If you are even remotely interested in bicycle riding, you are probably aware that May is National Bike Month. (In Seattle, that means the Group Health Commute Challenge and f5 Bike to Work Day.) Gene over at Biking Bis wrote an inspired post this morning regarding books you might enjoy reading when you’re not riding. Gene’s list included:
- Cycling Home from Siberia by Rob Lilwall
- Bike Touring Survival Guide by Andrew and Friedel Grant
- The Man Who Cycled the Americas by Mark Beaumont
- It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels by Robert Penn
- White Woman on a Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
Click over to the post to read the write ups and reviews.
Here are a couple more that Gene did not mention that are also worthy of your time:
- Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson by William Fotheringham
For those trying to make sense of doping in professional cycling, Fotheringham does an in-depth exploration of doping in the early stages of the sport and tries to make sense of the tragedy of Tom Simpson’s death on the flank of Mont Ventoux. This is not another story about a bunch of finger-pointing wimps. Rather, it is a sincere look at the lengths to which men will go in the pursuit of victory.
- Flying Scotsman: Cycling to Triumph Through My Darkest Hours by Graeme Obree
You probably saw the movie, but (as usual) the book is way better. Graeme spins a tale of how he broke the world’s toughest cycling records as an upstart nobody of a cyclist while battling bipolar disorder and addiction. He is both honest and funny, making this a worthy book to read.
- Around the World on Two Wheels by Peter Zheutlin
The lives of women in the 1890s were constrained by social mores, family obligations, and restrictive clothing. Annie Kopchovsky, immigrant, wife, and mother of three, bucked the trend and cooked up a scheme to circle the globe on a bicycle—even though she had barely been on a bike.
- The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa by Neil Peart
A detailed account of Neil’s physical and spiritual journey through photographs, journal entries, and tales of adventure. Neil’s “masks” are the masks that we wear–culture, psychology, labels, expectations–and his book reveals how traveling in a very foreign land allows us to peer behind them.
- The Rider by Tim Krabbe
It’s perfectly reasonable, I think, to judge a book by the opening sentence or sentences: “Meyrueis, Lozere, June 26, 1977. Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.”
- Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling by BikeSnobNYC
“After reading Bike Snob I put a brake on my fixie, started wearing a helmet, then punched myself in the stomach for spending so much time as a stupid hipster. This is a social manual that should be bundled with every bike shipped in America.” – Christian Lander
Whew! And if you get through all of these you might just best my reading record.