A List Of The Best Cycling Books On The Market

Reading about your favorite sport can be another way to connect with others who have a shared passion for cycling. It allows you to be transported back in history, ride next to a record-breaking athlete, or hear an inspiring message from a world-class coach in the locker room. Books allow you to learn tips or gain motivation from those who have made their living cycling. 

Out of the hundreds of cycling books in the world, here are just a couple of recommendations. Whether you’re looking for pure inspiration or a how-to guide, there is a book out there for you. 

Inspirational

Where There’s A Will, by Emily Chappel

In 2015 Emily Chappell embarked on a formidable new bike race: The Transcontinental. 4,000km across Europe, unassisted, in the shortest time possible. On her first attempt, she made it only halfway, waking up suddenly on her back in a field, floored by the physical and mental exertion. A year later she entered the race again — and won.

Where There’s a Will takes us into Emily Chappell’s race, grinding up mountain passes and charging down the other side; snatching 20 minutes’ sleep on the outskirts of a village before jumping back on the bike to surge ahead for another day; feeding in bursts and navigating on the go. We experience the crippling self-doubt of the ultra-distance racer, the confusing intensity of winning, and the desperation of losing a dear friend who understood all of this.

The Comeback, by Daniel de Visé

A true American hero, Greg LeMond’s career was punctuated by dramatic fame, devastation, and ultimately redemption. In July 1986, LeMond stunned the sporting world by becoming the first American to win the Tour de France, the world’s preeminent bicycle race, defeating French cycling legend Bernard Hinault. Nine months later, LeMond lay in a hospital bed, his life in peril after a hunting accident, his career as a bicycle racer seemingly over. 

And yet, barely two years after this crisis, LeMond mounted a comeback almost without parallel in professional sports, again winning the 1989 Tour — arguably the world’s most grueling athletic contest — by the almost impossibly narrow margin of eight seconds over another French legend, Laurent Fignon. It remains the closest Tour de France in history. 

From the heights of global fame, LeMond would then crash during a calamitous confrontation with Lance Armstrong over allegations the latter was doping. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Daniel de Visé reveals the dramatic, ultra-competitive inner world of a sport rarely glimpsed up close, and builds a compelling case for LeMond as its great American hero.

For Athletes

The Cyclist’s Training Bible, by Joe Friel 

The Cyclist’s Training Bible is the best-selling and most comprehensive guide for aspiring and experienced cyclists. Joe Friel is the most trusted coach in the world and his proven cycling training program has helped hundreds of thousands find success in the sport. Joe has completely rewritten this new fifth edition of The Cyclist’s Training Bible to incorporate new training principles and help athletes train smarter than ever. The Cyclist’s Training Bible equips cyclists of all abilities with every detail they must consider when planning a season, lining up a week of workouts, or preparing for race day.

Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World’s Fastest Cyclists, by Michael Hutchinson

For professional cyclists, going faster and winning are, of course, closely related. Yet surprisingly, for many, a desire to go faster is much more important than a desire to win. Someone who wants to go faster will work at the details and take small steps rather than focusing on winning. Winning just happens when you do everything right – it’s the doing everything right that’s hard. And that’s what fascinates and obsesses Michael Hutchinson. 

With his usual deadpan delivery and an awareness that it’s all mildly preposterous, Hutchinson looks at the things that make you faster – training, nutrition, the right psychology – and explains how they work, and how what we know about them changes all the time. He looks at the things that make you slower, and why, and how attempts to avoid them can result in serious athletes gradually painting themselves into the most peculiar life-style corners.

Outside The Bike

The Cycling Jersey: Craftsmanship, Speed and Style, by Oliver Knight

Aside from the bikes themselves, the jersey — maillot or maglia — has become the most iconic symbol of cycling’s history, its proud teams and preeminent riders, and most recently its fashion. There is a booming collectors market for vintage jerseys, and the finest quality traditional and retro manufacturers including De Marchi, Castelli, and Rapha are registering huge increases in sales. Sir Paul Smith features jerseys in his collections and designs them for the Grand Tours. 

In this beautifully photographed, handsome new volume, Oliver Knight traces the development of the jersey from the days long before Lycra as function fused with sponsors’ requirements to peddle their brands. He goes behind-the-scenes at the manufacturers and tells stories of the garments’ design and slow evolution and the processes of manufacture. He celebrates the iconic tour jerseys and the magical rainbow stripes of the world champions. He interviews former and current pros and uncovers inspirations and obsessions of some of the world’s greatest cycling collectors, riders, historians, and key figures from the worlds of design and fashion.

The Cycling Mind, by Ruth Anderson

The Cycling Mind is an expert guide to developing the elite mindset needed for peak performance – both on and off the bike. Written by leading sports psychologist Ruth Anderson, who has worked with globally renowned Olympic and world champion cyclists, this book will teach you everything about the psychology strategies used in elite competition. You’ll discover the techniques top athletes use to excel: from race preparation to harnessing performance anxiety, and from how to recover from a win (as well as a loss!), to how to build an effective support team.


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