Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeOtherBook Reviews"A Dog in a Hat" by Joe Parkin

“A Dog in a Hat” by Joe Parkin

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A Dog in a Hat
A great read about about what it’s really like not being on a “Plan”.

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.

As one of the first American pros in Europe, Parkin was what the Belgians call “a dog with a hat on” – something familiar, yet decidedly out of place.

Parkin’s memoir reads like a novel. In plainspoken and fast-paced prose, Parkin describes the true life of the professional bike racer, putting the reader into the whirlwind of this hardest of athletic educations.

A Dog in a Hat
begins with Parkin’s terrifying first visit to his team doctor, where he is strapped to a table and monitored by humming electrodes as men in white lab coats coldly divine his future as a pro.

Parkin’s story is very honest. A Dog in a Hat celebrates the glory of bike racing, but Parkin thrillingly tells the hard reality of the life–the drugs, the payoffs, the betrayals by teammates, the battles with team owners for contracts and money, the endless promises that keep you going, and the rider’s sheer physical agony of racing day after day.

Despite the pain, despite the suffering, A Dog in a Hat is a great book. It is one American’s story of his love affair with professional cycling, set in the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer. It is a story not really explored before, and one that you’ll revisit again and again.

You can download the first chapter for free (350kb PDF)

Pick something else from the Bookshelf.

Martin Williamson
Martin is our Editor, Web site Designer and Manager, and concentrates on photography. He's been involved in cycling for over 42 years and has raced for many of them, having a varied career which includes time trials, road and track racing, and triathlons. Martin has been the Scottish 25 Mile TT and 100 Mile TT Champion, the British Points Race League Champion on the track, and was a prolific winner of time trials in his day, particularly hilly ones like the Tour de Trossachs and the Meldons MTT.

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