There have been so many advances not only in the technology of cycling and in our understanding of training approaches and the key benefits of recovery, but also in the importance of nutrition. Today there are valuable resources available to any interested amateur on how to eat well for better performance. “The Cycling Chef” by Michelin-starred chef Alan Murchison is a valuable addition to this literature.
Our bookshelves are groaning with volumes devoted to the Tour de France, the world's preeminent cycling road race. But in 2019 a new book arrived to mark the centennial of the first awarding of the very symbol of the Tour: the Yellow Jersey.
The Pyrenees have often served as a dramatic battlefield for the Tour de France and, starting on July 10, the final week of the 2021 edition will see five stages in these mountains. For cycling enthusiasts the Pyrenees experience is a must-do, and a new book by Peter Cossins provides an insider's look at some great riding.
Author Peter Cossins describes in his history of that first 1903 Tour de France, the inelegantly titled “Butcher, Blacksmith, Acrobat, Sweep,” the original Tour de France, something totally new and untried and flawed in many ways, “should be considered as one of the greatest events in sporting history.”
Sports fans love comparisons. Baseball is famous for its obsession with statistics (“The most successful left-handed pitcher throwing against a Chicago team on a Tuesday evening...”) and certainly all sports have record-holders. Pro cycling defies easy comparison of its stars. Can we figure out who was truly The Greatest of All Time?
Bike racing in 2020 was very strange, things like races with no spectators and Spring Classics in autumn, but the weirdest is the overlapping of the Giro's final week with the Vuelta's first. But in 1981 only three days separated the two races and Giovanni Battaglin, in the new book “48 Days,” tells the astonishing story of how he won both.
Judging from the spate of videos and perhaps related to the explosive growth in interest in gravel riding, endurance riding has become A Thing. One can only be impressed by Mark Beaumont's circumnavigation of the world. Who better to write a book about endurance cycling? But “Endurance,” a fine volume from the Global Cycling Network, is a valuable instruction manual for those seeking to go the distance.
Much of bike racing lore seems to centre around how much participants have to suffer before reaching the finish line, assuming they even make it that far. For sheer awfulness 1919's “Tour of the Battlefields,” one of bike racing's worst ideas, would be hard to top. Almost immediately forgotten, author Tom Isitt brings it back to life in “Riding in the Zone Rouge,” a mixture of history, travelogue and some invention.
In 2000, former US national-level racer Lennard Zinn came out with “Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance”, grease thumbprint-stained copies of this excellent book can be found in many of our workshops. But time marches on and the latest comprehensive guide to road bike maintenance is the third additional to GCN's library.