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.”
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.
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.
Bookshelf: On January 2 every year there is a big event in Castellania, a tiny village in Italy's Piedmont region. This year the morning began with a mass in the little church, there was a special opening of Casa Coppi, and in the afternoon a visit to nearby Novi Ligure and the Museo dei Campionissimi. Because on January 2, 1960, sixty years ago, Fausto Coppi died and a cycling legend began.
Bookshelf Top Ten: The PEZ literary editor, Leslie Reissner, has had a busy 2019 with a book or film review published nearly every Sunday through the year. There has been a lot of top class cycling books this year for Leslie to peruse and so, here is his choice of book reviews from 2019: As he says: "in no particular order since these were all really good:"