New books to buy your loved ones this Christmas
COVID-19 is still prominently placed in our day-to-day life, with more restrictions lurking on the horizon it’s now more acceptable than ever to spend the majority of our time within the comfort of our own home. While you can still safely head out for a daily ride, it is understandable that many of us do not feel up to leaving the house.
While you may enjoy spending your days playing games on your phone, some may prefer a more traditional approach to their free time and prefer to lose themselves within the pages of a captivating book. We’ve put together a list of books to keep you busy until the final freedom day. Featuring titles both new and old, this list may even help you choose a gift for your loved ones this Christmas.
1. Vuelta Skelter: Riding the Remarkable 1941 Tour of Spain by Tim Moore
Tim Moore, the author of the Sunday Times bestselling French Revolutions, completes his epic (and ill-advised) trilogy of cycling’s Grand Tours.
Julian Berrendero’s victory in the 1941 Vuelta a Espana was an extraordinary exercise in sporting redemption: the Spanish cyclist was a public figure who supported the Republican Cause. Upon reaching the Spanish border he was arrested and thrown into a concentration camp, where he remained for 18 months.
Seventy nine years later, perennially over-ambitious cyclo-adventurer Tim Moore developed a fascination with Berrendero’s story, and having borrowed an old road bike with the great man’s name plastered all over it, set off to retrace the 4,409km route of his 1941 triumph – in the midst of a global pandemic.
What follows is a tale of brutal heat and lonely roads, of glory, humiliation, and then a bit more humiliation. Along the way Tim recounts the civil war’s still-vivid tragedies, and finds the gregarious but impressively responsible locals torn between welcoming their nation’s only foreign visitor, and bundling him and his filthy bike into a vat of antiviral gel.
Vuelta Skelter is really three books in one. It’s the story of Moore’s own epic 2,760-mile, lung-busting, thigh-wrenching journey… It is a rich, kaleidoscopic look a the legacy of the Spanish Civil War… And it is also a tribute to Berrendero – a tough, dour loner who refuses to give an inch, either to the mountains or to the authorities… Moore wants to restore JB [Berrendero] to his proper place in the ranks of cycling legends. He succeeds superbly. – Roger Alton, Daily Mail, *Book of the Week*
Also featured in this series:
- French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France
Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy
2. Tour de Force: My history-making Tour de France by Mark Cavendish
Deep down, Mark Cavendish thought he was finished. After illness, setbacks and clinical depression, the once fastest man in the world had been written off by most. And at the age of 36, even he believed his explosive cycling career would fade out with a whimper. The Manxman hadn’t won a single Grand Tour stage in Italy, Spain or France since 2016.
But then came his incredible resurrection at the 2021 Tour de France. Included on the Deceuninck Quick-Step team at the very last minute, only after Sam Bennett suffered an injury, Mark set about rewriting history. He claimed back the green jersey he first wore in 2011, and his four stage victories finally saw him matching Belgian legend Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 Tour de France stage wins. Cycling greats are never content, and Cav’s dogged determination and inner strength had earned him the record that few believed he could ever achieve. This is his own intimate account of that race, right from the saddle of the miracle tour.
Mark Cavendish MBE is widely regarded as the greatest sprinter in the history of cycling and is the ‘Tour de France’s best sprinter of all time’, according to L’Equipe. Born and raised on the Isle of Man and having experienced early success on the track, ‘Cav’ joined professional road cycling team T-Mobile in 2006 as a stagiaire. During the 2008 season, he made his first big impact at the grand tours, winning two stages at the Giro d’Italia followed by four victories at the Tour de France at the age of just 22.
On the track, he became Madison World Champion in 2005, 2008, and 2016 and at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, he represented Great Britain in the Omnium event, winning a silver medal.
On the road, Cav has achieved a phenomenal 52 Grand Tour stage wins, has won points jerseys at all three grand tours, and in 2011 won the coveted green jersey at the Tour de France for the first time, as well as becoming UCI Road Race World Champion. His achievements led to him winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year, as well as receiving an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen. In the summer of 2021 Cav created history – in what many have called the greatest sporting comeback of all time – by equalling Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record of 34 Tour de France stage wins and winning the green jersey for the second time in his career in the process.
3. Women On Wheels: The Scandalous Untold History of Women in Bicycling from the 1880s to the 1980s by April Streeter
A feminist history of bicycling for sport and adventure spans a century of women who changed the world from two wheels. This vivacious tale, peppered with fascinating details from primary sources, shows how women were sometimes the stars of bicycle races and exhibitions, and other times had to overcome sexism, exclusion, and economic inequalities in order to ride.
From the almost burlesque show races and creative performances of the 19th century to the evolution of cycling as a modern sport and form of transportation, April Streeter brings to this book, her exuberant eye for character, fashion, and story to convey the evolving emotional resonance of bicycling for women and their communities. Interweaving pedal-powered history with profiles of bicyclists who made their mark, like Katharine Hepburn, Annie Londonderry, Kittie Knox, Dorothy Lawrence, Louise Armaindo, and more.
“Kept women and gamblers, lawyers, hustlers, soldiers in disguise pedaling to war, dreamers and pin-up girls…these women elbowed their way into the saddle, virtually forgotten by history. Thanks to Streeter and her finely written compilation, we know their names, and when they took the podium in front of men or dared to wear pantaloons to bike to work. Our helmets are off to these figures, and to Streeter!” – Ellee Thalheimer, author of Cycling Sojourner and Hop in the Saddle
4. End to End by Paul Jones
The End to End record is the longest place-to-place cycling record in Britain. It is a daunting 842 miles and for the men and women who attempt to break the record, there can be no second place, only the binary outcome of total success or failure. Paul Jones decided to ride from Land’s End to John O’ Groats in an attempt to understand the relentless physical and mental challenges involved.
End to End is a captivating and beautifully written narrative. A lyrical account of the journey sits alongside meetings with amazing cyclists; people like Eileen Sheridan; who covered the distance in under three days in 1954, or current men’s record holder Michael Broadwith who did it in a scarcely believable 43 hours. Paul Jones reaches further back to the very first attempts in the 1880s, undertaken on penny farthings, fuelled by Victorian values and patent medicine.
For the author, what starts as a simple way to frame the narrative transforms into a deeper search for meaning amidst the ceaseless clamour of life, work, and relationships. It becomes a trip through the contours of the mind as well as the map, from Bodmin Moor to Shap Fell, the Cairngorms, and the Caithness coast.
End to End is a portrayal of hope and ambition, of what happens when things go wrong and how hard it is to make them right. It is about courage, obsession, and joy, but above all else, it is a compelling exploration of why journeys matter for all of us.
“A brilliant book, a triple trip: one on the road, one in History, and one into the author’s mind. Cycling is about all that” – Paul Fournel
5. The Little Book of Cycling: Inspirational Quotes for Everyone, From the Novice to the Enthusiast by Orange Hippo!
There are many reasons why cycling has such enduring appeal. For some, it is the relaxation and freedom that biking offers – what could be better than pedalling away and leaving our troubles behind? For others, cycling is the perfect means of building strength and fitness. Indeed, it can be one of the most challenging sports on the planet – from amateurs testing themselves to the limit to professionals competing in some of the toughest races in the world.
Packed full of wise, witty, and inspirational quotes, The Little Book of Cycling is the perfect gift for cyclists of all levels. From the simple exhilaration of freewheeling downhill to the arduous challenges faced by the endurance cyclist, this is the ultimate ode to the love of two wheels.
All books are available to purchase online in both printed and ebook format, alternatively, they can be found in most high street stores.