In the London Cyclist Friday newsletter we’ve recently been mentioning some of our favourite reads, including Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling by Carlton Reid and Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World.
I thought we should continue the theme and have asked Hollie to roundup some of her favourite books for cyclists…
Sometimes, even the most avid cyclist needs to put the brakes on and take a relaxing holiday. We all have different ideas of what relaxation means, but I am yet to meet a fellow human being who doesn’t dream of lolling on a beach with an enjoyable book and melting ice cream in hand.
Whether you like to escape in a novel, delve into autobiographies or mentally ride routes of the world, there are so many awesome cycling books that will keep you inspired for your return to the saddle after a well-deserved rest. Think of it as a cycling holiday but without the blisters and sweat.
Let’s look at some of the best books to keep up your cycling spirit while on holiday.
(We’ve included a link to Amazon for each book)
1. The chic-lit lovers’ choice
Give in and succumb to a bit of chic-lit that has a cycling central storyline. Cat McCabe is assigned a job reporting on the Tour de France, which she welcomes as a distraction from her messy love life. What ensues is a tour of drama, romance and lots of Lycra. It’s fun escapism that is best accompanied with a pina colada and dollops of sun cream to hide that blushing face at certain chapters.
2. A must for Pendleton fans
Who doesn’t want to get to know gold medal Olympian, Victoria Pendleton? The woman is a cycling hero. Read all about her climb to victory in this honest and easy autobiography. It also tackles demons and bad relationships from her personal life, along with the struggle of finding support as a woman in a male dominated industry.
3. One for music lovers
Music fans will know Byrne from new-wave 80s band Talking Heads and as the author of How Music Works. Explore his world of cycling from a wonderfully unique perspective, as he cycles cities around the globe to explore the people and places around him. It takes you on a global ride from Whitechapel to Istanbul, Sydney and Baltimore, to name just a few.
4. The Classic
Perfect for if you enjoy a classic, The Wheels of Chance was written by political commentator HG Wells, at the inception of cycling’s popularity in the late 19th century. The novel follows Mr Hoopdriver, who leaves his job as a draper in search of adventure across England on his bike. It’s a jolly good period read with a slice of humour and sense of liberation – something all cyclists know and enjoy.
5. Wanderlust inspiration
Irish born Murphy has authored cycling-adventure travel books for over 40 years. Full Tilt is probably her most famous title, inviting you on an epic adventure across Europe, Afghanistan, Iran, the Himalayas and India – phew! Originally released in 1965, Murphy is particularly awesome for being a woman cycling around the world alone in the face of global adversity at that time. It’s ultimate #GirlPower
6. Our national treasure
Of course the list has to include national treasure, Sir Bradley Wiggins. His memoir talks of life from growing up in Kilburn to going on to be the first British champion at Tour de France, then taking gold at the London 2012 Olympics. Wiggins tells his story of those most famous races, with some anecdotes of his relationship with cyclists like Mark Cavendish along the way.
7. Worth the wait…
OK, this is yet to be released, but it’s super exciting news that Lady Velo of the Velo City Girl blog is writing her first book. The ‘part guide, part memoir’ will focus on Walker’s return to the saddle after a ten-year hiatus, in the face of her struggle with depression and a mini stroke. It’s great to know that more cycling books from female writers are coming to our shelves, so keep an eye out for this one for next year’s holiday.
You might struggle to buy books at the airport, so make sure you fill up the online shopping basket and get them delivered in time to pack in your suitcase. They might even inspire you to write your own cycling memoirs, which would turn a relaxing holiday into a rather productive one after all.
Have you read any of these books? Or do you have any to recommend for the list? Let us know in the comments box below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.