New and forthcoming
The intricacies and complexities of cycling are what makes it so appealing. An eye for opportunity and a quick mind are just as essential to success as a 'big engine' or good form.
The focus on tactics and strategy begins in the early 20th Century, when the sport's leading performers employed pacemakers aboard tandems, before motorised transport was adopted to increase speed further behind motorbikes and cars.
Over the years the races have developed and fresh approaches to tactics required. How to deal with summit finishes? How a directeur sportif benefits his riders? How did a sprint train come about and how to use it as a most effective weapon?
Want to really understand cycling? You need Full Gas.
Sunday in Hell is an iconic documentary about the 1976 Paris-Roubaix Classic, made by the celebrated Danish director Jorgen Leth. Leth’s mission was to capture the spirit of this magnificent one-day spectacle through the cobbled roads of northern France and legends of the sport such as Eddy Merckx and Roger de Vlaeminck. He did so using revolutionary camera and sound techniques which improved the experience of watching cycling on screen forever.
This book looks at the men and the places behind the film: Leth and his work, the cyclists such as Merckx, De Vlaeminck and the ill-fated winner Marc de Meyer and revisits locations which have changed little to this day.
Push until it hurts, then push some more
Even by the standards of a sport that requires enormous stamina and capacity for suffering, Jens Voigt is in a class on his own. Beloved by cycling fans for his madcap one-man breakaways as much as his sense of humour and quotable catchphrases, Jens is one of the most popular personalities in cycling.
Jens was born near Hamburg, and came up through the East German system before the Wall came down. He got into the national team through the German army, before signing for his first big team. In many ways he is cycling’s anti-star; despite arguably spending more time at the front of the Tour de France than any other rider he has only worn the yellow jersey twice as his efforts have always been in the service of others.
Jens embodies the best of cycling’s qualities – loyalty to his team, sacrifice, and devotion to the sport. He says, ‘I’m not a head person, I’m more of a heart and guts guy. That’s how I race.’ Shut Up Legs is a funny, insightful and entertaining look at the tough realities of professional cycling, told in Jens’s trademark irreverent and inimitable style.
I checked my balance and peered apprehensively at the sheer drop below. Once I felt comfortable, I radioed down to Stu.
'I'm just gonna unclip quickly,' I said.
My walkie-talkie crackled straight away. Stu sounded pretty stressed. 'Dude, keep the rope on!'
I edged forward, my hands and feet scoping out the summit for any loose rock. The ridge pinnacle was still only a meter wide, if that, but I felt pretty stable.
'This bit's fine,' I said. 'The rope makes it harder for me...'
Danny MacAskill lives on the edge.
The cyclist is legendary for his YouTube viral videos like The Ridge, Cascadia and Imaginate: nerve-racking montages of stunts which scale everything from mountain peaks, rooftops, ghost towns and movie sets. His life is one of thrills, bloody spills and millions of online hits.
It hasn't been an easy ride. Doubt, stress and the 'what if?' factor circle every trailblazing trick, which require imagination, fearlessness, groundbreaking techniques and an eye for a good camera angle. He has spent his life pushing the extremes; somehow, he's still around to tell the tale.
In this unflinching memoir of mayhem, Danny shares his anarchic childhood on the Isle of Skye and early days as a street trials rider, takes us behind the scenes of his training and videos, shares never-seen-before sketches from his personal notebook, and reveals what it takes to go the next level - both mentally and physically.
Join Danny for a nerve-shredding ride. Just be sure to bring a crash helmet.
'I have success, money, women. I've been lionised by the public and the media. The world is at my feet. I've spread my wings and here I am, soaring above everything and everyone. But in reality, the descent has already begun.'
Thomas Dekker was set to become one of pro cycling’s superstars. He represented the Netherlands at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and won the Tirreno–Adriatico in 2006, followed by the Tour de Romandie in 2007. But before long, he found himself buckling under the pressure to perform and sucked in by the lure of hedonistic highs. Now, after years of leading a double life, Dekker exposes the truth.
In The Descent, Dekker tells his shocking story of hotel room blood bags, shady rendezvous with dealers, partying with prostitutes at the Tour de France and the consequences of prolific EPO use. This is Dekker’s journey from youthful idealism to a sordid path of excess and doping that lays bare pro-cycling’s darkest secrets like never before. It is the story from a man who has nothing left to lose.
Full of adventure, mishaps and audacious attempts at cheating, the first Tour de France in 1903 was a colourful affair. Its riders included characters like Maurice Garin, an Italian-born Frenchman, said to have been swapped for a round of cheese by his parents in order to smuggle him into France to clean chimneys as a teenager, Hippolyte Aucouturier with his trademark handlebar moustache, and amateurs like Jean Dargassies, a blacksmith who had never raced before.
Dreamed up to revive struggling newspaper L'Auto, cyclists of the time were wary of this 'heroic' race on roads more suited to hooves than wheels, riding hefty fixed-gear bikes for three full weeks. 'With a few francs you could win 3,000', the paper declared in desperation, eventually attracting a field comprising a handful of the era's professional racers and, among other hopefuls, a butcher, painter and decorator, and a circus acrobat.
Would this ramshackle pack of cyclists draw crowds to throng France's rutted roads and cheer the first Tour heroes? Surprisingly it did, and, all thanks to a marketing ruse, cycling would never be the same again. Peter Cossins takes us through the inaugural Tour de France, painting a nuanced portrait of France in the early 1900s, to see where the greatest sporting event of all began.
Chris Boardman is the 2017 winner of the Cross Sports Cycling Book of the Year for his autobiography Triumphs and Turbulence.
‘The true inspiration was that Olympic gold won by Chris Boardman in Barcelona… I was so in awe of Chris Boardman’ Sir Bradley Wiggins
You may know him as the much-loved co-presenter of ITV’s Tour de France coverage or enjoyed his BBC Olympic coverage, but beyond the easy charm Chris Boardman is one of our greatest, most inspiring cyclists.
Boardman’s lone achievements in the 80s and 90s – Olympic track gold, the world hour record, repeatedly claiming the yellow jersey in the Tour de France – were the spark that started the modern era for British cycling. His endeavours both on and off the bike have made him the founding father of current golden generation – without him there would simply be no Hoy, Wiggins or Cavendish.
It is a story full of intrigue: from Olympic success, to the famous duels with Graeme Obree and the insanity of the Tour de France. Chris became a legend for his combination of physical ability and technical preparation, almost single-handedly taking British cycling from wool shirts and cloth caps into the era of marginal gains. Indeed, after his career on the bike ended, a new chapter began as the backroom genius behind GB cycling. As head of the R&D team known as The Secret Squirrel Club, Chris has been responsible for the technical innovations that made the difference in 2012 and developed Boardman Bikes, which has become the country's bestselling premium bike range.
Why do road cyclists go to the mountains?
After all, cycling up a mountain is hard – so hard that, to many non-cyclists, it can seem absurd. But, for some, climbing a mountain gracefully (and beating your competitors up the slope) represents the pinnacle of cycling achievement. The mountains are where legends are forged and cycling’s greats make their names.
Many books tell you where the mountains are, or how long and how high. None of them ask ‘Why?’
Why are Europe’s mountain ranges professional cycling’s Wembley Stadium or its Colosseum? Why do amateurs also make a pilgrimage to these high, remote roads and what do we see and feel when we do?
Why are the roads there in the first place?
Higher Calling explores the central place of mountains in the folklore of road cycling. Blending adventure and travel writing with the rich narrative of pro racing, Max Leonard takes the reader from the battles that created the Alpine roads to the shepherds tending their flocks on the peaks, and to a Grand Tour climax on the ‘highest road in Europe’. And he tells stories of courage and sacrifice, war and love, obsession and elephants along the way.
Miguel Indurain is Spain’s greatest cyclist of all time and one of the best Tour racers in history. He is the only bike rider to have won five successive Tours de France, as well as holding the title for the youngest ever race leader in the Tour of Spain. This is his story.
As the all-conquering hero of the 90s, Indurain steadfastly refused to be overwhelmed by fame; remaining humble, shy and true to his country roots. Along with his superhuman calmness, iron will-power and superb bike handling skills, he was often described as a machine. Yet 1996 saw Indurain, the Tour’s greatest ever champion, spectacularly plummet, bringing his career and supremacy to an abrupt end.
In Indurain, Alasdair Fotheringham gets to the heart of this enigmatic character, reliving his historic accomplishments in vibrant colour, and exploring how this shaped the direction taken by generations of Spanish racers - raising Spanish sport to a whole new level.
…The helicopter is hanging above our heads. A woman with a child waves up to the family watching at home. Motorcycles tear past, sirens wailing. And here they come, the riders. Like a vast chameleon the peloton continually changes shape and colour. Four hundred tyres sing to us. Music for a Sunday afternoon.
Here they come. Here they are. There they go. It’s all over, consigned to the past once more.
We can still see the mud-spattered backside of a straggler, sitting crooked on his bike after a fall. The skin of his elbow has been grazed raw, the dirt of the Tour ground into the wound. But he must go on. The Tour waits for no man…
Wilfried de Jong is a star of Dutch sports writing and broadcasting. In this award-winning collection of cycling tales, his comic, melancholic, existential charm unlocks a sport that involves so much pain, punishment, isolation and a high probability of failure. Liberating and inspiring, Wilfried ponders life, love and death on his trusted bike, chasing the essence of our existence against the backdrop of major cycling events or while roaming alone in nature.
Whether he is describing being ejected from Paris-Roubaix, a terminal incident with a bird while out riding, painting the drama that unfolds in a forgotten café as they wait for the Tour to pass, or explaining why he is standing stark naked on Belgian cobbles with a tyre in his hand in the morning mist, he always uncovers the true soul of cycling – why we do it, why we watch it, why we hate it, why we love it – stripped bare.
A revolution on the roads is approaching. Is it time for drivers to Give Way? Guardian news correspondent, Peter Walker, takes us on a journey around the world, exploring the varying attitudes to cycling on our highways.
Visit the shining examples of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where cycling culture is an intrinsic part of the approach of politicians and officials. How have these cities made provision for cyclists and what are the extraordinary benefits?
And then take to the less welcoming roads of Britain, USA and Australia, where cycling can still be a terrifying experience. What are the tragic mistakes being made when planning and developing cities, and how do these mistakes lead to aggression towards the cycling community?
Millions of us find ourselves frustrated by the motor mentality and fighting for our rights to ride. This brilliant, shocking investigation will prepare you with all you need to know to confidently claim your place on the road.
SHORTLISTED FOR ADVENTURE TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR
In the spring of 2015, Mark Beaumont set out from the bustling heart of Cairo on his latest world record attempt - solo, the length of Africa, intending to ride to Cape Town in under 50 days. Seven years since he smashed the world record for cycling round the world, this would be his toughest trip yet. And he would set a new mark that would simply break the limits of endurance.
Despite illness, mechanical faults, attempted robbery and stone-throwing children, as well as dehydration in the deserts and unprecedented levels of exhaustion, Mark completed the journey in just 41 days, 10 hours and 22 minutes, after cycling 6,762 miles, spending 439 hours in the saddle (sometimes up to 16 hours a day) and climbing 190,355 feet through 8 countries. It was an astonishing journey, and one that will fascinate and grip the reader.
From the obvious dangers of Egypt, Sudan and Kenya, over the unpaved, muddy, mountainous roads of Ethiopia, through the beautiful grasslands of Tanzania and Zambia, to riding at night in Botswana in the company of elephants and giraffes, Mark brings Africa to life in all its complex glory, friendship and curiosity, while inspiring us all to question the bounds of what is possible.