Books, Maps & DVDs
The British writer Herbie Sykes has lived in Turin for a few years now. He's absorbed all things Italian and after his excellent 'The Eagle of Canavese', (about the little known double Giro winner Franco Balmamion), Sykes has been given the task by Rouleur of writing the first full English language history of the Giro d'Italia. It's an entertaining and intelligent narrative that explores the chronology of the Giro with it's winners and losers - but also the national psyche of Italy itself throughout the 20th century and on in to the 21st.
With it's 1930s style graphic cover, and beautiful golden-lit photos of rather fruity lovelies in flowery dresses on touring bikes, Lost Lanes initially seems like a particularly flashy guide to a few home county rides for glossy home county people - a sort of bike riding meets Boden.
Anyone can do it. This, World Cycling Stripped Bare, shows you how.
Praise be that Mr Cornwell has come up with this idea. Cycling 2013 is a guide to almost everything going on in UK cycling for the year.
I'd heard only good things about Laurent Fignon's autobiography - We were young and carefree - and it doesn't disappoint. Fignon's answer to the eternal question 'Are you the bloke who lost the Tour by 8 seconds?' was always 'No. I'm the guy who won it twice.'
In 2012 ex Rapha rider Tom Southam and the photographer Camille McMillan started The Inside Out project - a web blog following the first year of a few of what was then Rapha Condor Sharp's (now Rapha Condor JLT's ) new young signings.
Tom lays it out in his introduction: 'We'd both raced...We wanted to challenge the insipid stories that get regurgitated to the press by riders...and the constant replication of the same imagery that cycling fans have been looking at for three decades.'
To be honest this book has very little to do with the love or even understanding of cycling. Bikes feature - but they're pretty basic machines and remain capricious and mysterious in their mechanical functions to our travellers. Free Country is the tale of two friends called Matt and Ben who decide to try to travel the length of Britain by starting out in just their underpants at Lands End and relying on the generosity and kindness of the Great British Public (GBP) to clothe, feed and supply them with bikes to help them get to John 'O' Groats within three weeks.
Last year someone in our club bought a signed Mark Cavendish world champs jersey for over £2,000. The tiny little rainbow jersey is now framed on his wall. Even considering the number of jerseys star riders sign in their lifetime cycle jerseys are definitely gaining currency like never before with collectors.
Racing Is Life - The Beryl Burton Story follows the journey of one of the best female cyclists ever to take to two wheels.
For those that have heard the name but know very little about Beryl Burton, Beryl was a no nonsense Yorkshire tom boy who won the RTTC Best All Rounder 25 years in a row from 1959 until 1983.
She was 7 times world champion in the 3,000 metre pursuit and on the road - all while being a mother and holding down jobs on fruit farms in West Yorkshire.
My patience has been tested recently by a couple of books cashing in on the cycling boom, so 'The Srampagmano Tales' - a book of poetry by 'Scarlett Parker with illustrations by Faith Buck' set me straight away on high whimsy alert. The general rule is that bad poetry beats bad prose hands down. Thankfully 'The Srampagmano Tales' is actually rather good.