Christmas is coming, and one of the ways we judge the changing of the seasons is the number of books stacked up on the desk that are out in time to fill the stockings of your bike-crazy friends. We've got a bumper Christmas gift guide to cycling books coming up but in the meantime just got three in, so we thought we'd share them with you if you're stuck for ideas…
First up is The Srampagmano Tales, a cycling parody of The Canterbury Tales written by Scarlett Parker and illustrated by Faith Buck. "Written in the same narrative verse as Chaucer's famous text, The Srampagmano Tales is a witty and knowing account of what it means to ride a bicycle and the enduring joy experienced by cyclists everywhere," we read on the cover. At 53 pages and split into ten separate tales (roadie, courier, sporitviste and so on) it's one to dip in and out of for some brief entertainment rather than a hefty tome, but the tone is just right, the woodcut-style illustrations charming and you'll find yourself in there somewhere…
The Srampagmano Tales is available from Look Mum No Hands! Oh, and Amazon
Next up: Free Country, by George Mahood. A tale of two friends who decide to cycle Lands End to John O'Groats relying solely on the kindness of the people they meet along the way. As such, they arrive at Land's End with no bikes. Or money. Or clothes. Setting off with just a pair of union jack boxer shorts each they make their way slowly north, and the journey is a genuine revelation, in the fear culture we live in, of the essential good nature of folk. Plus, it's funny. You can get it for £9.99 in paperback from Amazon, it's also available for the Kindle.
Lastly, The Cycling Anthology. Edited by Ellis Bacon and Lionel Birnie, the anthology is "a collection of original writing by some of the world's best cycling journalists," we read. And certainly there's some big name contributors. Ellis and Lionel for a start, plus Will Fotheringham, David Millar, Richard Moore, Jeremy Whittle and many more. The short pieces cover a range of topics from the world of professional cycling. Some – such as the rise of Bradley Wiggins and the Pendleton/Meares rivalry – you'll probably be aware of already; others – Adam Hansen's bid to ride all three Grand Tours in a year, or the last ride of Frédéric Guesdon's professional career – will be less familiar. The standard of writing is, of course, high, and at 270 pages it should see you through the Eastenders omnibus and The Towering Inferno with room to spare.
The Cycling Anthology is available from Prendas Ciclismo. And Amazon.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.