Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Oh, THAT Tour!” by Paul Jesson

Paul Jesson has recently finished his autobiography; ‘Oh, THAT Tour!’, the title coming from his introduction to the pro ranks. The book isn’t a conventionally structured tome, starting with a short chapter about the Paralympics time trial/road race bronze medal he came back and won in Athens some 24 years after his Vuelta stage win...

“Wheels of Steele” by Steele Bishop

I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Steele Bishop back in 2017, at which time he told me he was writing a book about his career: ‘Wheels of Steel.’ The book takes us from his first tentative rides right up to the current day by way of his amateur and pro careers and goes into the fascinating ‘small print’ of his three big bids for the Worlds, culminating in his Zurich success.

Book Review: “I Like Alf” by Paul Jones

Paul Jones had the rather splendid idea of writing a book about the man who was British Junior Road Race Champion, British Kilometre Champion, twice British Team Pursuit Champion, six times British 25 Mile Time Trial Champion and who unearthed the Holy Grail of time testing - the 30 miles per hour 25 mile time trial ride; stopping the clock in 49 minutes and 24 seconds in August 1978; Alf Engers.

“Coppi” by Herbie Sykes

With Xmas rapidly approaching I was recently emailed to ask if I’d like to receive a Hinault, Kuiper, Lemond or Coppi fine bone china mug as a gift. They were all really nice but there’s something magical about that gorgeous Bianchi ‘celeste’ colour, so that’s what I’ll be drinking my Xmas coffee from – maybe with a shot of grappa in there.

Marco Pinotti – “The Cycling Professor”, This is His Story

Italian professional Marco Pinotti's new book, "The Cycling Professor" isn't so much a classic biography as a collection of anecdotes and experiences.

Book Review – “World’s Ultimate Cycling Races”

The new book by respected cycling journalist Ellis Bacon may help - the "World's Ultimate Cycling Races" is an eclectic mix of facts and stats about events all over the globe, from Pro level races such as the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana to MTB races, Gran Fondos and Sportives that anyone can take part in.

Joe Parkin – “Come and Gone”

Joe Parkin - "Come and Gone" chronicles the rebirth of pro bike racing in America, it's his sequel to the highly praised memoir, "A Dog in a Hat".

“The Autobiography” by Chris Hoy

As the first Briton to win 3 Olympic golds at the same Games since 1908, Scotland's Chris Hoy has become a beacon for British sporting achievement. This autobiography charts his life from 7-year-old BMX fanatic, supported by a devoted dad and local cycling club, through paralysing self-doubt and a major career overhaul, to the sport's holy grail.

“Boy Racer” by Mark Cavendish

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” by Joe Parkin

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 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.

“The Flying Scotsman” by Graeme Obree-Putting the Record Straight

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” by Tim Moore

"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

"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

"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.

“A Peiper’s Tale” by Allan Peiper

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.

Bernie Nolan and the Legend of the Kazemaatenstraat

The Kazemaatenstraat is part of 70's cycling legend, a condemned cul-de-sac in Ghent where penniless 'Anglo' cyclists could have a cheap roof over their heads as they pursued their (mostly lost) cause to make it big and become a ‘Kermis King.’ Manchester's Bernie Nolan was one of those riders and has kindly agreed to share a few reminiscences with us...