PEZ Bookshelf: Top Ten Best Reads of 2018
PEZ Bookshelf Top Ten: From the near fifty book reviews we posted on PEZ in 2018 we’ve collated the numbers and come up with the ‘Top Ten’ most popular book appraisals. And what a mixed bag we have, from the gods of cycling through training, doping, climbing and adventure cycling. Here are our Top Ten most read reviews of 2018.
1. “The Hardmen: Legends and Lessons from the Cycling Gods” by the Velominati
German author Hermann Hesse once wrote to the effect that love does not exist to make us happy but to measure how much we can suffer. And for those of us who love cycling it is pretty clear that the ability to suffer is a really, really important thing. From those early days of heavy boneshakers to riding unpaved passes in the Alps to endurance races that cross continents and even circle the world, great cyclists are noted for their toughness and “The Hardmen,” by the editors of the Velominati website, is a book that applauds the toughest of the tough in the peloton.
“The Hardmen: Legends and Lessons from the Cycling Gods” by the Velominati
235 pp., hardcover, black-and-white illustrations
Pegasus Books, New York, 2017
Suggested price: US$27.95
• Buy it at AMAZON.com here
2.“The Shattered Peloton: The Devastating Impact of World War I on the Tour de France”By Graham Healy
November 11 marks the end of World War I, the “War To End All Wars,” as it turned out to be inaccurately described. Throughout the world ceremonies will take place to note the end of that conflict 100 years ago, but also to remember those who died in other wars, both those serving their countries and civilians who lost their lives or suffered through the trauma.
The world of cycling was not untouched by geopolitics. In July 1942, French police, acting under the German occupying forces’ orders, used the Velodrome d’Hiver as a holding ground for French Jews prior to their transport to Auschwitz. The Tour de France was taken over after World War II by publisher Émilien Amaury, who served in the Resistance and whose Amaury Sport Organization continues to run the race to this day.
The Shattered Peloton: The Devastating Impact of World War I on the Tour de France By Graham Healy
221 pp., ill., paperback
Breakaway Books, 2014
Suggested price: US$14.95
• Check prices at AMAZON.COM
3.“To Make Riders Faster” by Anna Dopico, with an Afterword by Phil White
Books related to cycling can take many forms—a racer’s biography; an account of the Tour de France; training tips; accounts of epic journeys; custom bicycles—but the story of the bicycle as the subject of an actual business enterprise is fairly rare. We have fine coffee-table books on the histories of Peugeot, Bianchi, Raleigh and Opel but a recent book gives an insider’s account of the rapid rise and fate of Canadian brand Cervélo, history writ recent.
“To Make Riders Faster” by Anna Dopico, with an Afterword by Phil White
256 pp., illus, hardcover
2018, A.Dopico Consulting Inc., Toronto.
Photos supplied by publisher.
• The book is currently only available online at: https://tomakeridersfaster.com/ for C$70.00 (a percentage of net proceeds support CAN Fun, a non-profit supporting Canadian athletes).
4.“My Hour” by Sir Bradley Wiggins
One of the great milestones of cycling has been the Hour Record, first set officially in 1893 by Henri Desgrange (yes, the same Henri who later founded the Tour de France) when he covered 35.325 kms at the Buffalo Velodrome in Paris. Desgrange admitted he was not particularly fast but wanted to set a mark to encourage others. And over the years there were many who took up the challenge, including Tour de France winners Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain. (Lucien Petit-Breton set his Hour Record two years before winning the 1907 Tour). Sir Bradley Wiggins was the most recent to join this select club and his book, “My Hour,” is perhaps the first detailed account to describe what it takes to set the record, a ride so hard that Eddy Merckx felt it shortened his career.
“My Hour” by Sir Bradley Wiggins, with an introduction by Chris Boardman
176 pp., hardcover, profusely illustrated
Yellow Jersey Press, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: £20.00/C$42.95.
• BUY IT from AMAZON HERE.
5. “Climb!” by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Bicycling
We have shelves full of books about the great climbs of the world, and other shelves groaning under the weight of tomes about effective training but, oddly, one cannot recall a book specifically devoted to the art and practice of going uphill (with some descending too). But now “Bicycling” magazine’s Fit Chick, Selene Yeager, has nicely filled that gap with her new book, “Climb!”, which indeed deserves the exclamation mark.
Selene Yeager…. Climb!
“Climb!” by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Bicycling
194 pp., some illustrations, softbound
Hearst Magazines, Inc., 2018
Suggested Price: US$19.99
• Buy it on AMAZON here
6.“The Wind at My Back: A Cycling Life” by Paul Maunder
Albert Einstein is reputed to have remarked that all of his best ideas came to him while riding his bicycle. For many of us, a bike ride is the opportunity to escape from everyday life. We can think about things undisturbed or just concentrate on the ride itself. For Paul Maunder, the author of “The Wind at My Back”, cycling is a chord that is strummed through the passages of his life, blending exertion, landscape and philosophy.
“The Wind at My Back: A Cycling Life” by Paul Maunder
266 pp., hardbound
Bloomsbury Sport, London, 2018
Suggested retail price: US$24.00/C$32.00
• You can order ‘The Wind at My Back: A Cycling Life’ from AMAZON.
7. “Into the Suffersphere: Cycling and the Art of Pain” by Jon Malnick
It is an apparent given that cycling requires not so much talent as an ability to suffer. Greg Lemond said that: “It never gets easier. You just get faster.” Expat Brit Jon Malnick’s new book called Into the Suffersphere – Cycling and the art of Pain, is a peculiar and engaging examination of the relationship between pain and suffering, and riding your bicycle.
“Into the Suffersphere: Cycling and the Art of Pain” by Jon Malnick
207 pp., hardbound, no illustrations at all—none.
The Crowood Press Ltd., UK, 2016
Suggested retail price: US$ 36.95/GBP 17.99/C$49.95, but you can find it cheaper online!
Copies for the USA/Canada can be obtained from our USA distributors www.ipgbook.com.
Copies for the UK can be obtained from Crowood www.crowood.com.
8. “Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports” by Mark Johnson
Four time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is at the centre of yet another pro cycling doping story with the Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of a sample taken during the Vuelta a España in September 2017. The recent book, “Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports,” by Mark Johnson, is a useful review of how in the last four decades we have been confronted with an ambiguous and often hypocritical view of drug use in sports and in society in general. Well-researched, it is a good source to park one’s misconceptions and consider the greater problems here.
“Spitting in the Soup: Inside the Dirty Game of Doping in Sports” by Mark Johnson
416 pp., hardcover
VeloPress, Boulder Colorado, 2016
Suggested Price: US$24.95
For more information: https://www.velopress.com/books/spitting-in-the-soup/
• Buy it at AMAZON.com here
# If you want a different viewpoint on ‘Spitting in the Soup’ check-out Dr. Stephen Cheung’s review from 2017. #
9. “The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail” by Tim Moore
The world is a big place and travel writers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and styles. There are niches in travel: the luxury tour; the gourmet trip; the historical adventure. Tim Moore has identified a unique specialty: the highly personal memoirs focused on a badly-prepared trip by a gormless Brit lacking even basic diplomatic skills and involving extreme physical discomfort and some degree of humiliation. The third in his epic trilogy of terrible bicycle trips is “The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail.”
“The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail” by Tim Moore
352 pages, paperback, with occasional small black-and-white photos
Yellow Jersey Press, London, 2016
Available online in hardcover as well as paperback; published in the United States by Pegasus Books.
10. “The Wrong Side of Comfortable: Chase your dream. Discover your potential. Transform your life.” By Amy Charity
The cover of The Wrong Side of Comfortable by Amy Charity – featuring the author in her Optum Pro Team (now Rally Cycling) kit astride her Diamondback – would lead you to believe it’s a book about bike racing. It is, but it’s not exclusively about bike racing or just for cyclists. As Charity says: “This book captures the key lessons of my journey from cycling as a hobby to racing on a professional cycling team. The principles can be applied to anyone who has a dream and is willing to take a risk and spend time on the wrong side of comfortable.”
“The Wrong Side of Comfortable: Chase your dream. Discover your potential. Transform your life.” By Amy Charity
212 pages, Grit Publishing, 2017
Amy Charity website: https://www.amymcharity.com