Holiday reads: women’s cycling books to enjoy by the fire or on the beach
I love a good book but I can never find time to read, and the pile of books on my nightstand continues to grow. I’m halfway through at least half a dozen books and if it weren’t for audiobooks, I doubt I would have finished any books at all.
So one of things I look forward to over the holidays every year is being able to read. I love curling up next to the fire with a book and a cup of coffee.
Whether you’re escaping the wintery cold or headed to beach, here are some (women’s) cycling books to add to your holiday reading list.
Pro tip: books make great gifts, too!
Ride the Revolution edited by Suze Clemitson
Published only a few months ago, Ride the Revolution is a collection of the best new writing on cycling from women involved in the sport at all levels – as fans, key personnel, riders, photographers, journalists and presenters.
Featuring Marianne Vos, Connie Carpenter, Tracey Gaudry and many more, this collection of stories celebrates the glorious, sometimes murky, often bizarre and frequently hilarious world of cycling in all its soapy operatic glory – from the professional sport to the club run, on the roadside and in the saddle, behind the scenes and on the massage table.
These fresh and vibrant voices examine the sport from a new perspective to provide insights that rarely make it into the mainstream – what is it like to be a top women rider or work in their support team? Where is the women’s sport heading and when will more women be represented at the highest level of sport’s governance? And how do you get out and ride your bike when the news is full of stories of cyclists dying and you can’t get clothing that fits?
Op de Troon by Marianne Vos and Rick Booltink
Op de Troon is an incredibly insightful look behind the scenes of Marianne Vos’ golden year – 2012.
The book’s author, Rick Booltink, followed the multi-world champion and her family throughout 2012, which saw a record amount of victories including a World title and gold Olympic medal.
Every race Vos competed in seemed to result in gold but not all was rose-colored in Vos’ world. In this book, Vos opened up about her struggles with weight, overcoming shyness and doubt.
It’s a great book BUT unfortunately, it has yet to be translated in English and is only available in Dutch…
The Breakaway by Nicole Cooke
A multiple times national, Commonwealth, Olympic and World champion, Nicole Cooke is often celebrated as one of cycling’s greatest female athletes. A true trail blazer for women in cycling, Cooke was the first cyclist to win the Olympic and World Championships road race in the same year but her biggest fights were perhaps off the bike.
In this autobiography, Cooke revisits her journey, her successes and failures, her quest for equality and the many hurdles she had to overcome in the beautiful yet male-dominated sport of cycling. It’s no fairytale but it is an honest, inspiring read.
Between the Lines by Victoria Pendleton and Donald McRae
Britain’s queen of track cycling, Victoria Pendleton, penned this autobiography with the help of author Donald McRae in the lead-up to the London Olympics. In it, Pendleton talks in honest detail about what drove her to compete in a sport she no longer loves.
Now retired, Pendleton won the hearts of Britain when, in 2005, she became first British female to win a gold medal at the cycling World Championships in 40 years. She then continued on to win gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, another World Championship and the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
She seemed unstoppable but behind the scenes, the cracks and strains started to show. Between the Lines documents Pendelton’s childhood and rise to her well-known successes as well as dark lows as she started to fall out of love with cycling before rediscovering her Championship winning form in 2011.
Rusch to Glory by Rebecca Rusch and Selene Yeager
Firefighter, multi-discipline world champion and all-around badass, Rebecca “the Queen of Pain” Rusch is one of the great endurance athletes of our time.
In Rusch to Glory: Adventure, Risk & Triumph on the Path Less Traveled, Rusch reveals how a normal kid from Chicago abandoned a predictable life for one of adventure.
Rusch has run the gauntlet of endurance sports over her career as a professional athlete– climbing, adventure racing, whitewater rafting, cross-country skiing, gravel grinding and mountain biking–racking up world championships along the way.
But while she might seem like just another superhuman playing out a fistful of aces, her empowering story proves that anyone can rise above self-doubt and find their true potential.
Women on Wheels by April Streeter
If you’re more into lifestyle biking than sport and looking for guidance instead of tales? Here’s one for you.
From historic anecdotes to everyday practical tips, this book is a guide for all women cycling in an urban setting.
Need a nudge to get started? How about some advice on making biking work with kids, groceries, pets, weather or anything else life throws at you? This handy pocket book covers everything from tips to etiquette to the history of women on bikes.
The Race to the Truth by Emma O’Reilly
If you’ve followed the whole Lance Armstrong drama or watched the recently-released film, The Program, you’ll be familiar with Emma O’Reilly, the soigneur who spoke out about Lance’s doping.
The Race to the Truth is her account of the terrible price she had to pay for blowing the whistle.
The Training Foodie by The Food Chain
Not exactly a read-by-the-fire kind of book, but a great one to have in your collection. This electronic cookbook features 39 pages of deliciousness.
Author Brittany Lindores is an Australian competitive cyclist who, following a bike crash in 2010, was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and a gluten and dairy intolerance.
The diagnoses changed not only her diet, but her lifestyle in general. Food preparation became a big part of her daily routine and sparked an interest in the science behind food and how it affects our bodies. Already a registered nurse, Lindores returned to university to study nutrition, and started the healthy eating website, The Food Chain, with a goal to share healthy, easy and delicious recipes for those limiting their gluten, dairy and refined sugars.
The Training Foodie is her first book and with its easy-to-follow instructions, nutritional information for each recipe as well as pre-, during- and after-training meals and snacks, this is a must-have cookbook for all athletes. It’s highly comprehensive and conveniently in e-book format (which makes it searchable ctrl+f!).