Whether you're a cyclist or not, there's no doubt that cycling is an interesting sport. From the Tour de France to races around the world, cycling has a long and colorful history.
These books explore different aspects of cycling, from its origins to some of the most famous races in history.
If you're looking for something to read while you wait for your next race, or if you just want to learn more about this fascinating sport, these books are a great place to start.
Written by: Tyler Hamilton
Tyler Hamilton tells the almost unbelievable story of how doping became rampant in professional cycling and what he and other riders did to avoid being caught. The book is a page-turner, providing a detailed look at the lengths riders went to to ensure victory. It is also an eye-opening account of the corruption that has long plagued one of the world's most popular sports.
Hamilton makes it clear that doping is not limited to a small number of cyclists but is instead widespread throughout the sport. At least at that time, riders were expected to do steroids, EPO, and even whole transfusions to be their best.
If you were clean, you were never going to win, and all the coaches, management, and regulatory bodies knew and didn't care. As he writes, "There was no secret about it.”
Written by: Jens Voigt and James D. Startt
No one ever said cycling was easy. Just ask Jens Voigt, who has ridden his bike in just about every race imaginable during his long and successful career. In this book, Voigt recounts some of the most daring – and hilarious – moments of his days on two wheels.
Voigt shares the highs and lows of being a professional cyclist with humor and humility, from heart-stopping crashes to awe-inspiring victories. In this wonderful autography, he starts with his childhood in Eastern Europe, becoming a cyclist who won three stages at the Tour de France, and everything that a pro cyclist has to deal with, including having a family.
If you’re looking for an inside look at the life of a pro who was on the forefront of cycling for many years, this is a perfect place to start.
Written by: Richard Moore
In 1986, Greg LeMond became the first American to win the Tour de France. That victory was the culmination of a rivalry between LeMond and Frenchman Bernard Hinault that was as fierce as it was legendary. In Slaying the Badger, journalist Richard Moore tells the story of that unforgettable race, painting a portrait of two extraordinary athletes at the height of their powers.
The battle between Greg LeMond and Bernard “The Badger” Hinault, who had won five previous Tours, was intriguing since Hinault had said he’d support LeMond…but seemed to try to undermine him.
Drawing on interviews with both men and other riders and family members, Moore provides insights into the mind games and hard-fought battles that played out during those three weeks in July. The result is a tale that is by turns thrilling, heartbreaking, and inspiring—the ultimate story of human endurance and determination.
Written by: William Fotheringham
In 1967, while riding in the Tour de France, British cyclist Tom Simpson died on the side of a mountain. The cause of death was initially uncertain, but it was later determined that he had succumbed to heatstroke after taking amphetamines.
Being that Simpson was one of the most popular cyclists at the time, being the first Brit to wear the yellow jersey, Fotheringham explores what exactly happened and how his death occurred.
Drawing on interviews with friends and family members and previously unpublished material, Fotheringham provides a detailed account of Simpson's life and death. Because amphetamines were commonplace during this time of cycling and possibly having races fixed, this book is intriguing and explosive.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in cycling history or the legacy of doping in sports.
Written by: David Millar and Jeremy Whittle
David Millar was a professional cyclist from Britain who has raced in some of the world's most prestigious competitions. In this book, Millar recounts his journey from teenage amateur to international cycling superstar and provides an inside look at what it takes to achieve success at the highest level, no matter the consequences of your actions.
Sadly, it also profiles a man who originally stood against doping, and then freely used it when he wanted to win, and finally was absolved after fighting his way back into the sport while being clean. While many books are available on cycling, Racing Through the Dark stands out because of Millar’s ability to speak honestly about his good side vs. his bad side.
Millar's insights and observations provide readers with a unique perspective on life in the fast lane.
Written by: Sue Macy
Bicycles have long been considered a symbol of freedom. Bicycles allowed them to travel farther and faster than ever before, giving them a sense of independence and freedom that was desperately needed. In this book, Macy tells the story of how bicycles empowered women in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The beauty of this book is that it is not just the written word, but also photos, illustrations, advertisements, and more showing the advancement of women during the years.
Thanks to bicycles, women could take control of their own lives and contribute to society in ways that had never been possible before. And, as you can tell from the title, there is seriousness, mixed with humor, that helps make this such an excellent book.
Written by: David Walsh
David Walsh, the journalist and author, pursued Lance Armstrong for years. He just knew in his bones that there was no way that someone who had just beaten testicular cancer could dominate the rest of the cycling world so quickly. Because of his suspicion, Walsh tells the story of his investigation into cycling's most famous doping case. When the USADA finally stripped Armstrong of his seven Yellow Jerseys in October 2012, he was proven right.
The book is a page-turner, with a thriller novel's suspense. It is well-written and thoroughly researched, with stunning insights into Armstrong's doping culture in cycling. It is also an important historical document chronicling the rise and fall of one of the world's most celebrated athletes. It is, without doubt, the definitive account of this deplorable time where anything was allowed and basically encouraged by everyone in the sport.
Written by: Chris Froome and David Walsh
As a professional cyclist, Chris Froome has experienced firsthand the physical and mental challenges that come with competing at the highest level. From his early years in Kenya to his Olympic medals to his being Bradley Wiggins support, and up until his win at the Tour de France, he never gave up no matter the odds.
Froome shares his story for the first time, offering readers an inside look at what it takes to be a world-class cyclist.
Truly rising from the bottom of the rung when he became a cyclist to becoming one of the best in the sport, it is impressive how down to Earth and humble Froome is in this book. At the same time, Froome lays bare the grit and determination that have made him one of cycling's most extraordinary athletes. This is an unforgettable account of guts, passion, and superhuman willpower.
Written by: Conrad Kerber and Terry Kerber
Many of the riders on this list are well-known, and so are their exploits in the cycling world. However, few know the inspiring story of Major Taylor, an African American cyclist who overcame significant obstacles to achieve extraordinary success in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taylor was born in 1878 to formerly enslaved people James and Mary Taylor.
A gifted athlete, by the time he was a teenager Major Taylor had begun to rack up cycling race wins, despite facing discrimination due to his race.
In 1899, at just 21 years old, Major Taylor became the first African American world champion cyclist. This is his inspiring story. Kerber details how Taylor became one of America's most celebrated athletes, drawing on meticulous research. It is a fascinating look back at the history of cycling and the views on race in the U.S.A. at this time.
It is also a fantastic tale of courage, tenacity, and determination that will appeal to cycling enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Written by: Phil Gaimon
Everyone knows about the big-time stars of cycling, but what about the little guy who just keeps on fighting to support the stars? Phil Gaimon tells hilarious and touching stories about life as a professional bike racer in this book. Since he did win some stages in crucial races, it is more the silliness and absurdity of his life in the sport you'll love.
From tales of riding on empty stomachs and chasing semi-trucks down Pennsylvania roads to close calls with cars and coping with crushing disappointment, Gaimon takes readers on an introspective journey that only a true insider could offer.
The result is an intimate look at the seldom-seen world of professional cycling that is illuminating and entertaining. Whether you're a fan of cycling or not, you will be laughing so hard that your will have tears in your eyes.
Written by: Ty Hopkins
If you're a cyclist, there's a good chance that at some point, you've dreamed of pedaling your bike to another country. For Ty Hopkins, that dream became a reality when he rode from Banff, Canada, to the border crossing into Mexico—a total of 2,725 miles.
This book focuses on his ride in the 2018 Tour Divide and how he survived it. And by survive, we mean survived. It was grueling, brutal, and yet also incredible.
Hopkins tells the story of his remarkable journey and offers advice for anyone thinking about undertaking such an adventure themselves. Whether you're looking for inspiration or just wanting to learn more about what it takes to cycle across a continent, this book is sure to keep you entertained all the way to the end.
So, pack your bags and get ready to ride!
Written by: Juliana Buhring
Could you imagine riding around the world with almost no training, no money, and no support? Well, after reading this book, you'll be able to not only imagine it but you'll also see precisely how Juliana Buhring did it. But this is just the start, or end, of the story.
Her life began as a religious cult member and escaped when she was 23. She then fell in love, but he is killed while kayaking. With these and other awful events that occurred, she decided that she wanted to change her life and so planned this trip. During it, she rode through nineteen countries, over 18,000 miles, and averaged over 100 miles a day.
The people she met, the places she visited, and her realizing what matters brought her back to life. It is a credit to her that she decided that instead of giving up and giving into depression, she fought back and created a new life for herself.
Written by: Charly Wegelius
What does it take to be a successful cyclist? Talent, of course. But that's only part of the story. Behind every Tour de France champion is a domestique, the unsung hero who makes their victory possible. In Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro, veteran cyclist Charly Wegelius gives us an insiders' look at what it takes to reach the top of the sport and yet never win anything himself.
If you're looking for an in-depth look at what goes into being one of the best in the world, Domestique is one you have to read. From years of hard work and sacrifice to the mental fortitude needed to overcome crushing disappointment, Wegelius offers a unique perspective on what it takes to make it as a professional cyclist.
You will indeed be amazed at what these unsung heroes go through daily and yearly to help someone else get the glory.
Written by: The Velominati
Cycling is a brutal sport. Many unwritten rules govern the proper way to behave on a bike. To help newcomers to the sport, or just provide some amusement for those of us who are already initiated, The Velominati has written a book outlining the "The Rules" of cycling. As we are cyclists, one of our favorites is the rule that the number of bikes one should own is "N +1" with "N" being the current amount. Every cycling nut would agree this is a fact.
This is a must-read for anyone looking to take their cycling seriously. serious cyclists will get a good laugh out of it as well. Whether you're just starting in the sport or have been riding for years, there's something in this book for everyone. So, strap on your helmet and click into your pedals; we're about to embark on a journey through the world of cycling etiquette…or a lack of etiquette.
Written by: Michael Hutchinson
There are many paths to sporting immortality. For some, it is a matter of natural talent and hard work. For others, it is a matter of luck and circumstance. And for a select few, it is a matter of enduring pain and suffering that most people could never imagine.
The idea is to see how far a person can go on a bike in just one hour. To give an example, some people can push over 30 miles per hour the whole time. Even though Hutchinson has won over twenty national titles, this is still no easy feat for any cyclist.
This is the story of how one man pushed his body to its absolute limits to become the best at his sport on a shoe-string budget. It is a story of courage and determination in the face of overwhelming odds since it is such a difficult accomplishment.
Written by: Jill Homer
In her book, Be Brave, Be Strong: Journey Across the Great Divide, Jill Homer shares her journey as an adventure cyclist who rides across the impressive and intimidating trail from Canada to Mexico. This is a personal narrative of Homer's experiences cycling through one of the most unforgiving environments on Earth.
Starting as someone afraid and insecure, you get to see her build into a powerhouse that refuses to give up and battles on so she can try to win one of the world's toughest mountain bikes races. During the ride, she faced extreme weather conditions, unstable terrain, and dangerous wildlife while making her way across this formidable landscape.
Not only did the physical and mental strain wear her down, so did the knowledge that others thought she was wasting her time and being foolish at best.
Written by: Chris Hoy
Unlike so many cyclists, almost no one ever had a bad word to say about Chris Hoy. This book starts with his career as a youngster doing BMX in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was a hardcore sportsman and played by the rules while accepting defeat with grace and honor. Since he has competed in three different sets of Olympic Games, winning six gold medals, it is even more impressive how humble he is in this book.
He tells his remarkable story, from his early years as an up-and-coming cyclist to his record-breaking achievements on the world stage. This includes his eleven World Championship titles and a silver in the Olympics.
If you want to read about someone, who was respected by everyone inside the sport and outside of it, then this is the book for you. There is a reason Chris Hoy was knighted and is known as Sir Chris Hoy. Class and elegance are just the starting point.
Written by: Charlie Kelly
In the early 1970s, Charlie Kelly and Gary Fisher were two avid cyclists living in Marin County, California. They loved riding their bikes on the many trails in the area, but they were always looking for ways to make the experience better.
Who would have ever guessed a small group of dedicated hippies could accomplish so much while having so much fun just because they wanted to hit the hills and escape the asphalt? One day, they had an idea to take some of the techniques they used while mountain biking and put them into a new type of bike.
The result was the mountain bike, which has since become a staple in cycling culture worldwide.
Written by: Geraint Thomas
On July 7, 2018, Geraint Thomas became the first Welshman to win the Tour de France. This was an incredible accomplishment for Thomas and his teammates on Team Sky. In his new book, The Tour According to G: My Journey to the Yellow Jersey, Thomas recounts his journey from domestique to team leader and eventual champion. Along with that, he’s also twice won a Gold Medal at the Olympics.
This book provides a unique perspective on what it takes to win one of the most grueling sporting events in the world. If you're a fan of cycling or just enjoy reading about amazing athletic feats, then be sure to check out this book!
Written by: Paul Kimmage
Published: 2007 (1990)
Being that Kimmage had dreamed of being a cycling star since he could remember, he knew that he’d have to endure hardships unlike any other. He did everything he could to work out, eat right, spend as much time and energy as possible learning the skills and teamwork to make it happen. However, his dreams didn't come true for one specific reason: Omerta.
There is a saying in the sport of cycling that you never break the "Omerta." This means that you never disclose to others what is happening, and especially not the illegal actions of others, to anyone not allowed in the inner circle. And this is where Paul Kimmage's story takes a brutal turn because he does just that regarding the doping and illegal choices that others did so they could win.
On the other hand, he would be ignored, forgotten, and basically become an exile in the sport he loved until he finally left it altogether.
Written by: Peter Sagan
There are a few constants in life. The sun rises and sets. The tides come in and go out. And Peter Sagan wins bike races. The Slovakian cyclist has been at the top of his sport for over a decade, collecting world championship titles and Tour de France stage wins with seeming ease.
In My World, Sagan offers readers a glimpse into his remarkable career, sharing insights into the training techniques that have made him one of cycling's most successful competitors ever.
Sagan is known to have an oversized personality, which seems to make him even more enduring to fans, and you’ll love his craziness mixed with utter professionalism at the same time. If you're interested in learning and what it takes to be a champion athlete who is the only person to have won the World Championships three times in a row, don't miss this exciting book.
Written by: Dennis Bailey and Keith Gates
If you are like most people, you probably think of bicycles as something to ride for fun or exercise. You may not know that bicycles can also be a practical mode of transportation for getting around town. And, just like any other mode of transportation, your bike may need occasional repair and maintenance.
This book provides tips on performing basic repairs and upkeep on your bike. It also offers suggestions on finding help when more advanced maintenance is required. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced cyclist, read on for helpful information on keeping your bike in good shape.
Written by: Michael Blann
By now, you might have had your fill of just reading about cycling and cyclists, so why not take a break and check out the rides, views, and reality of what these people with daily. Even if you've been to the countries that hold these races, there is no chance you've seen all the different sites and landscapes.
For us, the viewer, it is all beautiful and wonderful. But for the cyclists, it can be pure insanity and utter pain. The beauty of this coffee table book is that not only do you get to see everything around them, but you also get to read their words to understand what it is like riding them.
There is nothing else unless you are riding them yourself that will even give you a glance into the world of climbing and professional cycling. The photos are exquisite, and you'll feel like you are there in the moment.
Written by: Anna McNuff
Anna, and her friend Faye, decided that they wanted to ride all the way from La Paz, Bolivia, to Ushuaia, Argentina, even though they realized it would take about six months. They climbed over 100,000 feet during this fantastic journey, went up and down volcanoes, dealt with swamps, and pretty much anything else you could imagine.
Even with all the intriguing and drama, the friendship between the two shines through and is lovely. Anna's writing style is elegant and deeply refined, as she's also written two other books that are extremely highly rated, and you will love everything about this trip.
If you've ever thought of making a massive trek or even just hopping on the bike and seeing what is out in your neighborhood, check this out, and you'll want to get cycling now!
Written by: Trevor Lund
There are some magnificent cycling adventures on this list, but this one is so massive it is almost too difficult, to sum up. Trevor Lund was bored with this life, enjoyed cycling, and just wanted to do something other than do the norm. So, in 1999, he decided that he would undertake a bike trip of his lifetime.
He'd go from the most southern tip of South America up to the Arctic Ocean…and all by himself.
Being that this was 1999, the internet and all our fancy gadgets weren’t very accessible. And they definitely wouldn’t be accessible in many areas where Lund would be riding his bike. However, Lund realized that he wanted to see what he could accomplish while enduring issues like running out of water in a desert, dealing with bandits, and having ash from a volcano fall down all around him.
It is one of the most impressive feats of endurance, and to call it epic is an understatement.
Written by: Sam Gambier
Well, if sixteen thousand miles wasn't enough for you, how about to look at Sam Gambier's decision to ride thirty-six thousand miles around the world! At the young age of just 23 years old, and maybe not old enough to know better, he decided he'd hop on his bike, start riding, and see where it would take him.
The wonderment of going through China, Singapore, Mongolia, Alaska, Argentina, and to pretty much anywhere you could imagine is that you do get to see the world with him. There are all kinds of fun stories and wildness as one would expect.
However, while most travel books focus on what is happening on the outside and primarily on the scenery, this book gives you an inside look into Gambier's mind.
Written by: Jonathan Vaughters
Starting as a kid who loved cycling in his home state of Colorado, to becoming a professional, and then to becoming a teammate on the U.S. Postal team alongside Lance Armstrong, Jonathan Vaughters has pretty much seen everything in cycling.
Being that he rode with Lance, he knew he'd have to dope to be able to survive as Lance didn't care about anything but winning.
However, he would testify against Lance and work to redeem himself as it came out. In order to do that, he started the first cycling team that was explicitly set to be clean and stop doping in the sport. For that reason alone, this book is worth reading since you can see the progression from the worst to the best and how cycling continues to distance itself from the ugly past.
In this autobiography, Vaughters doesn't pull any punches against others or himself and is incredibly vulnerable.
Written by: Rubina Soorty
Have you ever wanted to just hop on a bike and ride for over two years? Well, that is what Rubina Soorty did when she hopped on her bike, "Percy," and set off from her home in the U.K. As you'd imagine, when someone rides a bike for over two years, she basically goes almost everywhere in the world.
The stories of her adventures, some of which are hilarious, and others terrifying, make this book a thriller beyond belief.
It is almost impossible to explain what she went through, both physically and mentally, as so many issues arose and made her rethink her choices in her life. This includes family, friends, falling in love, what is her purpose in life, and how to meld all of that together while still enjoying the journey.
Her ability to trust in the kindness of strangers will make you believe in the innate goodness of others…and in yourself.
Written by: DK
Bike geeks are going to LOVE this incredible coffee table book because of all the gorgeous photos and bikes in it. The book starts as far back in history as you can find for bicycles and then moves forward as they change bit by bit. The book also goes into the different types of bikes, such as BMX, road, mountain, time trials, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
The beauty of this book, other than the photos, is that it also has commentary regarding the important races through history.
This gives you a more in-depth understanding of why these changes occurred and how people reimagined bikes. It is truly a piece of art as much as it is a book to read and enjoy.
Written by: Nicole Cooke
While Lance Armstrong, and men’s cycling in general, were having a massive impact on sports, women’s cycling was still being ignored. Instead of just giving in and giving up, Nicole Cooke did everything she could to fix that problem.
She spoke up against doping, had to fight against sponsors who didn’t want to pay, and so much more than the men seemed to be able to pass off as unimportant.
Along with her honesty and integrity, she was an amazing cyclist. She was the first cyclist from Britain to be ranked #1 globally. As if that wasn't enough, she also won the World Championship and the Olympics during the same year.
This is a book that must be read so that people understand the difficulties that women went through and still go through, compared to the men in the sport. It will make you rethink what is right and what is wrong.
Written by: Emily Chappell
Almost everyone has heard of the Tour de France or the Vuelta a Espana…but how many of you have heard of the "Transcontinental?" This race is one of the hardest in the world as the rider goes across Europe, on their own without any support, in the fast time possible. Emily Chappell decided that this was something she wanted to accomplish after enjoying being a bike courier in her home city of London.
Because this is an almost superhuman feat, she couldn't finish on her first try. But deciding not to give up, she started working with Mike Hall, who founded the race. She trained like mad and won the women's race the following year in just thirteen days and ten hours, covering over four thousand miles. I
t is a truly touching story, and it is partly an homage to her friendship with Mike Hall, who was killed during a race in Australia. It will amaze you and keep you on the edge of your seat all the way through it.
Written by: Edward Pickering
The Ronde, also known as “The Tour of Flanders," is one of cycling's most prestigious races, held in the Flemish Ardennes of Belgium. Covering 260 kilometers (162 miles) and with over 3500 meters (11,500 feet) of climbing, it's a punishing test of endurance for even the most seasoned rider.
The book essentially goes into the race route and each of the towns and areas it goes through to give you an idea of it. You will learn about some of the past racers and get interviews with almost all of the top riders from the race year of 2011. The intriguing, and the race at the end of it, is exciting enthralling, with a surprise ending. Drawing on interviews with riders, team directors, and support staff, Pickering provides a fascinating inside look at one of cycling's most legendary events.
Written by: Joe Friel
Published: 2009 (1996)
This comprehensive guide to training for cyclists will help you achieve your cycling goals, whether you're a competitive racer or a weekend warrior. The Cyclist's Training Bible offers everything you need to know about training, from basic concepts to detailed programs. You'll learn how to assess your abilities and develop a personalized training plan that fits your schedule and helps you achieve your desired results.
So, what are you waiting for? Start reading, get on your bike, and start training! Whether you're just starting or are looking to take your cycling skills to the next level, this book has something for everyone.
Written by: Daniel Friebe
Eddy Merckx is a name that is synonymous with cycling. He is considered by many to be the greatest cyclist of all time, and his records prove it: 445 wins overall, five Tour de France, and so many others it is hard to imagine. But Merckx's story is far more complex than simply being the best cyclist out there. He was nicknamed "The Cannibal" due to his never-ending hunger for victory, which often led him to push his body beyond its limits.
And how exactly did he push past his limits? Well, this is part of his legacy regarding his failing doping tests three times, which he said were fixed, but what is the truth? This also includes his teammates and what they thought of him and also his rivals. So little of Merckx is known publicly that this book does a great job in fleshing out the man inside The Cannibal.
Written by: George Hincapie and Craig Hummer
In the world of professional cycling, there are few names as iconic as Lance Armstrong. However, what is lesser known is the story of Armstrong's teammate and friend George Hincapie. Though he never achieved the same level of fame as Armstrong, Hincapie was an integral part of some of the most successful cycling teams in history.
This book tells the story of Hincapie's journey from a young cyclist to one of the most respected riders in the sport. Although Hincapie faced many injuries and pain along the way, he persevered through it all to become one of the best cyclists in history. Read on to learn more about his experiences as a cyclist and how he changed the cycling world even though he rarely was the leader.