Books, Maps & DVDs
If you like the idea of turbo training but you can't stand the monotony then there's plenty of ways to keep yourself occupied, from your iPod to a full VR trainer. But at just €5.99 this 60-minute workout from The Sufferfest is a real bargain, and it's a session you can repeat without it becoming stale.
I'll admit, when they said to me 'Hey up TR, we want you to review a play about Armstrong, Ullrich and Pantani at the Tour de France, it's in a disused warehouse in the West End and they're going to re-enact the Tour, but without any bikes…but with audience participation" "Uh-oh" was my first reaction.
Shows what I know, it was brilliant, an exhilarating, informative fact-packed Tour de Force. Anyone who's interested in the Tour won't fail to get something out of it…
Published by Sustrans, Do Humans dream of electric cars is a thought provoking critique of the car dependent lifestyle and how simple and relatively inexpensive changes can reduce our impact upon the environment, thus avoiding climatic disaster and a fossil-fuel-starved future while improving our health and well-being into the bargain. All music to the ears of the converted, but may find less favour among those who see any lifestyle alterations as a threat to their civil liberties.
Books and other guides sell themselves from the cover inward so I was surprised that Excellent Books had given an otherwise contemporary guide with such an uninspiring and antiquated cover design. People do judge books by their covers.
Rather than just concentrate on the palmares of Italy's greatest cycling hero, greatest sporting hero even, William Fotheringham's new book, Fallen Angel tackles Fausto Coppi's whole life, a life seemingly dogged by tragedy and conflict, from being born into a poor farming family to his premature death from malaria 40 years later to give a broad understanding of the man, the legend, and the myth.
Stephen Auerbach's documentary follows participants in the 2005 Race Across America (RAAM), and although the race is also open to 2, 4 and 8-Person teams, he concentrates on the efforts of a handful of cyclists from the solo field whose efforts are on such an epic scale that they make our sportive heroics look like a pootle to the shops.
City cycling is in many respects Richard’s Bicycle book updated and repackaged for a new audience and none the worse for it. Ballantine tackles cycling from the vantage point of city riding and breaks the book into five different sections. Each flows effortlessly into each other, and doesn’t feel tired or reptitive despite having a very familiar format thanks to his conversational, authoritative and engaging delivery.
Cycling to work is one of those books striking the right balance, managing to be accessible, well written and informative without being evangelical, and it's cheap enough to captivate the curious. It’s aimed at those tempted by the idea of commuting to work-either by health, costs of living or simply convenience. The cover shot is spot on, depicting riders in everything from city brogues through to stiletto heels, dismissing the myth that utility cycling requires specialist clothing.
If you're off to the Étape in 2009 then you'd do well to go prepared, because the Ventoux is a hard climb – the hardest in France, if Lance is to be believed. This DVD from Cyclefilms, their third Étape recce, will certainly help: it's well put together and gives a really good flavour of the ride and the area.
Okay, before we start talking about the 2008 Rouleur Photography Annual I've got a confession to make. Unlike the rest of the cycling world I didn't rate the 2007 Rouleur Photography Annual. It wasn't that it was bad just that it was too reverential, it felt like an exercise in cycling designer miserablism. In Rouleur-land it seemed the sun never shone, no-one ever smiled and cycle-racing happened mostly in the rain. That's not to say the pics were poor, just that Taz Darling's aside they didn't really leap off the page and grab you… well, me.