In addition to our go-to favourite for news, analysis, and training advice, the cycling world is full of diverse and beautiful narratives that capture the many different ways bikes play a role in people’s lives. Here are some of our favourite cycling books:
Inside the world of professional cycling
God Is Dead: The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling’s Great Wasted Talent, Andy McGrath
As the former editor of the Rouleur magazine, you’d expect Andy McGrath to have a compelling tale to back up his eye-catching title and, thankfully, he does. This 2022 release tells the story of the 90s prodigy Frank Vandenbroucke. The Belgian talent quickly achieved fame by claiming the top spot at many of the sport’s biggest races but, ultimately, died tragically young after battling depression and addiction. McGrath captures the nuance of his story through the lens of cycling history.
The Breakaway, Nicole Cooke
A year away from the 10th anniversary of its publication, this cycling book remains as compelling as ever. Nicole Cooke’s autobiography details the incredible struggle she went through to gain the recognition and riches that came so effortlessly to her male counterparts. The backdrop is cycling’s darkest period of doping but her unique experience as a woman remains relevant today.
The many voices that comprise the cycling community
Back in the Frame, Jools Walker
This delight of a book is a must for anyone who is rediscovering their love of the two-wheeled lifestyle. In it, Walker explores the many identities she has assumed in the cycling community and provides some much-needed insight into what it is like being a woman of colour in the world of bikes. She also talks openly about how cycling impacts her mental health and how she has had to fight to keep her relationship with the sport a healthy one.
Women on Wheels: The Scandalous Untold Histories of Women in Bicycling, April Streeter
A feminist history of cycling, this cycling book was clearly a labour of love in which the author committed herself to finding little known stories from the women who have made cycling what it is today. Going back to bicycling’s birth — you’ll find lots here to help you counter traditional narratives of how the sport rose to prominence.
Incredible tales of cycling inspiration
Where There’s a Will: Hope, Grief and Endurance in a Cycle Race Across a Continent, Emily Chappell
An accomplished ultra-endurance racer, Emily Chappell has proven time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned with. She doesn’t wax poetic about the fact that winning the Transcontinental Race is no joke, either. This thoughtful and heartfelt book presents a genuinely relatable story about self-doubt, self-discovery, grief and achieving what at first seems impossible.
The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail, Tim Moore
Tim Moore is at it again, and this time he has decided to take a small-wheeled, two-geared shopper bike along the 9,000km Iron Curtain trail. Told from the point of view of a cyclist who loves pushing his limits but doesn’t take himself too seriously, this is an engaging and historically informative read.
If you prefer your cycling inspo in audio format, allow us to suggest the following:
How To Be Superhuman
Extraordinary tales from cyclists and other extreme athletes worldwide, How To Be Superhuman lives up to its bold title. Here you will find an engaging interview-style show focused on athletes with one thing in common—a desire to push the limits of the human body.
Bikes or Death
Centred around bikepacking and adventure cycling, this listens a bit like a love letter to the great outdoors. As such, it is pretty hard not to get inspired to go and ‘ride your damn bike’ when you listen to Patrick’s chats with enthusiastic and dedicated riders.
Cycling Fashion Week
Either you’ll love it or hate it but this is the world’s only podcast dedicated to cycling fashion. The hosts do a great job of straddling the line between satire and elitism, so you’ll be in good company if you love nerding out about cycling fashion.
A podcast with some serious heart, The Outspoken Cyclist, is hosted by Diane Jenks, a bike shop owner and yoga instructor with over 35 years of experience in the industry. Each week’s episode features interviews with notable figures in cycling, cycling news and chitchat.
I RIDE A BIKE
A fun and uplifting listen for anyone who has ever found joy on a bike. This podcast features light-hearted interviews with fellow riders sharing their anecdotes, tall tales, and harrowing mishaps. Regardless of the guest, you’ll be sure to hear plenty about why they love riding.