Take a break from all that pedaling
Riding Reads: 10 Great Cycling Books
- THE RIDER, TIM KRABBÉ
As sacred to cyclists as grease and air, this 160-page chronicle of a single bike race is existentialism on wheels. Krabbe’s book is probably the best attempt out there at describing the mental and physical endeavors of a serious cyclist.
Buy Now: $10
- WE WERE YOUNG AND CAREFREE, LAURENT FIGNON
Those who know Laurent Fignon likely know him as “that guy who lost to Greg Lemond”, but the late pro’s 8-second loss in the 1989 Tour de France is only one small part of an impressive career. This autobiography by one of cycling’s legends gives readers an inside look at a time in cycling when victories were big and personalities were bigger.
Buy Now: $11
- ZINN & THE ART OF ROAD BIKE MAINTENANCE
The book that every bike shop mechanic wants you to read. Zinn’s well organized and excellently illustrated guide to road bicycle repair and maintenance (he’s published a mountain bike edition too) will keep you from having to ask “what does that do?” every 20 seconds.
Buy Now: $19
- THE FEED ZONE COOKBOOK, BIJU THOMAS AND ALLEN LIM
With 150 recipes for replenishing before, during and after workouts, Thomas and Lim’s book will replace processed bars and gels with nutritious meals and snacks made with healthy (and readily available) ingredients.
Buy Now: $19
- LE MÉTIER, MICHAEL BARRY
The third edition of the collaboration between publisher Rouleur and recently retired pro cyclist Michael Barry sheds light on the oft-unglamorous life of a pro cycling domestique – a rider who plays a supporting role to a team leader.
Buy Now: $35
- MERCKX 525, BACKLANDT, REUMAN, VANFLETEREN and MAES
As you might have guessed from that tongue-twisting list of authors, Eddy Merckx was a Belgian pro cyclist and is indisputably the best to ever do it. This coffee table book documents some of his 525 wins with excellent photography.
Buy Now: $41
- THE CYCLIST'S TRAINING BIBLE, JOE FRIEL
If you’re looking to dive deeper into competitive cycling, Friel’s guide is a first step worth taking. Using this guide, you’ll be able to create training plans and nutrition guides that will help you cross the line first.
Buy Now: $17
- BOY RACER, MARK CAVENDISH
Few doubt that Mark Cavendish is the fastest sprinter in cycling right now. The brash Manxman’s memoir tracks his rise through amateur and pro cycling to the top step of podiums across the world.
Buy Now: $14
- RACING THROUGH THE DARK, DAVID MILLAR
And so we arrive at the unfortunate subject-du-jour of cycling. Doping has been at the core of nearly all coverage of cycling over the past 5 years and has caused major controversy within the sport for 25. The majority of books on the subject are either 300-page denials by those accused (most of whom eventually admit to it) or accusations meant to sell books. Millar’s autobiography is refreshing: he quickly admitted to blood doping, served his ban, and successfully returned to the pro ranks as an anti-doping evangelist.
Buy Now: $10
- IT'S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE, LANCE ARMSTRONG, ET AL.
Cycling’s history of late has produced some books that for a variety of reasons (usually a combination of blood tests and circumstantial evidence) have turned from stirring memoirs and biographies to works that are elaborate cover-ups for past transgressions. They’re interesting reads as a kind of meta-examination of the corrupting power of a competitive spirit. And bookstores are practically giving them away...
It's Not About the Bike $2 | We Might As Well Win $5 | Positively False $3
Cycling and writing have a funny relationship. Look up any pro or experienced cyclist these days and they’ll likely have a blog to vent about anything and everything. Look a little further back in time and you’ll find millions of battered Moleskine notebooks filled with training logs and racing notes. Maybe it’s the hours spent training alone with only our thoughts or the personal anguish that comes after a race not won but cyclists, for as long as we’ve existed, have put pen to paper in an attempt to share these complex and intriguing emotions. The result is a genre of “cycling literature” that contains the standard instructional manuals and training guides but also houses some genuinely compelling prose on a beautiful sport. We’ve created a list of 10 (or so) books that will fascinate pedal-pushers and ground-pounders alike.