"The Hardmen: Legends and Lessons from the Cycling Gods"By The Velominati 1 of 12
"They say a Cyclist is measured not by skill in riding a bicycle, but by their ability to suffer," writes Frank Strack, founder of cycling superblog Velominati.com. That distinctive perspective threads through every captivating chapter in the Velominati's new book The Hardmen: Legends and Lessons from the Cycling Gods, which recounts epic tales of 40 heroic cyclists who unapologetically adhere to Rule No. 5 with bravery, panache and, as the Velominati would say, the "Perfect Amount of Dumb." Add this one to your gift list for a fresh dose of offseason inspiration.
"Slaying the Badger"By Richard Moore 2 of 12
Whether you know what happened between Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault in the summer of 1986 or not, Richard Moore's insightful look into one of the greatest Tours de France events of all time is a book that oozes with passion for the sport of cycling. Moore's writing draws you in such a way that you don't even care who wins—you just want to hear the story of these two great champions from this bygone era of cycling's more heroic years.
"Sex, Lies, and Handlebar Tape"By Paul Howard 3 of 12
One of my favorite books in any genre. The story of Jacques Anquetil, who is perhaps cycling's most stylish champion, is riveting, both for its content and for the writing itself. Howard digs deep into the life of Anquetil, getting under his skin in a way that few biographies manage. Couple this with Howard's ability to paint a picture with his words and you've got a cycling book that is a must read for anyone who's ever ridden a bike.
"Half Man Half Bike"By William Fotheringham 4 of 12
Eddy "The Cannibal" Merckx won 525 races during his lustrous career, including five Tours de France, four Giros d'Italia, two Tours de Flanders, three Paris Roubaix's and three World Championships, making him arguably the world's most complete and greatest cycling champion of all time. So how then, does an author manage to sum up all of who he was and what he accomplished into one book? Well, he can't, but for those of you who have no memory of who Eddy Merckx was, this a good place to start.
"Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi"By William Fotheringham 5 of 12
Make no mistake, the story of Fausto Coppi is a tragic one. In Fotheringham's biography, he begins with Coppi as a boy, growing up under dire circumstances, riding a rusty bike and taking the long route on his butcher boy deliveries. Though Coppi eventually became Italy's greatest champion, his exploits off the bike were not always as heroic, as his personal life was often marred with the frailty that was overshadowed by Coppi's determination and will on the bike.
"Le Metier"By Michael Barry 6 of 12
Ever wonder just how tough it is to race a full year on the professional circuit in Europe? Professional cyclist Michael Barry, through his wry observations, tells his inspiring account of just what it takes to ride day after day in the peloton. The photography is dramatic, the words needling, and the story unforgettable.
"Tour de France 100"By Richard Moore 7 of 12
I have a lot of photographic books chronicling cycling's greatest races. If you're looking for one on the greatest race of them all, look no further than "Tour de France 100." The photography is stunning and leaves no stone unturned, presenting each year of the Tour in an unbiased voice. Absorb the story through a lens that makes you feel like you were right there roadside for every stage of the race's storied history.
"Wide-Eyed and Legless"By Jeff Conner 8 of 12
British cycling hasn't always been Team Sky, Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins. Before there could be greatness, there had to be disasters. The professional cycling team ANC-Halfords was the disaster. "Wide-Eyed and Legless" is the story of how hard it is to be a team in the sport of cycling. Despite the pain and effort, this is a story of how it can still all go wrong. Conner provides a look at the Tour de France that isn't glamorous and is often the kind of story that goes untold.
"The Secret Race"By Tyler Hamilton 9 of 12
Doping is yesterday's news, but if you haven't gone too deep into the details of the UCI reports or Lance's interview with Oprah, this book does a good job of giving you the recap on all that is wrong with the drug-tainted era of cycling. Tyler Hamilton has nothing to lose because he's already lost it all, and that makes for a fascinating scoop inside what exactly it is that has gone on behind the scenes in cycling during the past 20 years.
"French Revolutions"By Tim Moore 10 of 12
This book borders on the lighter side of cycling, as author Tim Moore recounts his goal of riding the entire Tour de France itinerary in the year 2000. What unfolds is a hilarious romp across France, with some stories so ridiculous you won't believe it to be true, and others that leave you praying that they aren't. Either way you've got to read this book if you're in need of a laugh about the sometimes all too serious sport of cycling.
"Tomorrow We Ride"By Jean Bobet 11 of 12
The story of Louison and Jean Bobet, the former the first man to win three Tours de France in a row, is a fascinating personal look at two brothers whose lives are intertwined in the sport they have grown to love together. Among the topics that Jean recounts with candor are his devotion to his brother, the landscape of the professional peloton in the 1950's and what it was really like riding on the cobbled streets of Paris Roubaix and the eerie roads up the Mont Ventoux.