Dave Walker's The Cycling Cartoonist Review

Only 10 more days to go until Christmas, which is lucky because it means you still have time to buy your cyclist loved one Dave Walker's comprehensive book of cycling cartoons. It quickly sold out after publication earlier in the year but is back in stock today. We've been fans of Dave Walker's simple, but well observed illustrations for a while now and travelled into the wilds of south Essex to meet him back in 2016. If you've not come across him before via his very popular twitter or facebook pages, read on!

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Anquetil, Alone by Paul Fournel: a Romantic and Poetic Homage to one of Cycling's Greats

Cycling biographies can, let’s face it, be a bit of a bore sometimes. More often than not they’re an extended catalogue of a rider’s palmares and it can be difficult to get under the character’s skin. I’ve dutifully ploughed my way through many of those as I try to bone up on my cycling history, but it’s rare that you get an essence of the romance and poetry of bike racing.

Well, romantic and poetic are exactly the adjectives that spring to mind with this compact and concise book about Jacques Anquetil, the controversial cycling star of the 60s, told through the eyes of the novelist and cycling fan Paul Fournel.

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The Hardmen: Legends of the Cycling Gods by Velominati

A few years ago three cycling obsessed geeks, two American and one Australian, published the Velominati Rules. It was a tongue in cheek manifesto of how a road cyclist should be, laying down the law on how to dress, ride and behave on the bike.

Probably their most famous rule has become #5: Harden the Fuck Up, a motto that has been liberally plastered over mugs, jerseys and posters as well as being shouted out on many a club run. In honour of that phrase they have now published a book that celebrates the toughest cyclists of all time.

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Giro d'Italia by Colin O'Brien Review

With the unmistakable silhouette of Marco Pantani on a pink background on its front cover, this book had us reaching out to the shelf to pick it up with some excitement. The Pirate, as he was known, seems to encapsulate so much of what the Giro d’Italia is about.

Now in its 100th edition, this beautiful Grand Tour has often been defined by its unpredictability, its heroism, suffering and betrayals. Add to that feuds, glamour, rivalries that split the nation and, of course passionate racing, you have a gripping and fascinating yarn to tell.

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Ride Strong: Conditioning for Cyclists

Yes it's that time of year again where, wracked with guilt for the excesses of the party season, we make our new year's resolutions to get fit and firm. Some of us will be signing up for sportives and endurance cycling challenges, and here at Ride Velo, we're about to book our third Etape du Tour race in the French Alps this summer. So we were very interested when Bloomsbury Publishing asked us to review their latest training guide: Ride Strong Essential Conditioning for Cyclists - what better way to plan our cycling goals for 2017?

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Crapper Cycle Lanes Review

Crapper Cycle Lanes makes excellent toilet reading, and not just because of its title. It’s one of those little books that you can flick through absent-mindedly and chuckle over with few if any intellectual demands and little actual reading. It’s mostly pictures of, well, crap cycle lanes.

Eye Books first published Crap Cycle Lanes 10 years ago based on the “Facility of the Month” website pages of the Warrington Cycle Campaign. Since 2001 they have been bravely posting pictures of the worst designed cycle lanes to be found in the land. You know the ones: a lamp post stationed bang in the middle of the path, a two metre stretch of glorious car free space for the cyclist etc. 

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Bunker Research by Max Leonard

Max Leonard, author of Lanterne Rouge: the Last Man in the Tour de France and the Rapha City Cycling Europe guides has just received an award for his latest book, Bunker Research. The British Book Design and Production Awards made him the winner of the Self-Published Books category.

Max is a contributor to Rouleur Magazine and has worked for Rapha and Strava as a writer. The idea for Bunker Research came about when he was researching and writing another book about cycling in the mountains. Speaking to Lecool Magazine, he explained how he came across these “weird concrete cubes and metal domes overlooking the roads or up on ridges, and I became fascinated.” He discovered that they were fortifications built before the Second World War to protect France from Mussolini.

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Review: ​'The Cyclist Who Went Out In The Cold' by Tim Moore

This is the story of how a middle-aged man traced the length of the old Iron Curtain on a shopping bike through 20 countries and 9,000 miles along the un-sign-posted EV 13 cycle route. To attempt such an undertaking on a bike might appear to be rather rash and ambitious for someone in their fifties. To start in Finland, in March, would definitely be a step too far. But then to choose to do it on a completely unsuitable bike is surely madness.

Tim Moore is not the sort to be put off by a challenge, however. He’d already crossed 500 miles of Spain, dragging a donkey behind him, as documented in “Spanish Steps”, completed the route of the Tour de France on a diet of Pro Plus and Rose wine (“French Revolutions”) and in his book “Gironimo” told of how he rode the 3,200 km route of the infamous 1914 Giro d’Italia on a hundred year old bike.

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Julian Sayarer's Messengers Review

According to the Mindfulness charity Mind With Heart, when the mind wanders, 42% of people find it a negative experience. Weirdly though, the wandering mind is what many people report is one of most positive benefits of cycling – the chance to think through your problems, clear your head of clutter and have some ‘me’ time. Cyclists probably make up a large proportion of the 58% in that statistic. But not all cyclists. 

What’s this got to do with the book ‘Messengers” by Julian Sayarer? “City Tales From A London Bicycle Courier” states the book cover. The blurb promises: ”With a bicycle the one constant that seems to make sense of everything else, Messengers is a two-wheeled portrait of everyday life in a modern city at the start of the twenty-first century.” 

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Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp Review

There aren’t many good novels about cycling. While millions of words of print have been devoted to its rich heritage and past, it’s strange that few writers have been able to capture the essence of the bike and our love for it in fiction. Ventoux by Bert Waggendorp goes some way to address that balance - at last a beautifully rich story with cycling at its heart.

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The Cyclist's Bucket List

Has watching the Tour de France inspired you to try some of the iconic climbs that the pros race up almost effortlessly? Maybe you've already attempted some of the better known ascent such as Alpe d'Huez and the Tourmalet? Tomorrow sees the publication of The Cyclist's Bucket List - A Road Bike Journal - a beautifully illustrated notebook with ideas to inspire you - from the Etape du Tour to climbing the Col de Aubisquel - and challenges such as taking part in a bunch sprint. 

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Triumphs and Turbulence by Chris Boardman

Having listened to Chris Boardman speak at Spin London last month, we were eager to get our hands on a copy of his autobiography, Triumphs and Turbulence. Well the wait is over, with the book published today by Ebury Press and launched tonight by Boardman himself at the Lowry, Manchester. Lucky enough to get a preview copy, Ride Velo is pleased to announce that it lived up to expectation, having immersed us in so many different aspects of the cycling world, with fantastically funny anecdotes to boot. 

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Paul Smith's Cycling Scrapbook Review

As you’d expect from Sir Paul Smith, one of the great British designers of our age, his Cycling Scrapbook is a beautifully produced volume. The sort of book you savour as you turn each page. A book you’ll treasure and look after and show off to your friends. It’s an eclectic collection of photographs, magazine and newspaper clippings, adverts, cycling jerseys, stunning oil paintings, bicycles and profiles of famous bike riders.

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Eat Sleep Cycle - Anna Hughes

Back in December, Ride Velo met Anna Hughes at the Attack the Pack launch party. She appeared to be just another punter enjoying a card game with her mates at Look Mum No Hands! Little did we know, Anna had recently published her first book and is a celebrated cycle tourer, having completed a 4,000 mile ride around the coast of Britain. She promised to send us a copy, but she didn’t, so we had to buy it. But we’re very glad we did, and here's why: Eat Sleep Cycle.

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Emily Chappell - What Goes Around

Who hasn’t looked on in envy from their office desk as they watch a cycle courier saunter out of the doors of the sterile office, swing a leg over a fixie and shoot off into the freedom of London’s tangled web of streets to dance with the traffic? Emily Chappell’s What Goes Around: A London Cycle Courier's Story is a bittersweet love letter to London, its gnarly streets, and the joy of cycling through them. It’s also addressed to former lovers, the cycling courier community and the bike itself.

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Bradley Wiggins - My Hour

“It’s just you on that track with 6,000 people who have come to see you succeed or fail.” The Hour Record, dating back to 1893. 60 minutes of individual, lonely effort around a velodrome, lap after lap, counting down each minute until the end, in the vainglorious attempt that you’ve travelled further than anyone else at the end of it all. Just you and a bike. A massive risk. No second place. Simply failure or a place in the record books while the world watches you. The hour record has to be the ultimate do or die sporting event. “My Hour” is Bradley Wiggins’ story of his successful bid to be the fastest cyclist over the course of one hour.

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Vélochef - Food for Training and Competition

Ever wondered what Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and their fellow star riders at Team Sky eat on the Tour de France? Vélochef, by Henrik Orre, provides some of those answers, as well as giving a fascinating insight into the workings of a top racing team, while offering no less than 80 nutritious recipes for you to recreate at home. 

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The World According to G

Geraint Thomas has always seemed to be one of the more colourful individuals of the pro scene, with his witty ripostes to reporters and tongue in cheek comments after hard fought battles in the Tour or the Vuelta. Along with Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, he brings a bit of British dry humour to the continental scene, in stark contrast to the deadly serious Contadors of this world, so it was with eager anticipation that I delved into the newly delivered, The World of Cycling According to G. 

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David Millar's The Racer - Life on the Road as a Pro Cyclist - Review

I’d just done the Etape du Tour 2014 in the Pyrenees and had nearly dropped out after a freezing and wet descent of the Tourmalet, but somehow managed to keep it together to finish the bloody thing. My girlfriend and I crossed the border out of France and into Spain in pursuit of sunshine, warmth and being able to get a meal after 2 O’clock so ended up in Girona, a beautiful and ancient Cathedral City in Catalonia. Walking across the Plaza de Independencia one day I couldn’t help admiring a couple of beautiful Cervelo road bikes propped up against a pillar. And there, enjoying a post ride beer, was David Millar with his teammate, Dan Martin, in full Garmin team kit. 

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