Boy Racer steps behind the scenes of the Tour de France. It unmasks the exotic, contradictory, hysterical and brutal world of professional cycling from the compellingly candid viewpoint of someone right in the thick of it.
A Dog in a Hat is the remarkable story of Joe Parkin. In 1987, Parkin left the comforts of home to become a bike racer in Belgium, the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer.
"The Escape Artist" by Matt Seaton, the critically acclaimed memoir about his obsession for cycling and how that obsession was tamed. For a time there were four bikes in Matt Seaton's life. His evenings were spent 'doing the miles' on the roads out of south London and into the hills of the North Downs and Kent Weald.
Let me first say this is firstly a review of the Graeme Obree autobiography, the book - not the film - "The Flying Scotsman", and also my version of the events at the world cycling championships in Sicily in 1994. I was the Great Britain team mechanic for those championships, but Mr. Obree didn't remember to mention this fact in his book. You could call this the bitter out-pouring of a man scorned, but rather it's just my memory of what happened.
"French Revolutions" Tim Moore. Not only is it the world's largest and most watched sporting event, but also the most fearsome physical challenge ever conceived by man, demanding every last ounce of will and strength, every last drop of blood, sweat, and tears. If ever there was an athletic exploit specifically not for the faint of heart and feeble of limb, this is it. So you might ask, what is Tim Moore doing cycling it?
"Push Yourself Just A Little Bit More" by Johnny Green is an interesting read, mostly because it's a book about the Tour de France, written by someone who isn't a typical cycling journo.
"Man on the Run" by Manuela Ronchi is the story of the last few years of Marco Pantani's life. The title works on two levels: after being slung out of the Giro D'Italia race on the penultimate day on a charge of suspected EPO use, whilst leading by a long way, Marco was hounded by demons - insecurity, shame, confusion, betrayal, distrust - all the way through a terrible cocaine addiction to his demise of an overdose.
This book, Allan Peiper's story, is a little different from the usual sports biography: it's clear that Allan is a sensitive, thoughtful, somewhat spiritual bloke, who spends a lot of time trying to get through life in the best way possible, whilst looking after others (he's currently working as a Team Director for the Lotto - Davitamon Pro cycling team), and usually putting himself further down his priority list than most other folk would.
But we’re pretty sure that no 100 mile time trial champion has ever been on the keirin podium? Enter, that man Kyle Gordon – quality time tester, ever-improving pursuiter and now sprinter. We caught up with the man from Alness just before he jetted off to Australia and a round of the UCI Track World Cup.
A year or two ago I was fortunate enough to interview Steele Bishop, World Professional Pursuit Champion in 1983; and then, earlier this year I reviewed his autobiography, 'Wheels of Steele'. When I saw he was competing at Manchester in the 2019 Veteran’s World Track Championships I resolved to keep an eye out; I knew he wouldn’t be there to make up the numbers.
Craig Grieve is the man at the helm of Spokes Cycles, with branches in St. Andrews and Dundee, and manager of the successful junior Spokes Racing Team through which so much talent has passed. Craig raced ‘back in the day’, paying his dues in Belgium and The Netherlands in those 240 rider, warp-speed criteriums.
Felix English gets embarrassed by the memory but he is one of the few men to beat Chris Hoy in a match sprint -back in 2010, in the 1/16th finals of the European Track Championships and now he’s popped back up as a World Cup winner again; in Glasgow he beat some very tasty opposition to take the scratch race.
If you check the palmares websites, Neah Evans' name first pops up in 2015 – just four years later and she’s performing at world level in ladies track cycling as part of the GB ladies team pursuit squad; with her most recent successes coming in the European Team Pursuit Championships and Glasgow World Cup where her squad took gold on both occasions.
It’s not long since we since we spoke to young Scot, Alfie George who’s making a name for himself on the international junior stage. Another young Scotsman who’s doing the same is Oscar Onley who recently landed himself a ride with French ‘feeder’ team, Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale. Best ‘have a word’ we thought...