The last few days I've been reading some cycling books - my commute into work each day includes a 25-30 minute section on the train (hence the Brompton), so this proves an ideal opportunity to read. I'd prefer to cycle all the way, but 40Km each way, daily, is perhaps a bit more than I fancy riding and I can stick with the train.
Anyhow, the reading time is quite good - I've managed to get through a fair few number of books over the past few years due to the commute. Admittedly, not all cycling, but then I want some different hobbies!
Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Bikes, Equipment, Health, Safety, and Attitude
Grant Petersen is the owner of Rivendell Bike Works in America. He's been raced various bikes and now makes them for a living.
The book focuses on how cycling has been "corrupted" by racing and how racing dominates the design of new bikes and other factors of cycling and how this perhaps decreases peoples enjoyment of riding. You don't need new clothes to ride a bike but sometimes that doesn't come across if you visit a bike shop.
“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” - Henry David Thoreau
Sometimes we forget that the main reason we ride a bike is because it's fun. At least, that's why I ride. I used to better myself for riding so I enjoyed it more, but there came a point where I was riding so much that I'd forgotten the pleasure of riding. Everything was training for a specific ride and rides were tests of keeping my heart rate to specific heart rate zones. Grant goes on to explain that we should riding for fun and that everything we do shouldn't be for the bike. I know a lot of people may disagree with his general outlook but for me, the book sums up some of my own feelings pretty well and it backs up some of the things that I've done over the past few months.
Some of his biggest detractors might complain about his views on nutrition - basically decrying the carb heavy foods that are touted within all the cycling magazines and focus on a more protein and fat based diet. Having done a similar diet to this myself in the past, I know what he's saying works though I know some people considered that I was probably causing myself damage. It's something that I'm trying to get back into though after reading his book again. It's not to everyone's tastes but he goes on to it in more detail in his other book, "Eat Bacon, Don't Jog".
It's a refreshing book from the other cycling books I've read that have focused on getting the most from cycling and how to be more like the pros - it's not often I've seen a book of just getting out and enjoying cycling! And to go on and say that cycling isn't the be all and end all of physical exercise!
A Virgin Discovers Long Distance Cycling: London Edinburgh London 2013
A Virgin Discovers Long Distance cycling is a summary of the ride that Malcolm carried out in 2013, riding the famous (within the Audax and long distance cycling community anyhow) London Edinburgh London ride, a 1400Km bike ride that as its name suggests, is from London to Edinburgh and back over the course of five days.
It wasn't a ride I was aware of until I started looking at the Audax community and then I realised it was the UK equivalent of the Paris Brest Paris ride (another one that hadn't cropped up until I found out what Audaxing is).
Anyhow, Malcom's book focusses on his attempt to ride the 1400Km. It's an amusing ride that brought some smiles to my face whilst sitting on the train in the morning. It gives the reader an insight into the sheer determination and bloody mindedness for the cyclists taking part in the challenge and the issues that they face - one comes to mind - sleeping! As an organised events, sleeping is done in certain points along the way. It's an interesting read, even if you're not into long distance cycling (though, you might well be after reading it, but perhaps doing the route not within the five days that Malcom does!)
Overall, I was interested to read the challenges that the riders faced and how this was overcome. Worth a read and as a note - don't change mudguards whilst riding!