Favorite fiction/memoir cycling books?

  • Home
  • Favorite fiction/memoir cycling books?
21 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

I'm always on the lookout for new fiction/memoir cycling books for the non-cycling family vacations. I'd love to hear some new suggestions.


Anonymous's picture
Ron Torok (not verified)

I'd love to hear some old suggestions.

Anonymous's picture
Carol (not verified)

Fiction: Hotel Pastis by Peter Mayle (a subplot of bank thieves planning their escape by bicycle - very funny).

Non-Fiction: Yellow Fever by Jeremy Whittle

Non-Fiction: French Revolutions by Tim Moore

Anonymous's picture
bikesherpa (not verified)
Rough Ride

"Try Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage

Book Description
Growing up in Ireland, Paul Kimmage's boyhood dreams were of cycling glory--wearing the yellow jersey, competing in the Tour de France, becoming a national hero. He spent his teenage years cycling 400 miles a week, and the dedication paid off. He represented his country, finishing sixth in the World Championships; in 1986, he went professional. That's when reality hit. He soon discovered that ""it wasn't about glory and courage, and it wasn't about how much training you put in or how much you wanted to win. It was about grueling defeats, complete and utter exhaustion, and it was about drugs. Not drugs that would necessarily ensure victory, but drugs that would allow you to finish the race and start another day."" Paul Kimmage left the sport to write this book. It is a powerful and outspoken account of drugs in sport as well as a heartbreaking lament. It is a book that anyone interested in any sport should read.

Inside Flap Copy
Winner of the 1990 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.

A former rider in the Tour de France tells what life is really like in the world of professional cycling. This new edition is fully updated with two new chapters on the escalation of the use of drugs in sports.

Product Details

Publisher: Yellow Jersey Press (May 3, 2001)
ISBN: 0224062247

Anonymous's picture
Geoff Baere (not verified)

"I'm in the middle of ""Lance Armstrong's War"" by Dan Coyle and it is really good. Discusses the darker side of Our Hero, including Dr. Ferrari (""Dr. Evil""), Armstrong's real trainer until 2005 (?), who was not mentioned once in the OLN/Postal ""Lance Chronicles"".

Sam Abt has been mentioned and I second the recommendation. His books have vague titles but each is basically about the previous year in cycling, focusing on the Tour. Objective journalism but fun to read anyway.

""French Revolutions"", also mentioned, is hilarious and rereadable.

James Waddington's ""Bad to the Bone"" is a novel about some racers under the influence of a Dr. Ferrari type of wizard who makes one of the riders so good he can't lose. Not a great book, but there is some resonance. And in the bike genre we take what we can get.

""Uphill Battle: Cycling's Greatest Climbers"" by Owen Mulholland is about legendary climbers, obviously. Prosaic but informative--consider it research and ease your guilt about not being on your bike doing hill repeats.

""Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson"" by William Fotheringham. A good biography, reveals Simpson to be a pretty interesting guy. This happened a long time ago so you need to enjoy the historical perspecive on cycling. Contains a bibliography, rare in cycling literature.

Any edition of ""Effective Cycling"" by John Forester. Prosaic, polemical, useful, instructive and potentially life-saving.

""The Quoatable Cyclist"". The best book for the smallest room in the house.

There is a story about a bike rider getting dropped in the Rick Bass collection of short stories, ""The Watch Stories"".


Anonymous's picture
Alfredo Garcia (not verified)
Paulette Callett Porthault


I could give you a photocopy of an interview with Paulette Callet Porthault. She isn't exactly a household name, but this Frenchwoman for about 70 years was a cyclotourist and a randonneur cyclist. She rode the rugged (non paved) roads and hills of Europe in the 1930s and 1940, before and after WWII and much more.

The article is from Vintage Bicycle Quarterly, circa 2004. If she is alive today, she would be at least 92 years old. And probably would ride a little today.

I'll also include a book review (also VBQ) of a biography of famed British racer Beryl Burton. She dominated the British racing scene from the late 1950s to the 1970.

If you like, I can give them to you at the NYCC general meeting on Tues. Let me know if you're interested.


Anonymous's picture
Jay (not verified)
I dont understand exactly what you want

How can a memoir be fiction? As a pseudo-maven of bike touring, a bike touring book junkie and a author of articles on bike touring and possibly a book, I would be glad to help you.

Anonymous's picture
Jessica (not verified)

Sorry. I meant fiction and/or memoir, as opposed to a how-to book. Just something fun to read about cycling.

Anonymous's picture
Jay (not verified)
Try these

South from the Limpopo, Dervla Murphy or other books by her

Where the Pavement Ends by Erika Warmbrunn who I introduced as a NYCC meeting speaker a few years ago

French Revolutions by Tim Moore

book by Barbara Savage

I may e mail you a few more and 1 or 2 articles I wrote

Anonymous's picture
Slowclimb (not verified)
Samuel Abt

Try the following by Samuel Abt who covered the peloton for years and years for the International Herald Tribune and the NY Times:

At the Races

Up the Road

(both available on Amazon)

Anonymous's picture
Chris Yerkes (not verified)

I have enjoyed Cat (Paperback) by Freya North, ISBN: 0099423170

...Catriona McCabe, 28, only ever known as Cat, is trying to improve her career as a sports journalist and get over a failed relationship. What better way to do both than to spend the summer following the Tour de France?

I go it a few years ago in the U.K, and do not know if it is available in the states.

I do not thisnk it is dated though it is from 1999.

Anonymous's picture
bikesherpa (not verified)
Classic Samuel Apt

Samuel Apt's article about The Tour of Flanders today, or more acurately, his experience at the bar while covering the Tour of Flanders, is typically colorful:


Anonymous's picture
Chris T. (not verified)
At the Races and Bobkke II

At the Races by Sam ABT --- This book is a collection of columns that he has written over the years for the New York Times.

But the best story in it may be the preface -- of how he got into cycling by NOT attending a certain cycling event. While he's not funny, the cyclist are -- and brutally honest too. Gives you a real feel for what the pro -- and amateur peletons are all about.

My other recommendation is Bobbke II -- a collection of real tales of the cycling career of... Bob Roll. Now some of you may think that Bob is a third wheel at best as a television commentator -- and that may be true -- but Bob tells really good stories (even if you say they are a bunch of tall tales). They include:

Being airlifted by helicopter after a mountain top Tour de France stage --- and not knowing who else was on board.

Feeling horrible before a spring classic, deciding to do a solo breakaway at Kilometer Zero -- and Crashing (that's just the start of this one race)

Training with Lance in North Carolina

Losing a watch while .......

His travials after switching from road racing to Mountain Bike races.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
"Tim Krabbe's ""The Rider"""

"It's an excellent short novel (150 pages or so), narrated in the first person, about a 150-km French amateur race.



Anonymous's picture
Peter Engel (not verified)

"Try ""In Memory Of Running,"" written by Ron McLarty, about an overweight Vietnam Veteran's ride from Rhode Island to Los Angeles, mostly on a '58 Raleigh."

Anonymous's picture
george (not verified)
The Rider
Anonymous's picture
Mike A. (not verified)
More Suggestions

"The Yellow Jersey by Ralph Hurne
-Touted as the ""The Greatest Cycling Novel ever written""

Put Me Back On My Back- In Search of Tom Simpson By William Fotheringham"

Anonymous's picture
Geoff Baere (not verified)
"Wasn't ""Put me Back on My Back"" the memoir"

of a Tour Groupie?

Anonymous's picture
Mike A. (not verified)

"Err.... I meant ""Bike"""

Anonymous's picture
Ellen (not verified)
highly recommend

Need For The Bike by Paul Fournel is a delight....his memoir about cycling as a 'practice of life'.

Anonymous's picture
Ben (not verified)
Great cycling reads

I saw it mentioned a couple of times allready, but I thought I would reiterate that Tim Krabbe's The Rider is a really great book. The 150 page novel is about a rider's participation in a one-day, 150 km race. Allthough there are some flashbacks and some pre-race material, the book, at about a page per kilometer, almost reads as if it is in real time. Told in the first person, you really feel as if you experiencing the race first-hand, from behind the handlebars. Might not be the best vacation book because you'll probably read it in one sitting!

Anonymous's picture
Jacopo (not verified)
Man on the run

""Man on the run""
The life and death of Marco Pantani



cycling trips