The Reading List: Cycling

Click to follow
The Independent Culture


Bicycle by Helen Pidd £14.99

As The Independent continues its Save Our Cyclists campaign, it's worth mugging up on ways to make cycling safer than it is. Helen Pidd's practical guide for the ordinary or would-be cyclist offers lessons in everything from staying upright to pedalling in high heels.


The Rider by Tim Krabbé; £8.99

A paean to pain and existential short story-cum-memoir, this timeless classic, written in the Seventies by the Dutch writer, cyclist and chess champion better known here for The Vanishing, gives the reader a backie as it weaves along the mind-bendingly brutal yet uplifting course of a half-day race in France.


Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne; £9.99

Not so much a book about cycling as a diary-meets-manifesto and sprawling travelogue that rides into the mind of a Talking Head as the musician and cultural observer offers his take on cities as diverse as Baltimore and Buenos Aries – and their people – from the perch of his beloved folding bike.

Tour de France

Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson by William Fotheringham; £8.99

Veteran Tour correspondent Fotheringham's biography of a troubled world champion, Olympian and the first Briton to wear the yellow jersey is as gripping as it is enlightening – and sad.Watched by thousands as he took on the fearsome Mont Ventoux in 1967, a drug and brandy-addled Simpson keeled over and died.


Cyclepedia: A Tour of Iconic Bicycle Designs by Michael Embacher, £19.95

This sumptuous photographic anthology of bicycle design is so drool-inducing it ought to be sold in brown paper. Covering 90 years of strange and beautiful cycle shapes, from the classic to the bizarre, it is also a tribute to the passion of its Austrian architect compiler. A book of few words, though it does have a foreword by free-wheeling fashion mogul Sir Paul Smith.