Editor's Choice: Cycling Books

Whether you're looking for a last-minute gift for a cycling partner or friend, or simply wanting to find a good read for the holiday period, here's some suggestions of books that have caught our eye over the last few months... 


STOP PRESS - Fred the Magic Bicycle £5
LCC staffer, Tom Bogdanowicz,  reminds us not to forget his charming and beautifully illustrated children's book, Fred the Magic Bicycle, which you can order for just £5 at the LCC shop.  Children love the book and third of profits go directly to the LCC charity.  Review from CTC here - scroll down.  


Bike! A Tribute to the World's Greatest Cycling Designers
by Richard Moore & Daniel Benson

Spanning over 100 years of the sport, Bike! is an in-depth history of the 49 greatest designers who have shaped the sport of cycling, taking in the world-leading marques like Colnago and Trek, alongside boutique builders like Pegoretti. The book also finds room for the quirks and eccentricities that are part of road racing folklore, like the great Belgian champion Eddy Merckx dismantling his bike completely so that he could count the parts.



The Breakaway
by Nicole Cooke
Simon & Schuster

The frank and outspoken autobiography of one of Britain's greatest ever cyclists. Cooke was the only rider to be both Olympic and World champion in the same year, but as a woman in a male-dominated sport her success gained limited recognition and precious little in financial reward. The Breakaway is a book that will not only inspire all those who read it, but which also asks some serious questions about the way society regards women's sport.



Goggles & Dust
by The Horton Collection

Drawn from one of the world's most impressive collections of cycling artifacts, this book includes 100 photographs from competitive cycling's heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. It celebrates the grit and determination of the riders who pioneered the sport, establishing the records, traditions and distinct flavours of Europe's most hallowed races. It's very probably the best selection of vintage images we've seen in print.



Fat-tire Flyer
by Charlie Kelly

A must-read for all fans of mountain biking. Penned by Charlie Kelly – one of the original 'Repack' racers and co-founder of the first 'MountainBikes' company – it looks at the birth of this 'new' sport in the 1970s in Marin County, California and its evolution from a simple dirt race amongst friends to a huge global industry. Brilliant images of both the 'founding fathers' and their home-made 'clunkers'. 



The Complete Book of the Tour de France
by Feargal McKay

Thinking of entering Mastermind and having the Tour de France as your specialist subject? Then this is the book for you - and other stat-obsessed nutters. This hefty softback brings together every statistical record, every key moment, every stage and edition winner, and every jersey ever won – it's a complete record since the founding race with everything a diehard fan could possibly want included. 



The Race to Truth
by Emma O'Reilly
Bantam Press

O'Reilly was Lance Armstrong's personal soigneur, the only woman on the US Postal team in the 1990s, who unwittingly became a central figure in what was to become the biggest doping scandal in sporting history. She became a whistleblower on that doping culture but found herself isolated and shunned by the sport she loved, with her reputation systematically destroyed by Armstrong and his cronies in the most disgusting of manners. This is a memoir of truth and its many consequences.



Great British Cycling
by Ellis Bacon

This is the first single-volume history of road racing in Britain and covers its earliest origins right up to the recent back-to-back Tour de France triumphs. It takes you from cycling clubs and iconic framebuilders to a post-war explosion in participation inspired by the likes of Brian Robinson, Tommy Simpson, Barry Hoban and Beryl Burton. There's a lengthy chat with Chris Boardman about his 'Secret Squirrel Club' and an inside look at Britain's first 'trade team' which competed at the 1987 Tour. 



1) The World of Elsie & Cycletoons
2) A Day in the Life of AW Cycles, Merton 

Here's two self-published books by long-standing LCC member Hugh Morgan. The first is a compendium of his cartoons, or Cycletoons, which appeared in London Cyclist from 1994 until 2006. The earlier illustrations centred on infrastructure comment and the development of the London Cycle Network, before focusing on a distinct image for each of London's 33 boroughs. Elsie (as in 'LC') then appeared from 2002 onwards, offering satirical comment on the cycling provision in the capital. It's great to see them all together in one place and they chart the progress of LCC's campaigning work over the last couple of decades.

The second book is a photo-led history of Merton bike shop, AW Cycles, and pays tribute to an independent store that has spanned the whole bicycling era in premises that have changed little since post-war times. Lovely old photos are supplemented by recent images taken by Hugh and Matt Morgan, while text is supplied by another Merton CC stalwart Ceridwen Davies.  

For more info on either book, or to order a copy, please contact the author directly on hughmorgan100@hotmail.com

cycletoons  awcycles


Cycling: Let's Get Quizzical
by Gwion Prydderch

Part quiz book, part puzzle book and part spot-the-difference challenge, this is one of those dip-in-dip-out books you find near the counter in bookshops and coffee shops. It's fun and not just for bike nerds, so the whole family can try their luck.