Tired of unwrapping socks or a knitted jumper at Christmas? RoadCyclingUK’s 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.
The first in our series is on hand with ten cycling 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.
Here are five new releases from 2011 and five old favourites…
Ride a Stage of the Tour De France: The Legendary Climbs and How to Ride Them (£16.99)
by Kristian Bauer
Tis the season to be jolly and all that but look out the window and the weather is hardly beckoning you out on the bike. So here’s a healthy dose of pedal-powered inspiration from Kristian Bauer.
Bauer’s book is a ‘how to’ guide that covers 40 of the Tour de France’s infamous ascents, including Mont Ventoux, the Col du Galibier and the Col du Tourmalet. Each route is described in detail by the author, who has ridden them all, with key information including how to train, when to go and where to park, as well as maps and elevation profiles.
Mountain High: Europe’s 50 Greatest Cycle Climbs (£20.00)
by Daniel Friebe
So what’s different about Daniel Friebe’s tome on the mountains then? Rather than focussing on how to ride Europe’s famous climbs, Mountain High pays homage to them.
This book is one for the coffee table, with stunning images from cycling photographer Pete Goding. As well as including key details (such as maps, profile, length and height), Friebe describes the scenery, points of interest and how the climb has written its way into cycling folklore through the heroics of the sport’s pro riders.
How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France (£12.99)
by Ned Boulting
By his own admission, ITV presenter Ned Boulting knew nothing about the Tour de France when he started covering the world’s biggest cycling race.
How I Won the Yellow Jumper tells the hilarious tale of Boulting’s journey from bumbling reporter to one of the most recognisable faces in cycling journalism, by way of epic stages, long transfers, run ins with Lance Armstrong, drug scandals and the race to find a launderette on rest days.
Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar (£18.99)
by David Millar
A rarity among sports autobiographies, David Millar wrote Racing Through the Dark himself, delaying the start to his 2011 season while slaving over a typewriter. The result is a brutally honest insight into the life of a young pro with the world of the feet, charting the Scot’s demise into doping and subsequent revival as one of the most respected riders in the peloton.
Millar’s work was rightly shortlisted for the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, eventually won by Robert Reng for A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke.
Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France (£12.99)
by Richard Moore
In 1986, the La Vie Claire team arrived at the Tour de France with two of the favourites – Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond – in its ranks. The French public were desperate for Hinault to win a sixth Tour and overhaul Eddy Merckx and Jacques Anquetil, who both had five wins, while American LeMond was vying for his first victory, promised the support of Hinault after helping him to victory the previous year.
But cycling is rarely that simple, and what unfolded remains one of the greatest battles in the sport’s history. Richard Moore, a respected cycling journalist and the author of In Search of Robert Millar, tells the story aided by in-depth interviews with both riders.
The Rider (£8.99)
by Tim Krabbe
The Rider is a cycling classic. In only 148 pages, Krabbe encapsulates the sport – its suffering and glory – to a tee, following the thoughts of a fictitious racing cyclist as he competes in the Tour de Mont Aigoual.
Beautifully written, the book effortlessly weaves in extracts from cycling’s history alongside the rider’s monologue, and his conversations with others in the peloton.
Boy Racer (£7.99)
by Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish is cycling’s hottest property and, having won the Tour de France green jersey and World Championships in 2011, the Manx Missile has been nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year; so how could we leave him out?
Boy Racer was first published in 2009, so don’t expect any words on his 2010 and 2011 triumphs, but it gives you an invaluable insight into how the boy from the Isle of Man became an international cycling superstar.
100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills (£8.99)
by Simon Warren
A superb stocking filler, Simon Warren’s pocket guide (reviewed here) picks out 100 of Great Britain’s toughest cycling climbs, whether they’re the leg-draining mountain roads of Wales, Scotland and the north of England or the short, sharp ramps of the Surrey Hills.
Each climb is detailed with photographs, a fact file and map, while most have an elevation profile. There’s also a chart at the back to help any reader crazy enough to set about riding all 100 to record their times.
It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life (£8.99)
by Lance Armstrong
Love him or loathe him, Lance Armstrong defined cycling through the past two decades. It’d be impossible to compile a list of recommended cycling books without including the Texan.
It’s Not About the Bike is an inspiring read, following Armstrong’s recovery from cancer, when he was initially given a 40 per cent chance of survival, and subsequent seven Tour de France victories.
It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels (£8.99)
by Robert Penn
Effortlessly following on from Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the Bike, the bicycle takes centre stage in Robert Penn’s book. Having previously cycled 40,000km around the world, Penn set about designing and building his dream bike, via from Stoke-on-Trent, California, Portland, Milan and Coventry.
But this is not just about Penn’s quest to find the perfect bike, but also how this humble machine changed the course of human history and how it remains central to life today.
Have we missed any of your favourite cycling books? Tell us on the forum.