Cycling Books to while away the time when you can’t ride.
After a while what started out as a harmless hobby, becomes am all encompassing passion. Soon your every hour is dedicated to riding, or getting ready to ride. You obsess about kit, training and socks. But what about those few times when you can’t ride? Most of us have to work and we can’t all ride to work, how will you fill the hours of the soul destroying commute? Or perhaps a family holiday beckons and bikes will not be tolerated? Never fear you can satisfy your cycling itch by reading about cycling! Yes try some cycling books!
On my holiday reading list this summer were two books. First up was The Descent, by Thomas Dekker. This is a brutal, warts and all description of a young athlete’s descent into doping. But it’s not all blood bags and needles. No, there’s plenty of other temptations for a young man with too much money and a desire to prove he was a real man.
I must admit I have steered clear of a lot of these books on doping, but Dekker’s story is incredible. It’s amazing how hedonistic a life he led, while competing in one of the toughest sports there are. While I read tales of teams organised doping without batting an eye lid, trips to brothels and all night drinking binges did surprise me. I always feel guilty when I miss a ride due to sharing a cheeky bottle of red with the missus the night before. That would just have been a warm up for our Thomas!
Next on the list was something a little more cheery, although it isn’t without it’s own tales of cheating and dopage. Chasing the Rainbow by Giles Belbin is the story of cycling’s world championship race. Giles is a cycling journalist and has also written Mountain Kings, a book about the iconic climbs and riders of the Tour de France.
In Chasing the Rainbow Giles tells tells the stories of both the men’s and women’s world championships. He interviewed a whole host of cycling legends including; Oscar Frieire, Marianne Vos, Marcel Kint, Nicole Cooke, Barry Hoban, Mandy Jones, Stephen Roche. The list goes on, but you get the idea!
I’m still reading Chasing the Rainbow – I won’t spoil the ending for you – but I’m actually looking forward to next week’s commute. With the rain coming down outside a quote from Nicole Cooke seems quite apt; “When you’re going up some hill and it’s raining and it’s cold and you’ve still got hours of training to do and you think why am I doing this? It’s because one day I’m going to ride in the rainbow jersey.”
Ok, I’m not ever going to wear a rainbow jersey, unless I buy one! And I won’t be visiting any brothels soon! But these books both left me wanting to get out there and ride, which is what you want from a cycling book!
The Descent is published by Ebury Press. Chasing the Rainbow is published by The Quarto Group. Both books are available from all good online shops, and probably some disreputable ones as well.
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