Best cycling books for two-wheeled bookworms

Whether you’re planning your next big adventure or you’re an avid cyclist looking for your next read, we’ve rounded up the best cycling books for insight into the world of two wheels

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There’s nothing better than getting out and about on two wheels, but you can't ride 24/7. But you can always tuck into the best cycling books when you're not in the saddle. 

Whether you’re looking for sporting biography, an insight into cycling culture around the world, or a gift for a Lycra-clad pal, these are the must-read cycling books.

1. Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling by William Fotheringham

An insight into the life of the last every Frenchman to win the Tour de France

Best for: Insight into one of the world’s greatest cyclists
Type: Biography
Pages: 368 pages
Writer: William Fotheringham
Reasons to buy
+Explores the history of French cycling+Gives an insight into the life of Bernard Hinault

As a 5 times winner of the Tour de France, there’s no doubt Bernard Hinault is a marvel, and you can get an awesome insight into his extraordinary life by reading this book. Using the time period in which Bernard Hinault becomes one of the most famous cyclists in the word, the writer delves into the history of French cycling, and ponder’s the reasons why, ironically, the last time a Frenchman won the world-famous race was way back in 1985. 

2. The Hour: Sporting Immortality The Hard Way by Michael Hutchinson

How many times can you cycle around a velodrome track in an hour?

Best for: Wanting to become a record holder
Type: Non-fiction
Pages: 288 pages
Writer: Michael Hutchinson
Reasons to buy
+A definite read for racetrack enthusiasts+An insight into the notorious ‘The Hour’

This book explores ‘The Hour’, the notorious but ever so simplistic concept - how many times can you get around the track in an hour? It’s a book that delves into the attempts made by various athletes, including Michael Hutchinson himself, to top the record for the most amount of laps made. From the preparation and training, through to the bike itself, any speed freak track enthusiast will appreciate the way in which the book explores this renowned race. 

3. The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail by Tim Moore

A fascinating account on all levels, and told with a sense of humour

Best for: Reflective
Type: Humour, travel writing
Pages: 352 pages
Writer: Tim Moore
Reasons to buy
+An insight into tackling the iron curtain+Explores an important part of history

The Iron Curtain, a wall that symbolises communist rule and runs 9000km long, and Tim Moore decides to cycle it… on a two geared East German shopping bike. He recounts the experience in this book, with a humorous tone that makes a light hearted read for an experience that would have been so tough and punishing. It also brings to light the efforts of the Soviet Union during the Cold War period and the realities of the East-West divide. 


A story that spins the rise of the Rwandan cycling team - an against all odds story

Best for: Inspiration
Type: Biography, travel writing
Pages: 304 pages
Writer: Tim Lewis
Reasons to buy
+Told from three perspectives+An inspiring account

Some people will argue that there’s no better read than one that leaves you feeling inspired and satisfied. As the title suggests, this book addresses how three people in history came together to instigate the rise of the Rwandan cyclist team and explores how each person uses this joint goal to take their second chance in life. Anyone who loves a triumph against adversity tale will love this book, which spins a different yarn to the usual, almost cliched rise from the depths of defeat tale.

5. Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France by Max Leonard

The most interesting tales can actually come from the back of the race

Best for: Tale of the underdog
Type: Biography
Pages: 272 pages
Writer: Max Leonard
Reasons to buy
+A look at human nature through the eyes of cycling+Tells the tales of the underdogs

When someone wins a race as big as the Tour de France, the media attention is focussed on the winner, not the loser. But actually, this book considers that the most inspirational tales come from the back end of the race, not the front.The loser’s story can often be the most inspirational, or the most entertaining and with that the case, you can expect this book to bring plenty of amusement, and some good old life lessons along the way. 

6. The Climb: The Autobiography by Chris Froome

Chris Froome, one of the most successful cyclists of all time - now you can get to know him

Best for: Inspirational memoir
Type: Autobiography
Pages: 448 pages
Writer: Chris Froome
Reasons to buy
+Inspirational+An insight into the journey to become world class
Reasons to avoid
-May need extra chapters very soon

It’s always gonna be an interesting read when a book allows you to get inside the head of one of the most successful cyclists in the world. Guiding you through his childhood in Kenya and South Africa and taking you alongside him as he trains to become the cyclist he is today, Chris Froome tells the inspirational tale of his life, and inspires you to reach your dreams, no matter what obstacles get in your way. 


A harrowing read that digs up one of the biggest secrets in the world of cycling

Best for: Tribute to Marco Pantani
Type: Biography
Pages: 384 pages
Writer: Matt Rendell
Reasons to buy
+Shows there’s always two sides to the story+In-depth tale of one of the biggest names in the sport
Reasons to avoid
-Rather harrowing

A book that unravels the reasons why Marco Pantani is found dead in a dingy hotel room years after the successes of both is Tour de France and Giro d’Italia wins. With insights from friends, relatives and psychoanalysts, Matt Rendell makes sure you’re given a well-rounded insight into the life of this famous cyclist, and why his life ended so abruptly. 

8. Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy by Tim Moore

Tim Moore strikes again by taking on another of history’s most challenging bike races

Best for: Humour and adventure
Type: Travel writing
Pages: 368 pages
Writer: Tim Moore
Reasons to buy
+Explore the realities of cycling in 1914+A humorous insight into one of history’s toughest challenges

If you’re a fan of comedic travel writing, you can’t get any better than Tim Moore. Combine a wooden, gearless 1914 road bike with the tribulations of the route of the 1914 Giro D’Italia and you have a tale that explores the realities of the road, the expectations of the riders and the trials that the participants went through to eventually cross the finishing line. In among that though, you as the reader, will be drawn into the scenery he encountered and the people that he met along the way, together creating a humorous, yet light-hearted narrative of a race that, back in the day, would only see 8 out of 81 riders finish. 

9. The Rider by Tim Krabbe

A short, but incredibly in-depth snippet into the mind of a cyclist tackling the Tour de Mont Aigoual

Best for: A cult classic**Type:**Fiction
Pages: 160 pages
Writer: Tim Krabbe
Reasons to buy
+Short, but incredibly sweet+One of the most celebrated sports books of all time

What goes through the mind of a cyclist pushing his body to the boundary of its limits? You’ll find out when you read this incredibly insightful book, written by celebrated Dutch rider, Tim Krabbe. You’ll be right beside him, or inside his head, as he takes on the toughest hills and thrilling descents. With critics raving about how moving and poignant this book is, we’re pretty sure that you won’t fail to enjoy it’s all but 160 pages.