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Light a Fire, Pull up a Chair and Read a Book!
By Becky Leidy
Date: 12/22/2002
Light a Fire, Pull up a Chair and Read a Book!

Rough Ride
by Paul Kimmage

Review by Andrew McDobbin

Paul Kimmage had harboured dreams of becoming a professional cyclist since the age of seven, following firmly in his father's footsteps. However as he advanced further in the cycling world, it was clear that it was nothing like it was cracked up to be. He discovered no matter how much effort, training, sweat and blood he put into training and races, nothing in his performance would change.

This book is an incredibly honest tale, chronicling Kimmage's adventures in cycling, especially in the pro peloton for several years. He writes in depth about his times at the Giro and Le Tour, the latter not being a particularly fond memory for him in some years. The book also tells of his experiences with doping when it was at its height in cycling. Kimmage writes with such detail and accuracy that the reader can't help but become enchanted by his words, some of which are so poignant and meaningful. If you're looking for a brutally honest, interesting and well-written book, you have found it in Rough Ride. Although it caused tsunamis in the seas of professional cycling when it was released (Stephen Roche turned his back on Kimmage and on a great friendship), it is not a book that will gain him friends in the peloton - it focuses on telling what it was exactly like This difference is one of the aspects that makes the book so different yet so superb. This book is a good, long read of about 250 pages. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age, despite the profanities mentioned. This book shows what professional cycling was really like, the behind-the-scenes view. I strongly urge you to buy this for yourself or for a relative - this book is literary and sporting gold.

The Cyclists Training Bible
by Joel Friel

Review by Becky Leidy

The author is reason enough to buy this book. Joel Friel is a legend in coaching circles. He is touted not only by late sport physiologist, Ed Burke, but by Chris Carmichael, founder of CTS training. You know, the guy who coaches Lance. With an easy to read format, it includes sample training plans, blank forms to get you organized, testing options, and everything you need for a do-it-yourself training program. Most importantly, though, you don’t need a degree to understand him. It offers to help everyone from the pro to the cyclist trying to find time to train between work and family. There is also advice on resistance training, diet, stretching (a very important but often ignored practice), and addresses some of the variables due to age & sex. It really has it all. An excellent accompaniment is the Training Diary, also by Friel.

Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson
by William Fotheringham

Review by Nick Bull

If you are looking for a great book on Tom Simpson this Christmas, I would strongly recommend this title.

One of the things that I really liked about the book was that it was highly informative. I learnt, with the help of interviews from those that worked alongside Tom and hours of research by Fotheringham, about Simpson and how he worked, his determination and how he took illegal substances...These performance enhancing drugs were one of the factors in Tom’s death, which is explained carefully in the final chapter. The finished result is an entertaining account of arguably Britain’s best ever cyclist.

If you are looking for a great book on Tom Simpson this Christmas, I would strongly recommend this title.

Van Santander Naar Santander
by Peter Winnen

Review by Celine

Peter Winnen has been a professional cyclist for 11 years, from 1980 up to 1991. In his debut in the Tour de France he won the queen mountain stage to Alpe d'Huez and he won the white jersey for best young rider. After that brilliant first year, he goes on and wins the queen stages in the next two Tours and finishes third in 1983.

In this book, he describes his entire career. From the kids dreams to the first years as an amateur. From the change to the pro's to his victories and bonks. From the media and the women to the doping issues. He describes these moments in his letters to a friend so clearly that it feels as though you were right there with him. A book that reads very easily and if you love cycling, definitely a must-read.

Unfortunately, this book has been written in Dutch so not available for the broad public, but if you do understand it, I would surely recommend it as a Christmas present!

French Revolutions
by Tim Moore

Review by Andrew McDobbin

Tim Moore - a middle-aged cycling enthusiast - decides to follow the route of the Tour de France 2000, having been seduced by its glamour, speed and public appeal. Moore sets out 6 weeks before the professionals do, but immediately has teething problems discovering the route of this great race, not least because of his mediocre French: 'Ou est la Tour de France, si vous plait?' (Where is the Tower of France, please?)

However (more often than not), he was led to a stretch of road in North Western France for the prologue rather than to a piece of stunning architecture.

However, above all written, this book is very amusing and at times will have you laughing out loud, but also crying, as several points met in the book are rather sad. Still, Moore has the ability to humorously bounce back with many anecdotes, even after such emotion shown in a previous chapter. As he reaches the mountains, he is tempted by drugs and cheating, but this touch of 'professionalism' makes it even more moving. This book is an excellent read with 280-odd pages (most of which will have you giggling childishly) and is also written charismatically and thoroughly, explaining his troubles from start to finish - from West Londn to the Champs Elysees.

I cannot stress enough how interesting and funny this book is. As well as giving a deep insight into Le Tour, it is rather inspiring for any similar dreamers out there. This book has it all - the highs and the lows (both in his morale and in the road he is cycling on), adventure, excitement, an extreme sense of poignancy as well as one of humour. If you are in touch with cycling, you must buy this book.

No Brakes! Bicycle Track Racing in the United States
by Sandra Wright Sutherland

Review by Janna Trevisanut

I read this book because I really didn't know anything about track cycling, and I was pleased to find it very comprehensive. Written from the point of view of what the track enthusiast author would love to read herself, the book includes guest articles and profiles, explanations of the different types of events (such as the origin of the keirin and the Madison) and profiles of stars in each discipline, track specifications and markings, equipment specifications, velodrome locations and more. No Brakes is a great reference book as well as being spiritedly written. With a foreword by Greg Lemond and special profile of Marty Nothstein, this is a great book for track enthusiast and newbie alike.

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