If you can’t be riding your bike, reading about cycling or watching racing on the TV is the next best thing! Here is our pick of some cycling classics to inspire you:
1) Bird on a Wire, Andy McGrath
Tom Simpson was, and to many still is, Britain’s greatest cycling icon. It is more than 50 years since he died in the public eye on the slopes of Mont Ventoux with amphetamines and alcohol in his system yet still his achievements and personality is a source of fascination for cycling fans the world over.
Simpson was a huge character and a man of many contradictions; gentleman and rogue, competitive and driven, champion of the people and fondly regarded by his team mates and competitors. He was glamorous and enjoyed fast living, on and off his bike. He is still one of Britain’s greatest ever cyclists having won the World Championships and worn the Tour de France yellow jersey.
This book is not just for fans of Simpson, but an elegantly written insight into professional cycling life in the 1960’s. Insightful pictures, some never seen before, supplement the fascinating writing.
2) This Road I Ride, Juliana Buhring
Ultra-endurance cyclist Buhring hadn’t actually done much cycling when she set out to become the fastest woman to circumnavigate the globe. Her driving force at the start was to find a way to manage the grief of the death of her boyfriend in a freak accident. 29,000 kilometres and 152 days later she had faced physical and mental hardships, broken bikes and danger, as well as heart-warming hospitality and the landscapes of the world. An honest account of the emotions, challenges and glories of undertaking one of the greatest cycling journeys in the world.
3) Epic Rides of the World, Lonely Planet
Big, glossy and inspiring. This armchair read will have you planning new adventures and booking cycling holidays. From the well-known and epic climbs made famous by Grand Tour routes to virtually unknown roads in far flung corners of the world there is stunning photography of awesome mountain roads and dramatic scenery. Here you will find not just the highest, hardest and furthest rides but the most stunningly beautiful and uniquely different routes, many of which have barely been ridden.
4) The Escape Artist, Matt Seaton
One of the most honest and heart felt memoirs of an ordinary bike rider and his relationship with cycling. Seaton talks about his discovery of cycling and his coming of age as a bike rider, the day he first shaved his legs. His love for the rituals, the etiquette and the unique code of honour amongst cyclists will be recognised by every passionate rider.
Cycling for Seaton, and for many, is an obsession that consumes time, money and energy, this memoir examines that relationship and how it impacted upon his life.
5) Re: Cyclists, Michael Hutchinson
Former professional cyclist, journalist and writer, Dr Hutch brings his trade mark wry sense of humour and cynicism to the history of cycling.
Covering two hundred years he brings to light some of the more obscure and amusing sides of cycling history. It tells how cycling became a kinky vaudeville act for Parisians, how it was the basis of an American business empire to rival Henry Ford’s, and how it found a unique home in the British Isles.
Cycling has had a varied past, Hutch charts the rise and fall of cycling fashion; looking at how it successfully dodged a take-over from the motor industry, its time as a working-class hobby and its popularity today.