10 December: The ridden word

Flickr CC: Ross G. Strachan

10 December: The ridden word

Nothing says Merry Christmas to the cyclists in your life than a book celebrating the peculiarities of their passion. We’ve selected some of our favourites below, and one lucky reader has the chance to ride off with the a copy.

In the second part of Cycling UK’s bookish recommendations for Christmas, we’ve steered clear of cycling guides and headed towards the abundant literature available.

Cycling UK staff have selected some of their favourites from across the genre, from Dervla Murphy’s inspirational Full Tilt to Tim Moore’s mad cap adventures in Gironimo! there should be something for everyone in the below five books.

If you fancy a chance of winning one enter our competition to choose your favourite. The draw will be next Tuesday 15 December.

 

Reviews

Full Tilt: Ireland to India - Dervla Murphy £12.99

I first read this book many years ago when I was contemplating my first solo cycling expedition. The fact the book is still in print so many years later is testament to Dervla Murphy’s skill as a writer and her fascinating tales of epic adventure. ‘Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle’ is the story of her first such journey in 1963. Amazingly, the trip, which took her through Europe to India via Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was undertaken during one of the coldest winters on record. And if that was not tough enough, Murphy was also pedalling a heavy, single speed bicycle, which she nicknamed Roz. This book proves that you don’t need expensive equipment or to wait for perfect conditions to undertake incredible cycle tours – you just need to get off the sofa and go! One to curl up by the fireside with this Christmas and dream...

Julie Rand, Member Group Coordinator/CycleClips Editor

Field of Fire: The Tour de France of '87 and the Rise and Fall of ANC-Halfords - Jeff Connors £11.99

If you’ve ever considered what it would be like for you and your mates to ride the Tour de France then snuggle up and read with both amusement and schadenfreude the hapless antics of the 1987 ANC team. At the sharp end of the peleton this tour will be better remembered as the tour won by Ireland’s Stephen Roche and breathless commentary by Cycling UK alumni Phil Liggett. At the back end of the race however were a team of ‘amateurs’ mismanaged by ex-taxi driver Tony Capper who struggled to make the time limits – ill equipped with the right bikes, experience and ultimately wages to pay the team; only two of the nine made it to Paris. Field of Fire is the follow up to Connor’s original story of ANC in Wide-Eyed and Legless. He revisits the key protagonists of to see if the ’87 tour made or broke them and unearths a whole host of rookie mistakes and tour misdemeanours.

Matt Malinder, Membership Director 

Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy – Tim Moore £8.99

Tim Moore rebuilds a century-old Hirondelle, dons period clobber and rides the route of the notorious 1914 Giro d’Italia – the toughest cycling race in history. Of the 81 starters only eight finished, braving appalling weather, awful roads, endless hills and occasional sabotage (not to mention plenty of vino rosso), to cover 1,965 miles in just eight days. Cycling with wooden wheels, no gears and wine corks for brakes, the author takes a while longer. His hugely entertaining account, told with a mixture of wit and wonderment, is an affectionate tribute to those heroes of 101 years ago – not to mention a great cycling travelogue of an Italy few tourists see.

Tony Upfold, Communications and Media Officer

Cyclepedia: a tour of iconic bicycle designs – Michael Embaucher and Paul Smith £19.95

Classic coffee table fodder, Cyclepedia charts the humble bicycle through its varying iterations over the last 90 years with luscious images of familiar and unfamiliar steeds. Looking through it, I was always hoping that one of my bicycles would have made the grade, but alas I don’t have quite the same discerning eye as the authors! Just be aware reading it around non-cycling chums who might be put off by your exclamations of interest and excitement.

Sam Jones, Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

 

The Wheels of Chance - HG Wells Free online

Who says you need to pay for quality? Now outside of copyright, HG Wells’ classic tale of misadventure and romance on two wheels follows London based draper Hoopdriver as he ventures forth on a cycling holiday along the South Coast in the machine’s earliest days. It’s classic Edwardian literature, and arguably more amusing and readable than the other great cycling book of the era JK Jerome’s Three Men on the Bummel (also available for free). Hard to gift to others, but worth a download for you!

Sam Jones, Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

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