• I was surprised to see that ‘One Way Road: The Autobiography of Three Time Tour de France Green Jersey Winner Robbie McEwen’ was not on your list. A recommended read.

    • lowercasev

      It is on my, to-read list… Just got to get to it!

  • jules

    I’ve read Close to Flying (Cadel) and it was a bit dry – Cadel doesn’t seem to like giving too much away.

    I’d like to read the Cav one.

    About the best I’ve read is Ty Hamilton’s book. now he has a story to tell, and tell it he does. one thing about the Postal years, they weren’t boring..

    Stuey O’G’s book is pretty good but you need to suspend your disbelief for the usual denials. would be interesting to read a revised version once all the beans are spilled, I bet he has some even better stories – but it’s a good read anyway from a guy who’s done just about it all..

    • Michele

      Jules … Spot on about Cadel’s book. There’s a reason why it’s ‘dry’. I wish I could tell you as well: there’s a reason why the book ended up being what it is. Without being melodramatic about it all, the ghost writer made me swear never to tell another person [dead-set serious].

      Suffice to say the initial draft was a lot more colourful. It also provides an explanation as to why the updated version of Close to Flying – which came out post TdF win, had another ghost writer pen the additional chapters.

      • jules

        now I wanna know.

      • ed

        how often does rob arnold plug ‘close to flying’? it was enough for me not to read it & to stop reading ride magazine. i think there was one edition a few years back & he mentioned the book about 6 times throughout different articles in the magazine.

        Fallen Angel is a good read about fausto coppi

        • Abdu

          You still buy Ride Magazine? It’s like those women’s mags with 90% ads, and the rest old news and self-indulgent waffle by guys taking themselves way too seriously.

      • Callum Dwyer

        Cadel’s book so bad. It not often that I can’t finish a book. But having said that (in fairness to the author), I do get the impression that is was slap together to cash in what the publisher might view a Cadel’s 15 minutes.

    • Gavin Adkins

      Yeah, I’m sure the book is juicy, but I have a real problem with Hamilton. Tested positive several times, denied it all for years, ran bs appeals, and now seeks to profit from it with a lurid tell all. I have more respect for Vino than Hamilton. He will not be getting my money.

      • jules

        don’t take this the wrong way but – how do you justify following pro cycling at all? it’s a cesspool of doping and lies. once you make peace with that it’s more fun :)

        • Gavin Adkins

          Oh I know it doesn’t make a great deal of sense!

          Cycling is at heart a dark and quirky little European sport (less so nowadays, but still), and that’s undeniably part of the attraction for me. It’s the seeking of redemption through loud public confession after having been one of the worst that bugs me the most. When his book came out, it was like he was some new age late night/early morning TV preacher with a sordid past and because now he’s sorry and has confessed (most of) his past sins implores everyone else to do better in their lives. In short, just awful.

          • jules

            i’ve argued this before, but we place to much emphasis on the ethical value of doping. in the scheme of things, it’s pretty trivial. sordid tales are usually the most interesting. I know I’m feeding the habit, but I’m not pretending to be reading his book for any higher purpose – only cos it’s interesting.

      • Abdu

        I agree, but Hamilton’s book is often just a first person guide to his racing and doping. It only gets thoughtful at the end, and by then you start to understand him a little (you don’t have to agree, just understand how it came about). Car crash television if you like.

    • Abdu

      I’m volunteering to write Stuey’s next book.
      Chapter one he burns the first book and acknowledges he handled his “admission of guilt” all wrong.
      Chapter two he tells the truth, nothing too extensive but is just honest and doesn’t treat the fans like fools, which he did the first time (“I only used EPO once but threw it away..”).
      Last chapter, we’ve all moved on, no one’s judging him and he’s on SBS imparting his racing wisdom and good humour.
      You can have this for free.
      Australian Caravan team I am available to assist if you ever want to do the same with your DS’….

    • Abdu

      I’m volunteering to write Stuey’s next book.
      Chapter one he burns the first book and acknowledges he handled his “admission of guilt” all wrong.
      Chapter two he tells the truth, nothing too extensive but is just honest and doesn’t treat the fans like fools, which he did the first time (“I only used EPO once but threw it away..”).
      Last chapter, we’ve all moved on, no one’s judging him and he’s on SBS imparting his racing wisdom and good humour.
      You can have this for free.
      Australian Caravan team I am available to assist if you ever want to do the same with your DS’….

  • JBS

    We Were Young and Carefree, Laurent FIgnon’s autobiography is a brilliant read.

  • haitch

    The Rider is a great cycling book and a great book, period.

  • Not on the list… but highly recommended
    Domestique – Wegelius and Southam
    L’Etape – Richard Moore
    Bernard Hinault The rise and Fall of French Cycling – William Fotheringham
    Merckx half man half bike – William Fotheringham

    In fact anything by Fotheringham or Moore (most of the time)

    • Hamish Moffatt

      Yes. The Merckx book is great.

  • Alex L

    Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride is an excellent, if slightly depressing, look into the pro peloton during the late 80s.

  • JessMc

    Maglia Rosa and Race against the Stasi – both by Herbie Sykes
    Road to Valour – the recent book about Gino Bartali and his wartime experience

  • scottmanning

    +1 for The Secret Race, Faster, & Battle Scars. The others I have not read but will hunt them down now you have porposed them. At Speed will probably be first.

    I would recommend “Domestique” by Charly Wegelius and for a short, lighthearted read “Mid-life Cyclists” is good. Steve Hogg’s “Tails from a real bike shop” is a collection of short, true stories ranging from hillarious to scary. It’s an ebook available from his website. It’s great for a short hit at bed time.

  • Hamish Moffatt

    David Millar’s too.

    • Abdu

      Yep, just like the bloke himself, this book careered down some roads and he never spared himself.
      One of the better cycling autobiographies. He was not afraid to make it clear he was a muppet at times, had a great time at others, and made a point of pumping up those who helped him.
      Recommend David Millar’s book.

  • Annie.

    The Feedzone Cookbook along with Feedzone Portables.

  • Michele

    Really enjoyed this post.

    Okay, some of my favourites [most are covered here anyway], and in no particular order, though Domestique is my no. 1:

    1. Slaying the Badger and In Search of Robert Millar by Richard Moore
    2. The Death of Pantani [Rendell’s version]
    3. From Lance to Landis. Aside from Hamilton’s and Juliet Macur’s books, the most accurate account of doping in the US.
    4. We were Young and Carefree
    5. Anything by Herbie Sykes. His Coppi book [which is really about Coppi’s gregario is brilliant], as is Maglia Rosa
    6. Push Yourself Just a Little Bit More by Johnny Green. It’s crude, rude and sometimes embarrassingly written. But pretty funny.
    7. French Revolutions by Tim Moore. Haven’t read his Italian book yet.
    8. The Rider
    9. Reckless [on Luis Ocana] and Fallen Angel [Coppi] by Fotheringham
    10. Mapping Le Tour by Ellis Bacon. Different. He uses the road maps that were available at the time, to map each and every Tour de France
    11. Dave Millar’s book
    12. Domestique
    13. Joe Parkin’s A Dog in a Hat
    14. Breaking the Chain and Rough Ride should be read one after the other.
    15. David Byrne [of Talking Head’s fame] book Bicycle Diaries [looks at bikes at cities] is fascinating.

    A final plug for the Cycling Anthology series. Like 80% of the pieces written in them – become a little too much SKY-centric in recent times, but still enjoyable.

    I could go on ….

    There are many, many bad novels out there. The worse? The English translation of Gilbert’s book. A shocker.

    Not trying to sound boastful; just trying to admit I’ve got a serious problem when it comes to books. My wife thinks I need therapy. I’ve got approx. 80 cycling books. 30 of them I haven’t read yet [don’t worry, I don’t watch TV!].

    Titles such as Monuments, Eagle of Toledo, Riis, Sex, Lies & Handlebar tape, Put me Back on my bike, Land of Second chances, and Road to Valor are just some of the books I’ve had for 12 months plus, that I haven’t even looked at yet.

    Yes, I have a problem :)

    • Gordon

      Holy crap, I’m doomed then. I have an interest in old bikes (as well as new) so 80 is a small number not boasting, just on the first step of redemption, acknowledging the problem.
      Now if I could get my bike count under 50 then there would be real progress.

    • Jon Thornton

      Sex, Lies and Handlebar tape was good. I was amazed to learn that Anquetil was able to perform so well despite his diet and drinking habits. His personal life was just weird – had a child with his stepdaughter, maintained a sexual relationship with both his wife and stepdaughter under the same roof for 12 years. Bump it up your reading list.

    • Abdu

      Breaking the Chain by Willy Voets is depressing. I’m sludging through it, but when it starts with the bloke being thrown in prison for carrying a car full of drugs for Richard Virenque, Neil Stephens, etc. you know it’ll be a tough read..

    • Abdu

      Road to Valour, about the great Italian Gino Bartali.
      Covered his WW2 exploits (ferrying army messages on his bike, protecting a Jewish family from the Nazis), how the politics of the time harmed his chances, his glory days, his tough upbringing, etc.

    • lowercasev

      Thanks for all the recommendations Michelle, there are a few there that will go on my reading list!

  • Martinhojgaard

    The Flying Scotsman, Graeme Obrees autobiography. Like everything else in Obree’s life it’s home made, as in in no co-/ghostwriter. Although Obree is self taught the book is an enjoyable read and the story itself is absolutely unbelieveable but true.
    Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage is also highly recommendable.

  • Jon Thornton

    All of Richard Moore’s books, The Death of Marco Pantani by Matt Rendell, Pedalare! Pedalare! A History of Italian Cycling by John Foot, Fallen Angel – The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham, A Dog in a Hat by Joe Parkin, Cutting-Edge Cycling by Allen and Cheung, Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Allen and Coggan and Fast After 50 by Joe Friel. I’m currently reading The Eagle of Toledo by Alasdair Fotheringham.

  • David Fanning

    A few of my recent favorites:
    1.) The Monuments by Peter Cossins – Great stories on LBL, Paris-Roubaix, Flanders, et al
    2.) Lantern Rouge by Max Leonard – Interesting look at last place in the TDF
    3.) Reckless by Alasdair Fotheringham – life story of Luis Ocana and his rivalry with Eddy Merckx

    and if anyone is interested in ultra cycling books, there is a great account of the Race Across America – Hell on Two Wheels by Amy Snyder

    • Jon Thornton

      Thanks for the Race Across America book tip. I really enjoyed following Jesse in the recent Trans Am race. I’m sure I will find a book about a similar race equally enjoyable.

      • Dfan44

        There is also a new documentary out on the Trans Am race called “Inspired To Ride” – should eventually make it’s way to Netflix.

  • Sam Edwards

    Christophe Bassons book is good. And really liked Allan Peipers

  • Robert Merkel

    Some great books on the list.

    I’d throw in a couple of great if occasionally dark reads, by interesting if not always entirely loveable individuals:

    Paul Kimmage’s “Rough Ride”; the doping stories are what the book became (in)famous for, but it’s also an interesting story about the life of a struggling domestique back in the day.

    Victoria Pendleton’s “Between the Lines”: I haven’t got around to reading Anna Meares’ book yet, but this casts an interesting and not exactly heart-warming perspective on what it was like being in the British track program bubble. Again, despite this being her version of events, she comes across as a complex and not entirely sympathetic character. It’s still far more interesting for that.

    Nicole Cooke’s “The Breakaway”: again, an eye-opening perspective on what it’s really like being an elite athlete with a mind of your own, in a struggling sport beset by amateurism.

    • Jessi Braverman

      I’ll second the Nicole Cooke and Victoria Pendleton recommendations. Both great reads!

      • lowercasev

        I’ve heard about “The Breakaway” sounds like its next on my eBook download list!

  • Gavin Adkins

    Domestique is the best cycling related book I have read. Highly recommended.

  • Jon Thornton

    Anyone mentioned Tomorrow, We Ride by Jean Bobet (Louison Bobet’s brother)? That was a goodie. Might strike a chord if you have a cycling brother.

    Wheeling Matilda: The Story of Australian Cycling by Jim Fitzpatrick was pretty interesting. Shearers and gold miners used to ride massive distances on heavy bikes because that’s just what you did back then. I felt a bit soft after reading this book.

  • Abdu

    My summary of Robbie’s “One way road” Autobiography: if he won, it’s because he alone is a champ; if he lost it was due to the bike, the DS tactics, or someone else cheating. Cheeky chappy sure, but there were times he was so far up himself he’d need a torch to get back to reality.
    He rode through the worst doping era, and alongside Lance Armstrong. Remember Lance personally got him onto his RadioShack team. Not a mention.

    • Winky

      Ha ha – “up himself” – that’s some strine I’ve not heard in a while.

  • Winky

    Lots of good recommendations on here. “In Search of Robert Millar” was one I really enjoyed.


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October 22, 2016
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