Australia, once deemed primarily suitable as a dumping-off place for convicts, is in fact a stunningly beautiful land. Its wild countryside has attracted explorers and adventurers, but cycling around it takes a special dedication. Some of the brave and/or eccentric souls who did are the subjects of a new book by Daniel Oakman, “Wild Ride.”
Book Review: As the 2020 Tour winds up the first week, Leslie Reissner takes a trip down Memory Lane and journeys the Tour de France routes of the past. Mapping le Tour by Ellis Bacon maps the journey taken from the first Tour to 2014 when the French race hit the roads of Yorkshire.
The Covid-19 delayed 2020 Tour de France has eventually started and we all hope it will go all the way to Paris in three weeks time, but at least we have racing to watch. To go along with what we will see on the TV, Rapha have put together a collection of Tour maps covering each year from 1903 until 2018.
Italian book “Bicycles: Past, Present and Future” by Roberto Gurian, with graphic design by Maria Cucchi, has been translated by Robert Bethel into English, but marvelous bike photos speak in all languages. PEZ literary editor, Leslie Reissner, gives us his thoughts on this wonderful bike book.
There is an old joke that the only famous Belgians anyone can name are Hercule Poirot and Tintin and both are fictitious but not only has Belgium produced celebrated cyclists, but it has given us the best one of all: Edouard Louis Joseph Merckx. “Merckx 525” is a particularly good book published by Velopress nearly a decade ago that gives us his accomplishments in visual form and is well worth seeking out.
Ah, mountains! Perhaps they share only with the sea something that universally arouses us to flights of poetry and fancy. “Higher Calling” is a book by Max Leonard that endeavours to explain this attraction to “up.” Beautifully written and multi-faceted, it elegantly ranges from the personal to the historical to the geographic and even to the macabre.
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.” Now expat Brit Jon Malnick has written a droll and novel book about the relationship between pain and suffering, and riding your bicycle called Into the Suffersphere - Cycling and the art of Pain is a peculiar and engaging read.
2017 marked the 200th anniversary of Baron Drais's ride around Mannheim on his Laufmaschine, generally held to be the predecessor of our carbon-framed, electronically-shifted disc-braked wonder bicycles. From then to now, with its detours, fashion victims, and astringent personalities, is the subject of well-known British author Michael Hutchinson's book.
January 13th would have been Marco Pantani's 50th birthday: Don't be misled by the title of this excellent book. “Pantana Was A God” is not a panegyric, a worshipful recounting of the life of the last pro cyclist to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same year. It is two books in one - a masterful look at when Pantani triumphed, and brief remembrances by those who knew him.