RCUK's Christmas Gift Guide: Ten cycling books

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RCUK’s Christmas Gift Guide: cycling books

Tired of unwrapping socks at Christmas? RoadCyclingUK’s Christmas Gift Guides will provide you with the inspiration you need to buy a present for the cyclist in your life – or to put on your own wishlist.

Over the next four weeks we’ll bring you a series of guides which will cover every price point, from stocking fillers to a money-no-object dream list, along with gifts for women, casual cycle clothing and, finally, last-minute ideas for the final few days before December 25.

It’s been a bumper year for cycling books, and our hand-picked list includes ten of the best to be published in 2012, from autobiographies to beautiful coffee table books. There are few better times than the Christmas break to get stuck into a good book, so it might as well be about cycling. We have listed the RRP but, as ever, you can get most for less if you shop around. Have we missed one of your favourite cycling books? Make a suggestion on the forum.

My Time – Bradley Wiggins (£20)

My Time isn’t an autobiography as such – that title’s reserved for In Pursuit of Glory, published in 2009 – but instead tells the story of Bradley Wiggins’ career from his departure from Garmin, following his fourth place finish in the Tour de France, to 2012 – a year in which the ‘Kid from Kilburn’ became the first Briton to win the Tour de France, before claiming gold in the London 2012 Olympic time trial.

The book, co-written by Guardian cycling writer William Fotheringham, is an absorbing read for cycling aficionados and newcomers alike, delving into most levels of Wiggins existence – cyclist, team leader, husband, father, son – during the most important years of his life. Read our full review here.

21 Days to Glory – Team Sky (£25)

While My Time offers a warts and all account from the mind of Wiggins, 21 Days to Glory is a journal which tells the story of his Tour de France glory from the team’s perspective.

Illustrated with stunning images from embedded photographer Scott Mitchell, the book includes interviews with key members of the team’s personnel, including Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Dave Brailsford, and commentary from author Sarah Edworthy to provide a behind-the-scenes look at British cycling’s greatest triumph.

Merckx 525 – Frederik Backelandt, Ron Reuman and Stephan Vanfleteren (£42)

There’s no shortage of words written about the greatest cyclist that’s ever lived but Merckx 525, a collaboration between cycling journalists Frederik Backelandt, Ron Reuman and Stephan Vanfleteren, claims to be the first biography authorised by Eddy Merckx himself.

Published this year to celebrate Merckx’s 65th birthday, the book is a journey  through Merckx’s career of 525 race victories, illustrated with a unique collection of exclusive photographs.

Made in England – Matthew Sowter and Ricky Feather (£35)

The framebuilder’s art is enjoying something of a renaissance and Matthew Sowter and Ricky Feather are two names at the forefront of this cottage industry.

Described as a book “by frame builders, about frame builders”, Made in England shares Sowter and Feather’s passion for frame building, with the duo travelling the length and breadth of the country with photographer Kayti Peschke to interview the leading framebuilding artisans, who in turn share their methods, passion, skills and quirks.

Cyclo-cross 2011/2012 – Balint Hamvas (£34.99)

Cyclo-cross 2011/2012 includes more than 200 pages of images from photographer Balint Hamvas’ archive from the 2011/2012 season, documenting the pain and skin of one of cycling’s toughest disciplines.

Hamvas trained his lens on every round of last season’s UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup, the World Championships, and Belgium’s aptly named Superprestige series among others, while accompanying text tells the story of each race.

You can win a copy of Cyclo-cross 2011/2012 in the RCUK photo competition.

Coppi: Inside the Legend of the Campionissimo – Herbie Sykes (£27)

Coppi: Inside the Legend of the Campionissimo is published under the Rouleur label and tells the legend of Fausto Coppi, whose palmares include two Tour de France twice five Giro d’Italia triumph, and who was perhaps the first rider to transcend the sport.

The book harks back to a bygone era, with a stunning collection of hand-picked, never before seen images which immediately draw the eye as you flick through the 320 pages, while testimony from those who knew Coppi help paint an intimate portrait of the man in an attempt to, according to the book’s blurb, “strip away many of the half-truths and downright lies which have been grafted onto his legend over the decades.”

Le Métier 3rd edition: The Seasons of a Professional Cyclist- Michael Barry (£27)

Fans of cycling literature will no doubt be familiar with Michael Barry’s Le Métier; a gritty and often poignant insight into the trials and tribulations of life as one of cycling’s domestiques.

The Canadian’s book, a collaboration with photographer Camille J. McMillan, was first published in December 2010, and this updated third edition includes  includes new photographs from McMillan from the 2012 season, and an eight-page epilogue by Barry as he reflects on the evolution of the peloton, the changing etiquette and respect within the group and its increasingly diverse cultural structure – although those looking for an insight into Barry’s conscious following his implication in the Lance Armstrong scandal will be disappointed.

The Cycling Anthology – Ellis Bacon and Lionel Birnie (£7.99)

The Cycling Anthology describes itself as a collection of original writing by some of the world’s best cycling journalists. Edited by Ellis Bacon and Lionel Birnie, this first volume features 14 well-known contributors, including William Fotheringham, David Millar and Jeremy Whittle.

“You may recognise the names from major newspapers and specialist magazines,” says Birnie. “Between them, they’ve covered hundreds of Tours de France and written dozens of excellent books. Now, their work is showcased together for the first time.”

The Cycling Anthology will build into a collectable series, with volume two, scheduled for publication in May 2013, celebrating the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle (£18.99)

Twelve years after Lance Armstrong’s autobiography, It’s Not About the Bike, won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, the book that went some way to exposing Armstrong has claimed the same prestigious prize.

“This is really special,” said Hamilton after collecting the award on Monday. “I’m really proud of writing this book but not what’s in there. But it’s the truth and the truth needed to be told.”

The book revealed the extent of the Armstrong-led doping programme a month before the United States Anti-Doping Agency published its 1,000-page dossier of evidence against Armstrong. In The Secret Race, Hamilton lays bare the shocking details of cycling’s dirtiest era.

Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs – Simon Warren (£8.99)

Simon Warren’s original book, 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hillsleft riders across the land clamouring to pit themselves against their local climb. Now Warren, a self-confessed climbing addict, returns with this second edition, which features an additional 100 of the country’s toughest ascent.

Just like the first book, the sequel provides a ride-through guide to each ascent, along with a map and fact file, while most have a profile – just so you know what you’re letting yourself in for.

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