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From documentaries and films to podcasts and magazines, cycling media comes in all shapes and sizes. But perhaps some of its best work comes in the form of books. Every year, dozens of reads are published, delving deeper into the far-reaching world of bike riding. In 2021, this is no different. Here, we chart some of the best books for you to read throughout the second half of this year.

The Art of Cycling – James Hibbard

The phrase ‘The Art of’ followed by a noun is relatively overused but in the case of James Hibbard’s love letter to the sport, it’s very well-placed.

Described as an “exceptional read” by influential journalist, Paul Kimmage, The Art of Cycling looks at the philosophy behind the sport, whilst looking at the highs and lows of an elite athlete.

The reason why Hibbard is able to get to the very heart of the sport is because he was a former road racer himself. The American raced professionally but unlike generic autobiographies, Hibbard, who studied philosophy at the University of South California, takes you on an abstract journey through his feelings on the sport and life.

A cycling book with a twist but one that could leave you with an entirely different perspective.

Vuelta Skelter – Tim Moore

With La Vuelta A España just days away, now is the perfect time to go on an adventure with Tim Moore. The adventure cyclist, known for his incredible or outlandish – depending on your point of view – journeys is back for his third grand tour book covering the 1941 edition of the race.

The race was won by Julián Berrendero and after building an interest in the rider, Moore retraces the steps of the race and all 4,409 kilometres of it to discover more about Spain, its sometimes shadowy past – all that while riding hard during a global pandemic. 2021’s Vuelta will not have the same adventurous vibes due to 21st-century professionalism so go on a journey back in time to find out what bike racing used to be like.

Vuelta Skelter will be published on 12 August 2021.

Women On Wheels – April Streeter

With the Tour De France finally bringing a women’s race to the calendar in 2022, we are starting to see a semblance of parity and equality within cycling.

This journey, though, has been developing for centuries and Women On Wheels by April Streeter charts the very beginning and how things have changed up to the modern day.

From tales of creative performances in the 19th century to the advancements of women’s professional cycling, this book looks at the journey through the eyes of those who have lived it in what is an inspiring read.

A Cyclist’s Guide to The Pyrenees – Peter Cossins

One of the beauties of cycling is the ability to emulate the professionals in the same arena. Whether you want to ride the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix or tackle the mighty Col Du Tourmalet, it’s all possible with a bike and some persistence.

And with this book from prolific writer Peter Cossins, it is the mountains we head to with the ultimate guide to one of the world’s most iconic mountain ranges.

This guide will help anyone looking to tackle the plethora of ascents in the area with well-rounded descriptions and advice on route planning. With the odd bit of history too, this is the perfect companion for any cyclist tackling the Pyrenees.

Cycling Atlas Europe – Claude Droussent

Expected to publish in autumn, this book is certainly worth bringing to your attention now.

Whilst the last book in this list focused on just one mountain range – a feat in itself – Claude Droussent’s Cycling Atlas Europe takes on a whole continent, bringing you inspiring and scenic 350 routes to tackle. It’s done by an innovative method too with Droussent using Strava’s heatmaps to build the routes, using the app’s extensive network of cyclists for support.

The routes themselves take in the continent’s most iconic spots whilst giving each reader the opportunity to test themselves wherever you find yourself in Europe. Like Cossin’s book, this read is the perfect tool for any adventurer, wanting to explore and ride further than ever before.