Books, Maps & DVDs
Rich in stories and pictures from the first year of Merckx's domination of the sport, Merckx 69 is a fascinating look back at The Cannibal's life, told through a series of pictures and letters written to him by long-time friend Jan Maes.
Cyclists - A Spotter's Guide by Robbie Guillory and Judith Hastie is an amusing attempt to categorise all two-wheeled road users and distil them into 'read on the loo' style chunks of good-humour.
If you can't spot yourself amongst the Metal Stallions, Sheriffs and Office Magnets then give the book to your partner and watch them snigger and point out all your bad traits.
The Cycling Anthology series goes from strength to strength, its carefully-curated tales from The Road taking you deep inside this complex and most human of sports.
A Bicycle Ride in Yorkshire - An Illustrated Guide to the Route of Le Tour Yorkshire by Heather Dawe
The claim of this book to be "an illustrated guide to the route of le Tour Yorkshire" could be misleading: you might not get what you expect, but what you do get is certainly different and is done well. It may be inspired by le Tour, but it is really a celebration of 'the natural world that surrounds us and the historic world that we have created over the centuries'.
"Be swept around the heartland and coastlines of Britain in 55 flowing road rides" says the blurb for Clive Forth's Great British road rides guide. While 55 rides are never going to give complete coverage of the country, the rides on offer here certainly live up to the claim.
Betty Bikes London is a sweet tale of a girl, her Grandpa and their bikes. Published just in time for Christmas, this book would make a lovely gift or stocking filler for children aged around 5-10.
The story sees Betty and Grandpa travelling to London for a 'Ride London' style big day out on the closed city streets. The author adds in lots of cycling details (she is wearing stiff shoes, moves up through the gears) for children to spot and relate to their own experiences.
Felix Lowe "takes to the saddle and sets out to conquer the road from Barcelona to Rome ... tracing the footsteps of the celebrated Carthaginian general Hannibal". That is the basic idea, but this is not just another cycle-based travelogue. So many of the ingredients required for a successful tale of adventure are here, and the book delivers on that promise.
"Get off the road!". That angry order some motorists shout at cyclists ought to become the longer, but historically more accurate: "Hey cyclists, thanks for the roads and the cars!" Carlton Reid's Roads Were Not Built For Cars sets out to demonstrate how cyclists led the charge for better roads, and it does so in a very readable and thorough manner.
Chris Froome is one of the more enigmatic Tour de France winners of recent years, a rider who British fans have found hard to warm to, despite him being a British talent on a British team. With the assistance of Sunday Times sportswriter David Walsh, he manages to make himself less puzzling in his autobiography, The Climb.
Get On Your Bike, written by Rebecca Charlton, Robert Hicks, Hannah Reynolds and published by Bloomsbury, is the sort of book you'd give to someone to encourage them into cycling. Unfortunately, it misses the mark, concentrating too much on the health benefits (which is what any non-cyclist is most likely to already be aware of) and too little on the most common questions new cyclists want answered.