Books every cyclist should have on their shelves

Few activities have as vast a range of literature as cycling. There are books on the bikes themselves, in all their variety; books on where to ride; on riding technique; on the great — and not so great — races; on cyclesport’s heroes and villains; and much more. Here are our picks for the books every cyclist should have in his or her collection.

Back in the Frame by Jools Walker — £10.49

Back in the Frame

Who knew that a Pashley Princess and a word processor could be such a killer combination? Part memoir, part guide, Back in the Frame is a thought-provoking and down-to-earth book to inspire not only the would-be-cyclist, but any reader who has felt the fear about anything and not yet done it anyway.

In her debut book, award-winning blogger Jools Walker (aka Lady Vélo) takes us back to her green trike days and the origins of her relationship with cycling, along with the barriers that contributed to her stepping away from the saddle – including getting the message that it's a boy's game, to being on the receiving end of creepy cat calls.

But when she combines her first word processor with her first bike as an adult, Walker finds the strength to face her fears and get back in the frame. At first, her gaze is firmly fixed on the chic, city side of cycling rather than road and Lycra – in her blog from 2010 she muses 'Lycra outfits (no thanks)' – but in dedicating herself to pedalling and writing about it, an unexpected journey begins to unfold.

Read our review of the Back in the Frame by Jools Walker

100 Greatest Cycling Climbs of Italy — £12.99

Greatest Cycling Climbs of Italy

With 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs of Italy, Simon Warren has used his proven research and writing skills (and fitness) to highlight yet more climbs for cyclists. Italy provided him with an embarrassment of riches to choose from, and the results will undoubtedly continue to inspire adventurous types to 'ride them all'. The book provides a useful guide to some that have featured in a Giro d'Italia, and inspiration to seek out those that haven't.

Simon Warren's books of the greatest cycling climbs have led to debate and sore legs since their first appearance back in 2010. After a promising start of 100 in the UK, followed by 'Another 100', I felt that the series became less compelling with the subsequent eight regional guides, including NE England, Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire and SE England, with under 100 climbs included, of which many were repeats.

However, by making a start on the climbs of mainland Europe, with Belgium followed by France, Warren showed that his little pocket books were still valid as a source of inspiration and information. Now the series has rolled on into Italy, and very welcome it is.

Read our review of 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs of Italy

To Make Riders Faster by Anna Dopico — £39.00

To Make Riders Faster by Anna Dopico - cover.jpg

It is hard to believe that the Cervélo brand is barely more than 20 years old, such is the impact that it has already made at the highest levels of cycling. In To Make Riders Faster, Anna Dopico covers the history of Cervélo as an independent business, from its creation though to eventual sale – and the highs and lows along the way. It is essential reading for fans of the brand – but will also appeal to anyone who wants to know a bit more about how the cycle industry works.

This book covers phase one of the Cervélo story, in which Phil White and Gerard Vroomen 'establish themselves as innovators in the cycling industry in less than a decade'. They were two university students who 'lived like paupers, built a world-renowned brand from nothing, and later had the fight of their lives to keep their company, Cervélo, from ruin'.

Read our review of To Make Riders Faster

Around the World in 80 Days by Mark Beaumont — £10.49

Around the World in 80 Days by Mark Beaumont

We frequently report on Mark Beaumont's cycling exploits on this website, including the start and finish of his recent round-the-world record attempt. As expected, there is now a book about it, and Around the World in 80 Days will leave you in awe at the enormity of the challenge that he set himself – and the extent of his preparation.

Read our review of Around the World in 80 Days

Lost Lanes West by Jack Thurston — £16.99


Lost Lanes West is a lovely thing. If you bought it and did nothing other than leaf through it on the sofa, it'd still be worth the money for the interesting and information-packed descriptions of the riding, and the high-quality photography. You should go out and do the rides too, though. There's some fantastic riding in the West. We should know. Okay, we're biased.

Read our review of Lost Lanes West

The Road Book Cycling Almanack by Ned Boulting — £50.00

The Road Book Cycling Almanack 2.jpg

The Road Book is essentially a statistical summary of the 2018 professional cycling season, with many added extras. Whether it is a long overdue and welcome arrival, or an idea that has no relevance today, only time will tell. Either way, it does a fine job of delivering on the promise to be 'the first ever comprehensive cycling almanack'.

Read our review of The Road Book Cycling Almanack

The Comeback, Greg LeMond, by Daniel de Visé — £13.47


Greg LeMond remains the only American rider to have officially won the Tour de France. These days the idea that an American rider could triumph again is hardly remarkable, but The Comeback makes clear that if it was an unparalleled achievement when LeMond first realised it, his second success was even more unlikely. As if the highs and lows of his sporting career were not enough, The Comeback also shows how LeMond had to endure similar fluctuations in fortune during his business career, thanks in part to Lance Armstrong.

Read our review of The Comeback

Cartes Du Tour by Paul Fournel — £40


There are a lot of books about the Tour de France out there already, and every year more appear. Many of them cover the same ground, but occasionally you come across a different proposition that has been well executed: Cartes du Tour is one such success, and it presents an alternative perspective of le Tour.

We are all familiar with the overall route map of the event that the organisers of le Tour produce, which much of the media faithfully reproduce; in fact, such is the control over 'le Brand' that one rarely sees anything other than the official (and rather formulaic) Tour map these days. A collection of those going back over the years is naturally included in Cartes du Tour, but you soon realise that they are not the main attraction.

Read our review of Cartes Du Tour

Sunday in Hell, by William Fotheringham — £16.99

Sunday in Hell - Behind the Lens of the Greatest Cycling Film of All Time by William Fotheringham.jpg

William Fotheringham's latest book, Sunday in Hell, tells the story behind the making of the famous film of the 1976 edition of the Paris-Roubaix classic of the same name. Along the way he paints fascinating portraits of the professional racing scene of the era and some of the biggest names in cycling, with the bonus of an education in Danish avant-garde film-making to boot.

Fotheringham has made an excellent job of tracking down and interviewing the surviving main players, including cyclists Ole Ritter, Francesco Moser, Freddy Maertins and Roger de Vlaeminck. Jørgen Leth himself makes a substantial contribution to the book.

In the end, it'll make you want to watch the film again, which has to be taken as a sign that Mr Fotheringham has done a great job.

Read our review of Sunday in Hell

40 Years of Cycling Photography, by Graham Watson — £35

40 Years of Cycling Photography by Graham Watson -1.jpg

Professional cycling photographer Graham Watson has produced several books over his career, focusing on various aspects of the sport, but this one 'is the book that trumps them all for it covers everything under one title'. He makes the bold claim that 'it's the most complete photo-book ever produced by one single cycling photographer', and we certainly can't think of a stronger contender for the title.

Watson put his lens cap on for the final time after the Tour Down Under last year, which meant that he had been photographing the top level of the sport for just a few months short of 40 years. His first job in retirement was to work on this book, with editorial assistance from respected journalist Luke Edwardes-Evans. It is his first foray into self-publishing, which brings with it extra demands and responsibilities, but 'no end of control over my work'.

As well a collection of superb images, 40 Years of Cycling Photography has a strong autobiographical side, well told. Not only is the list of photographers with a large enough body of work to populate a book like this a small one, the number of those who can successfully supply the words to complete the page is even smaller. Watson has proven his ability over previous books and articles: I used to enjoy his 'Life through a lens' column for the now defunct Cycle Sport magazine, as it was as much about his thoughts on the racing scene and the background to his work as it was about showcasing his pictures – a bit like this book.

Read our review of 40 Years of Cycling Photography

This Road I Ride, by Juliana Buhring – £13.99

Juliana Buhring This Road I Ride

Juliana Buhring might just be the most remarkable woman cyclist on the planet. Raised in the Children of God religious cult, she escaped that life as a young adult and ended up in Kampala, Uganda doing what she terms "quasi-missionary" work distributing food and medical supplies to orphanages and schools by day and performing as a go-go dancer by night to pay the bills. After her soulmate was killed in a crocodile attack, she again pulled herself out of the darkness, this time by deciding she'd be the fastest woman to circumnavigate the world by bike.

This book is the story of a remarkable 152-day ride that, despite her lack of cycling experience, shot Buhring into the upper echelon of ultra-distance cycling where she continues to amaze and inspire.

The Cycling Jersey - Craftsmanship, Speed and Style, by Oliver Knight — £34.99

The Cycling Jersey.jpg

The Cycling Jersey is the result of one man's passion for a piece of kit that defines cyclists the world over. Naturally the book has wonderful pictures of cycling jerseys (and lots of them), all presented in large, glossy, and colourful splendour. The book wants to be about more than just the actual jersey, though, and has several related articles and interviews. It may be a niche subject, but there is enough here to convince even the most committed Philistine about the beauty of jerseys and the 'craftsmanship, speed and style' that they represent.

Read our review of The Cycling Jersey - Craftsmanship, Speed and Style

Tom Simpson: Bird On The Wire, by Andy McGrath — £36

Rapha Tom Simpson - Bird On The Wire Book.jpg

Andy McGrath's Tom Simpson: Bird On The Wire is a beautifully written and designed book that brings a new dimension to a much covered cyclist thanks to some fantastic imagery and insightful writing.

Tom Simpson was one of the most widely respected cyclists in the professional peloton in the early 1960s and became the darling of British racing, arguably becoming the cyclist who paved the way for the likes of Chris Boardman, Bradley Wiggins, and Mark Cavendish to become world beaters. Fifty years after his famous death there has been a huge amount of commemoration, including this book.

Read our review of Tom Simpson: Bird On The Wire

Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling, by Carlton Reid — £22.99

Bike Boom The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling by Carlton Reid.jpg

'Bikes are booming!'

'Bikes are not booming!'

Both statements are true: it just depends on what you are measuring and over what period. The message from Bike Boom, by Carlton Reid, is that despite appearances, bike usage is not as good as it has been, and is certainly not as good as many of us would like it to be, so what can be learnt from history to help create the conditions that might lead to a genuine bike boom?

Some of you will have been involved in a mini-boom in the bike market, such as when mountain bikes first appeared, or more recently the MAMIL-led growth in road bikes – but in many countries, says Reid, 'there is no bike boom right now, nor has there been one in the United Kingdom or the United States since the early 1970s'.

Read our review of Bike Boom: The Unexpected Resurgence of Cycling

Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World, by Peter Walker — £9.35


In Bike Nation, Peter Walker provides invaluable information on every discussion that you are likely to encounter when making the case for cycling, and from the chapter headings you can tell that he gets right to the point: examples include 'The miracle pill: bikes make everyone more healthy', 'Fear and near misses: the battle to feel safe on the roads', 'Why cyclists are hated', and 'If helmets are the answer, you're asking the wrong question'.

That last one questions the idea of making helmets use compulsory, 'or even to overly encourage them as a supposed safety panacea' – and is likely to be the most contentious, even (or should that be especially?) among those who have not read it.

Read our review of Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World

The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail, by Tim Moore — £6.47

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In his latest tale of throwing himself in the deep end on an epic cycling journey, Tim Moore brings his much-loved wry humour to a trek along the Iron Curtain on a £50 shopping bike. The one-liners and the horror stories come thick and fast.

Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, by Lennard Zinn — £13.99


The main reason to buy Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance is that it's likely to be the most up-to-date, the most comprehensive and the most thorough maintenance manual available for road bikes, and is a worthy successor to previous editions. I am a great fan of the detailed line drawings that are used to such good effect here (perhaps because I used Richard's Bicycle Book in my formative years, which has a similar style); they make any task so much easier to explain and understand.

Read our review of Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance

The Cycling Anthology Volumes 1-6, edited, by Ellis Bacon and Lionel Birnie — £6.95-£8.99 ea

The Cycling Anthology Volume 6.jpg

If you're even casually interested in cyclesport, all six editions of this series of collections from the world's best cycling writers deserve a place on your bookshelf. As we said of volume one:

"The Cycling Anthology is professional pro cycling journalism for grownups. There are no lazy clichés, egotistical pretences to any inner circles; no soundbites or gossip presented as fact for the cheap thrill of basking in all the retweets. 14 of the world's best writers on cycling and David Millar (who apparently knows a fair bit about cycling...) have offered up 15 gems."

That standard continues right through the series to volume six, in which editors Ellis Bacon and Lionel Birnie maintain their record of contributing to every volume so far. Three writers appear for the first time including Felix Lowe who writes the Blazin' Saddles blogs for Eurosport, and recently won 'Blogger of the year' at the Cycling Media Awards. Another new entry is Robert Millar, who is becoming as well known for his writing as his cycling. Finally there is a LeMond, but not the one that you might expect: Kathy LeMond 'writes about what it was like to support her husband during some of his bleakest days'.

Read our review of The Cycling Anthology Volume one
Read our review of The Cycling Anthology Volume two
Read our review of The Cycling Anthology Volume three
Read our review of The Cycling Anthology Volume five
Read our review of The Cycling Anthology Volume six

Triumphs and Turbulence: My Autobiography, by Chris Boardman — around £3


Chris Boardman has been making headlines for over 30 years, and in that time he has been the subject of numerous articles and interviews. As a result, some of what you read in Triumphs & Turbulence may be familiar – but here you get the full story, told in typical Boardman style with his usual dry humour.

Read our review of Triumphs and Turbulence: My Autobiography, by Chris Boardman

Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy, by Tim Moore — £5.84


Tim Moore is a glutton for punishment. That's the only conclusion you can reach from the journey at the heart of this book. Moore set out to follow the route of an edition of the Tour of Italy that 90% of the starters didn't complete, and to do it on the rebuilt remains of a 1914 bike, wooden rims and all. Fortunately, Moore is a very funny glutton for punishment; Gironimo! will have you laughing out loud.

Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs by Michael Blann — £24.46

Mountains Epic Cycling Climbs Courtesy Thames and Hudson.jpg

'Coffee table book' can have negative overtones, but Michael Blann reclaims it with this 'luxury' (his own word) coffee table collection. To qualify, a book usually needs to include lots of large high quality pictures, and in that respect Mountains delivers. Some coffee table books give the genre a bad name by offering little else, with no reading material of any substance – and that is where Mountains sets itself apart, with several well-known professional cyclists contributing short essays to the book.

Read our review of Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs, by Michael Blann

Roads Were Not Built For Cars by Carlton Reid — £20.69

Roads Were Not Built For Cars.jpg

"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.

Not only were roads not built for cars, they were not built for bikes either. Pedestrians were the first to take advantage of the pre-set routes, along with four-legged horse power. However, Reid argues that it is a motoring-centric view that roads are just for transport, and that in the past they have been seen as a public space for other uses. We still see glimpses of that today when roads are closed for sporting events, or when royalty give us an excuse for a street party.

Read our review of Roads Were Not Built For Cars, by Carlton Reid

Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World's Fastest Cyclists by Michael Hutchinson — £8.99


Michael 'Dr Hutch' Hutchinson has been one of Britain's most successful time trial riders for the last several years. He's also an amusing, intelligent and analytical writer and in 'Faster' he addresses his own obsession with speed on the bike, examining the ways a rider can improve, and demolishing myths. As our reviewer Dan Kenyon said: "Hutchinson deals with realities not beliefs. It's a list of the incredible diversity of variables that may or may not affect performance and a discussion of how difficult it is to say that what works for one athlete will work for another."

Read our review of Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World's Fastest Cyclists, by Michael Hutchinson

The Hour, by Michael Hutchinson — £7.19

The Hour.jpg

With all the recent high-tech attacks on the Hour Record, this account of Dr Hutch's old-fashioned attempt on the record is an insight into how much things have changed since the mid-2000s, as well as being laugh-out-loud funny.

Spoiler alert: he didn't break the record, run then under the UCI's 'athlete's hour' rules which hobbled riders with 1960s technology, but this book pulls literary and comic success from the jaws of sporting failure.

Rough Ride, by Paul Kimmage — £7.19

Rough Ride

Before he became a thorn in the side of cycling's governing body and egregious cheats, Paul Kimmage was a domestique for the RMO and Fagor teams in Europe, eventually quitting in disgust at his inability to compete against riders who used performance-enhancing drugs.

Published in 1990, Rough Ride mostly deals with Kimmage's struggle to adapt to the pace of life as a European pro, but it's the sections on doping that caught widespread attention.

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro, by Phil Gaimon — £10.95

Phil Gaimon.jpg

We tried to get our fitness expert Dave Smith to choose a book on training and cycling fitness, but there aren't any he felt he could wholeheartedly recommend.

Until Dave gets round to writing The Big Book Of Going Faster On A Bike, he says: "Anyone who wants to race should read Phil Gaimon 'How to be a pro cyclist on a day'. If I had to choose one, that would be it."

Gaimon became a pro rider almost by accident, discovering he had talent after starting riding just to get around, and eventually ending up with a berth at Garmin-Sharp. His story is told with self-deprecating wit, warmth and blunt honesty.

City Cycling, by Richard Ballantine — £2.13

City Cycling

No selection of cycling books would be complete without some incarnation of Richard Ballantine's seminal Bicycle Book. This 2009 guide to urban survival was the spiritual successor to Ballantine's original paperback, which morphed into various coffee table books in the 1990s.

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 repetitive despite having a very familiar format thanks to his conversational, authoritative and engaging delivery.

Read our review of City Cycling, by Richard Ballantine

Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France by Richard Moore — £9.99


The 1986 Tour de France was supposed to see five-time winner Bernard Hinault hand over the leadership of his La Vie Claire team to rising star Greg LeMond, and to help LeMond win his first Tour. It was to be payback for LeMond's loyal support the previous year.

But instead of supporting LeMond, Hinault went on the attack, claiming he was attempting to wear down LeMond's rivals, but looking a lot like he was going for his sixth Tour victory. What was really going on?

It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels, by Robert Penn — £6.49


If the shiny bits we all ogle, weigh and covet are affectionately termed the generic bike porn, this book is the equivalent of Delta of Venus: erotica for the cycling fan. It's an account of Penn's search for the perfect bits for his perfect bike, but the joy of the way he has written this is that it's not just techie stuff for technoweenies.

Penn's paean to steel and the dying breed of custom frame builders is sung to a Brian Rourke frame. Reynolds and Brooks get their due, so too DT and Royce. A trip to Italy takes in those entertaining chaps at Cinelli as well as the somewhat more straightlaced guys at Campagnolo, and he even manages a quick digression down Repack way en route to picking up some extremely recherché wheels from Gravy in Fairfax, California. Well, why not? If opportunity knocks, let it in.

It's all approachably written, the right mix of enough info without being overpowering, and it zips along happily like a comfortable steel-framed bike powered by the right pair of legs.

Read our review of It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels, by Robert Penn

Tour de France: The Official 100th Race Anniversary Edition, by Serge Laget et al — from around £3.00

Tour de France 100th.jpg

Every cycling library should have a history of the Tour de France, and this 352-page slab that covers the race's first 100 editions is the definitive official record. Authored by Tour historian Serge Laget among others, it covers the races from the Tour's early years as a tool in a newspaper circulation battle, through the heroic era of the 1950s to the helicopter-televised modern Tour of triumphs and scandals.

100 Greatest Cycling climbs, by Simon Warren — £6.58

100 Greatest Cycling Climbs by Simon Warren

This super little book gives you a heads up on some of the best climbing to be had in Great Britain. With detailed information on each ascent and an I-Spy style table at the back to check them all off, it's a book that's got a long shelf life.

It's a sterling effort and one made much better by the addition of the table for ticking off the climbs and recording your time. That simple addition makes the book much more than the interesting bathroom reading it could have otherwise been. You get something to aim for, as well as something to read.

Since this first book, Simon Warren has added literally a dozen more, covering British regions in more detail and nipping across to Belgium and France to document the classic ascents of road racing legend.

Read our review of 100 Greatest Cycling climbs, by Simon Warren

Ride The Revolution – The Inside Stories From Women In Cycling edited, by Suze Clemitson — £16.99

Ride the Revolution

This is a book written entirely by women, mostly about women, but certainly not just for women: the revolution in the title refers to the increasing participation of women in so many aspects of the sport, and this book celebrates that involvement.

Read our review of Ride The Revolution – The Inside Stories From Women In Cycling edited, by Suze Clemitson

The Rider, by Tim Krabbé — from around £1.30


The Guardian's Matt Seaton said of Dutch journalist and novelist Tim Krabbé's fourth novel: "Nothing better is ever likely to be written on the subjective experience of cycle-racing."

The Rider tells the fictionalised story of an edition of the Tour du Mont Aigoual race as his protagonist struggles on the tricky descents, and dispatches his rivals on the climbs. It was the first literary success for a writer whose later novels include The Vanishing and The Cave, and draws convincingly on Krabbé's own experience as a racer.

Art illuminates life; life imitates art. The route of the Tour du Mont Aigoual took on a life of its own as riders followed the loop in the hills of France. In 2003 Krabbé attended a sportive on the route, his racing days long past and in no shape to take part. Inspired by the riders tackling 'his' cols, Krabbé trained hard so he could take part the following year and in the process returned to bike racing.

Put Me Back On My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson, by Will Fotheringham — from about £3

Put me back on my bike.jpg

With rare exceptions, today's elite cyclists are dull drones mouthing meaningless platitudes while dodging WADA. Tom Simpson was very different.

The manner of his death dominates any story about Tom Simpson. He succumbed to heat stroke and cardiac failure on the slopes of Mont Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France. He had amphetamine in his bloodstream.

But what Will Fotheringham finds as he explores Simpson's life is a trailblazer, a huge talent and a true character. Simpson was as much a victim of the woeful state of sport science at the time and the brutal schedule pro racers endured as of his own burning ambition. His story, affectionately told by Fotheringham, is one every cyclist should read, even if they're not very much interested in racing.

Over to you

Is there an essential book we've missed? Let us know in the comments.

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Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

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michophull [162 posts] 3 years ago

Nice eclectic selection. I'd also personally recommend:

French Revolutions, and Gironimo by Tim Moore, and...

The Flying Scotsman by Graeme Obree.

Sven Van Anders [47 posts] 3 years ago

Both the Tim Moore books mentioned by michophull are indeed excellent, but the most beautifuly crafted book on the subject has to be 'We Were Young and Carefree" by Laurent Fignon. 

MNgraveur [108 posts] 3 years ago

Gironimo is wonderful. 

Polite [6 posts] 3 years ago

Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp is a great read. If you've cycled up there, albeit at snail's pace like me, you'll devour it.

esnifador [57 posts] 3 years ago

Another vote for Tim Moore from me - extremely entertaining and very informative at the same time. I especially found Gironimo interesting as I know far less about the Giro than I do the Tour, so I really did learn a lot.

MartyMcCann [288 posts] 3 years ago

Jean Bobet's biography of his brother Louison "Tomorrow We Ride"- brilliantly written and includes one of the most emotive, short sentences to ever finish a book.

s.wilderness [11 posts] 3 years ago

As you frequently advocate using your LBS, shouldn't you be consistent, remove the Amazon link, and suggest readers shop at their local bookshop? Many of them will stock these books or get them next day for you.

Ian Allardyce [65 posts] 3 years ago

I just finished Land of Second Chances by Tim Lewis. Really great book for the riding but also cultrual info about Rwanda and wider Africa.

Johnny25 [37 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

Some of the cycling books I've read over the past 18 months, which are worth considering:


Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling.

The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-day Races.

Cycling is My Life - by Tom Simpson.

The Cycling Anthology 1 - 6.

Etape: The untold stories of the Tour de France's defining stages.

Maglia Rosa 2nd edition: Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro D'Italia (Rouleur).


pga [23 posts] 3 years ago
1 like

I second Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp - thanks to Richard Williams of The Guardian aledrterd me to this.   Also just finished Need for the Bike by Paul Fournel, an excellent insight into why, for some of us, cycling is a way of life.

For those of you interested in the British road racing adventures abroad  I strongly recommend Dancing Uphill by Francis Holland, the story of Charlie Holland (her Dad),the first English rider in the Tour de France.    Tony Hewson's In Pursuit of Stardom - Les Nomades du Velo Anglais - covers the 1950's adventures of Jock Andrews, Vic Sutton and the author in taking on the top continental stars on their own ground.   Only bad luck and sparse  resources prevented them reaching the very top but they paved the way, together with Brian Robinson and Tony Hoar, for the well funded successes of today.

Other good reads are  -

The Escape Artist - Matt Seaton

Road to Valour - Aili McConnon and Andres McConnon

Reckless - Alasdair Fotheringham

The Rules - Velominati

The Full Cycle - Vin Denson

One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers - Tim Hilton

Full Tilt - Dervla Murphy

There have never been more cycling books in print but alas many are not worth the read.


mingmong [324 posts] 3 years ago

A shout for Ned's books  1

dampjumper [17 posts] 3 years ago

Domestique by Charly Wegelius. Gritty, hard, frank account of a pretty thankless industry.

dampjumper [17 posts] 3 years ago

Also, Ok it's not a book but still, check out Splinterbike on dvd, documentary on a couple of bike geeks who built a record-breaking bike entirely out of wood. Very funny and a great example of 'never say die' spirit

PhilRuss [407 posts] 3 years ago

Tim Hilton's "One More Kilometre And We're In The Showers"---the next best thing to a long  ride on a favourite road-bike.

stenmeister [357 posts] 3 years ago

Dave Barter's 'Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder' - a book that many will relate to.



andyp [1609 posts] 3 years ago

The Escape Artist really should be on here.

ashfanman [133 posts] 3 years ago

Surprised that nobody has mentioned The Secret Race by Daniel Coyle and Tyler Hamilton. A gripping and brutally honest account of the Lance Armstrong years.

simbasagwete [16 posts] 3 years ago

I'd recommend Charlie Wegelius' book 'Domestique: the real life ups and downs of a tour pro' because everyone else like to write about the min actors but the supporting cast are a huge part of the story. I'd also recommend Tyler Hamilton's book, 'The secret race: inside the hidden world of the tour de france: doping, cover ups and winning at all costs' because we all know the Lance Armstrong story but this is one of the only first-hand accounts of what happened.

andystorey [25 posts] 3 years ago
1 like
Woldsman [339 posts] 3 years ago

Some of my favourites:



darnac [29 posts] 3 years ago

Domestique is a superb book; Also David Millar's The Racer. Laurent Fignon's autobiography is also good; try the French edition - it's not too difficult.

jimbocrimbo [53 posts] 3 years ago

I echo the big up of Tomorrow We Ride by Jean Bobet


Martin Gatenby [1 post] 3 years ago

One of my favourites is 'Dog in a Hat' by Jo Parkin - set mostly in Belgium in a world of 'mud and drugs' 


I also want to recommend my own book 'Life of Mamils' - Published by Fisher King and avaialble on Amazon

ConcordeCX [1222 posts] 2 years ago

I add these recommendations to those above:

  • Besoin de vélo, by Paul Fournel. Beautifully written 'fragments of an autobiography on truant roads'
  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Richard & Nicholas Crane. Legendary, insane lightweight expedition by two self-deprecating hard men
  • The Discovery of France, Graham Robb. OK, not strictly a cycling book, but the author has cycled every square inch 2.54 centimetres of France, is a Professor of French, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and reveals the country for randonneurs francophiles like nothing else



TomBombadil [1 post] 2 years ago


My favourite is The Rider. It's great to have a work of fiction for a change, this was a big inspiration for The Cyclist's Tale and Other Short Cycling Stories which is available at Amazon  & this web site.   www.thecycliststale.com 

fincon1 [14 posts] 2 years ago

I really enjoyed Cycling Science by Max Glaskin. It's filled with interesting facts and diagrams showing how cycling works. 

spin cycle [73 posts] 2 years ago
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I have never really got on with Tim Moore's books.  I really like the premise I just don’t like the way he writes.  I will however take heed and try again.

As others have said David Millar’s books are good reads.  I also really liked Mark Beaumont’s Africa Solo (and The Man Who Cycled The World and TMWCT Americas).

littlegermanboy [13 posts] 2 years ago

The Great Bike Race by Geoffrey Nicholson. Got it when I was a kid and still regularly dip in, 40 years later. Also a shout out for Richard Moore's Etape.

PRSboy [595 posts] 2 years ago
stenmeister wrote:

Dave Barter's 'Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder' - a book that many will relate to.



+1 for that... laugh out loud reading.

Mountain High, and Mountain Higher.... great pics, interesting copy and stats.

Science of the Tour De France, James Witts.  A must for anyone interested in cycling and training science.

EM69 [41 posts] 2 years ago

For a light hearted read 'A Spoke in the Wheel' by Les Woodland...