Reading and riding: Christmas books special

Tim Dawson, cycling columnist for the Sunday Times, runs the Cycling Books website, the most compendious review website for cycling books. He joins me in the studio to discuss the literature of cycling, from Tour de France to cycle touring. Paul Fournel reads another extract from Need for the Bike. Below is a list of the books discussed in the show. If you would like to buy them, follow the links to Amazon and Resonance FM will get a share of anything you buy, even if it’s stuff not on the list. What a nice way to help your favourite bicycling art radio station!

The Classics
The Rider by Tim Krabbé
The Escape Artist by Matt Seaton
Need for the Bike by Paul Fournel

Tour de France
Bad to the Bone by James Waddington
Sweat of the Gods by Benjo Masso
Wide-eyed and Legless: Inside the Tour De France by Jeff Connor
Le Tour: A History of the Tour De France by Geoffrey Wheatcroft
My Comeback: Up Close and Personal by Lance Armstrong and Elizabeth Kreutz

Cycle touring & travel
Thunder and Sunshine by Alistair Humphreys
The Hungry Cyclist by Tom Kevilll-Davies
French Revolutions by Tim Moore
Full Tilt: Ireland To India With a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy
Transylvania and Beyond by Dervla Murphy
Blue River, Black Sea by Andrew Eames
A Bike Ride by Anne Mustoe

Advocacy, philosophy
Richard’s Bicycle Book by Richard Ballantine

Those we didn’t get time to talk about
Tomorrow We Ride by Jean Bobet
The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham
The Noiseless Tenor by James Starrs
Golden Age of Handbuilt Bikes and Competition Bikes by Jan Heine
Rouleur Annual 2009
Fixed: Global Fixed-Gear Bike Culture by Andrew Edwards and Max Leonard

To win copies of the current issues of Rouleur and The Ride Journal, send answers to the competition questions to bikeshow-at-resonancefm-dot-com. Thanks to these fine publications for donating the prizes.

And if that leaves you wanting more chat about cycling books, the 2007 Christmas books show is still online to listen again as is the show featuring Andrew and Philip Diprose of The Ride Journal. Matt Seaton wrote an excellent round-up over at The Guardian.

16 thoughts on “Reading and riding: Christmas books special

  1. Great show again, thanks. Now there’s something to do in those dark and long winter nights. First I’ll try find some of those books and then read them.

  2. I’d like to recommend Push Yourself Just a Little Bit More by Johnny Green. I really enjoyed his alternative, fresh to the press room view, punky passion for the event and stream of consciousness descriptions.
    I’ll need to dig around for a copy of Richard’s Bicycle Book, Thanks for the tips, good show.

  3. The Byrne book is ok, although if you are not intrinsically fascinated by the author, then you might find it a bit thin. It is what it says on the cover – a diary. I got bored of him hitching up with people that he considered cool, but he didn’t tell me quite enough about to make them fascinate me. On the other hand, his cycle advocacy events, about which I only vaguely knew, sounded great and I was interested to learn more.

  4. I’d not finished it in time to make it a recommendation, but Graeme Obree’s “The Flying Scotsman” is very good, not least for its almost painful honesty about his depression.

  5. Great Show
    My top 2 books
    Agree with John the Monkey Flying Scotsman,Graeme Obree is a hugely sad but inspiring autobiography of the strong but fragile cyclist.
    In search of Robert Millar, Richard Moore ,great book telling the story of one of the great climbers of the 80s ,could not put it down.

  6. No longer in print sadly but The Penguin Book of the Bicycle by Watson & Gray is still a quality read. Was given it as a Christmas present when I was 13 or 14.. so some of the tech info is dated but the basics are still so true.

  7. I think the Moulton riding cyclist you confused with Anne Mustoe was Eleanor Bron; and I think Anne Mustoe favoured Condors.

    Not exactly a cycling book, but full of much truth about the natures of bicycles and bicyclists, is Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman. I don’t know how many times I’ve read my copy.

  8. @ Hercule: Of course, you’re right. As was Tim! Thanks for remembering Eleanor Bron. I’ve not read her book but it’s on the list.

    I absolutely agree about The Third Policeman. We discussed this somewhat on the books show in 2007.

  9. Knowing Tim (and his passion for well written cycle books) it was great to hear him on the podcast. A great show and I very much enjoyed hearing Tim’s opinions of the selected books. He has now lent me “Need For The Bike” which I had not heard of until your serialisation on the show.
    P.S. Does it make a me a bad person if I listen to your show whilst driving to work? My excuse being that it fills the “cycling void” between my weekend rides.

  10. I enjoyed Cycling Back to Happiness by Bernie Friend. He describes Northern Europe very well and the book seems to be a magnet for the curious and quirky, and refreshingly not blown out of proportion, like some irritating writers.
    It’s also got a decent back story, dealing with mental health on the road. Best of all it is a book about a man who hasn’t cycled since he was a child and just decides to get on a bike for an adventure. So much better than all that sweaty training and macho Spandex. I was hoping he might have written another.

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