troubled main character.

So I agree that non financial reasons were most likely the main drivers.

I thought it was a good book- Coyle writes well and Tyler did not hold back.

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by Stammer

I have a lot of cycling books, but my fav are as below:

1. The Climb - Chris Froome (This is where you get to know how training of a pro cyclist is done, and how powerful he is compare to Wiggo and I also have the Wiggo books My Time but it is pretty laid back read compare to Froomy)
2. The Secret Race - Tyler Hamilton (very gripping stories)

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by Geoff

The Monuments: Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races by Cossins is really quite a good read.

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by 9tarmac

Stammer wrote:I have a lot of cycling books, but my fav are as below:

1. The Climb - Chris Froome (This is where you get to know how training of a pro cyclist is done, and how powerful he is compare to Wiggo and I also have the Wiggo books My Time but it is pretty laid back read compare to Froomy)
2. The Secret Race - Tyler Hamilton (very gripping stories)

+1 on The Secret Race
I know the content of the book has been done to death by now, but a pretty gripping read at the time.

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by eric

"Wheelmen " by Albergotti, Reed.

Yet more about Lance. (it was at the library...)
This time from Wall St Journal business reporters, so there's a good amount about the business of cycling in general and of being Lance, both on the way up and on the way down. Well written. If you didn't think Lance was a jerk already you will after reading this. It's not on my favorites list but I didn't want the couple hours it took to read it back.

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by micky

I bought recently "Bike mechanic" for a close friend's birthday and can't wait to get my hands on it. :mrgreen:


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by 7ducati

Phil Gaimon's book "Pro Cycling on $10 a Day," is really good. Kind of a more lighthearted look at what it takes to rise through the amateur ranks to make a pro squad.
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