Roadie: The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer - Road Cycling UK

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Roadie: The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer

Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs? It’s a question I’ve had to deflect on on many an occasion since confirming my status as a half-serious road cyclist by taking a razor to the fuzz on my legs.

A new book written by veteran race announcer and long-time racing cyclist Jamie Smith hopes to come across answers to this frequent question and surely many others we’ve all heard more than a few times.

In his book, Roadie: The Misunderstood World of a Bike Racer, Smith sets out to explain the sport he loves and the road racers who live for it, and with help from the pen of cartoonist Jef Mallett, Roadie celebrates cycling as it explains the neurotic tendencies of the sport and its lifestyle, from shaved legs and garish jerseys, to garages full of bikes worth more than cars.

Perfect then, for racing cyclists and their confused friends, family, and co-workers. Roadie puts an end to the head scratching and leaves cyclists laughing out loud as they revel in their misunderstood world.

Roadie begins by explaining from a United States perspective the lifestyle of a roadie, or bike racer, through the staples of a roadie’s life: devotion to the sport, the bike, the training ride, nutrition and bonking, and more. Smith moves on to “classroom sessions” about drafting and the breakaway, sprints and temporary alliances, and crashes. He explains the rituals of race day, the referee and race rules, and the tenuous relationship between rider and sponsor. Finally, Roadie explores cycling’s race formats and how friends and family can get involved in their Roadie’s favourite pastime.

Roadie is needed more today than ever as more people take up cycling as riders, racers, and spectators. Cycling has been called “the new golf” and thousands of people are buying shiny new road bikes each year. For these recreational and fitness riders, Roadie offers a much-needed primer on the lingo, the gear, even the politics of a group ride. Pacelines, drafting, sprinting, climbing, and breakaways are turned into everyday commonsense with colorful anecdotes. Roadie is perfect for those who have ever walked away from a bike race completely puzzled, explaining strategy for each race format and how best to watch the action from roadside. Roadie brings the excitement of bike racing alive for anyone with an appetite for adrenaline.

Author Jamie Smith has been a bike racer since 1983 and a bike race announcer since 1985, working his way up through the ranks of amateur cycling and traveling with some of the world’s greatest cyclists. When he’s not on his bike, Jamie Smith is a public information officer and photographer for the City of Rochester Hills in Michigan.

Roadie is now available now for £14.99 at good bookshops or direct from


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