Sunday, January 2, 2011

Read Anything Good Lately?

I really like biking. I also enjoy reading. Lately I've been doing more reading than I have been biking, but at least the books I have been reading are about biking, so that's all good.

This post was inspired in part by an article on the 50 Best Cycling Books that appeared in the Dec. issue of Cycle Sport Magazine (a great mag I've subscribed to out of the UK). After reading the article, I put the number 2 book, "A Rough Ride," by Paul Kimmage, on my Christmas wish list and was pleased to have received it. This came shortly after I got "Around the World on a Bicycle", which is the story of Fred Birchmore, a 24 year old out of Athens Georgia who circled the globe with a bicycle he named Bucephelus. His trip totalled over 20,000 miles, and the crazy thing about his story is that he completed his adventure in the mid 1930's. His tale is unbelievable and the testament of a truly tough guy. (I'm pretty sure Brad was the one that stumbled on this guy's story in some obscure online cycling article - anyway, I now own the book and it's worth reading)

Here's a picture of Fred's 40lb ride, which now resides in the Smithsonian.

I guess I'm wondering how many of the books from the top 50 cycling books article would you recommend? I own "French Revolutions", number 9 on the list, and it's a laugh out loud good read. Regardless of the fact I don't really like Lance, I did enjoy reading "It's Not About the Bike". I think it helped that he had only won about 2-3 Tours at the time of reading and it was still ok to admire him at the time.


  1. Sounds like a good read. I've enjoyed watching the BBC series "The Man Who Cycled The World" and "The Man Who Cycled The Americas", and this would give an interesting contrast. Another time with different politics, infrastructure, and dangers.

    I call dibs when the book's available.

  2. It does sound like a good read. I would also like to see what others have to say about the pro peleton, other than Lance (as much as I enjoyed his books). It would be good to read something by someone like Hincapie, or someone else either high up, or even in the domestique ranks to get a different perspective.

    One I probably wouldn't wanna read is anything by Floyd, hate to say it. Who could believe it anyway? Before all the revelations about him, he'd have been first on my list...

    As a side note, I find it encouraging how openly Duece admits to the fact that it was merely the ongoing success of Lance that made it no longer "ok" to admire him beyond the early years - good steps made in self-awareness, I'd say...

  3. Patti Smith's memoir is pretty awesome.

  4. It's not a cycling book. But there are almost as many homoerotic references as there are on a bike ride with the Impaler, so it kind of fits.

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  6. I liked "Inside the Postal Bus" by Michael Barry, and have been eyeing his new one, "Le Metier". Also loved "The Rider" by Tim Krabbe. It's a classic. If you liked "It's not about the Bike" you'll like "Lance Armstrong's War", which is less about Lance than the title suggests. Great descriptions of life inside the pro scene. Oh, and don't forget Bike Snob NYC's book. As funny and caustic as one would expect.

  7. I lent a book to a Librarian friend once... never got it back!

  8. I read "Le Tour" by Geoffrey Wheatcroft last year (the library has it). It's big (400 pages or something) but it's an easy read. If you are a fan of the tour de france, it's pretty awesome - it is an (at times, year by year) account of the history of the race, including all the myths (most of which are true) such as the fellow being penalized for outside support for having a farm hand work the bellows while he brazed his bike back to together; or the spreading of tacks and glass on the road to slow opponents.

    Great article though - I hadn't heard of many (most?) of those books. My summer reading list just got a little more full.

  9. I've read a portion of "A Dog in a Hat" - #30 - and it seemed kind of interesting. I think Mike G owns it.

    "Bad Blood' looks interesting by Whittle. #19.