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Best Cycling Books for Adults

Books About The Bicycle and Cycling Everyone Should Read

Cycling is about more than riding your bike. It’s a way of life for some. For others, an adventure. It can be both serious and hilarious, often on the same ride.

Below are some of the best cycling books for adults. Here’s a variety of books that are entertaining, instructive and sometimes emotional.

Also check out our list of the Best Cycling Books for Kids to inspire your young ones.

Reading Cycling Books for Adults

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Travelogues

French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France - Best Cycling Books for Adults

Author Tim Moore, self-confessed loafer-extraordinaire, is seduced by the glitz and glamour of the Tour de France. A 3,630 km route through every type of terrain. Moore decides to go for it. All of it. Every single kilometre.

An uproarious and laugh-out-loud funny story seeing Moore racing old men on butcher’s bikes, chasing cows and even attempting some race-type cheating too.

Tim Moore decides to tackle the 9,000 km Iron Curtain cycle route. 9,000 km? Pft! Too easy. Tim will ride on a old, tiny wheeled old German shopping bike with only two gears.

Let’s make it more interesting, Tim thinks. Let’s start in winter. It’s only the Arctic Circle, right?

Tim takes us on a funny and, at times, sentimental journey past derelict watchtowers, rusting barbed wire and the fallen communist dream.

Tim Moore is back and planning on cycling the 1914 Giro d’Italia route. Tim wouldn’t be Tim without adding an extra challenge so he decides to ride the route on a vintage bike of the era. Which are hard to come by and Tim isn’t made of money, you know. So he restores his own. Sort of.

Follow Tim’s journey of trials, tribulations and lots of falling off as he pedals up, down and along one of the toughest routes in Giro history. As always, Tim’s adventures are funny and endearing.

While watching cycling at the Olympics, Andrew Sykes starts thinking about going on his own adventures. He starts to plan.

Two years later, he has his route, his camping gear and Reggie, his new bike. The summer holidays arrive and he’s ready to go.

Following the Eurovelo 5 route, Andrew rides from his home through France, Luxembourg, pops into Germany and on into Italy to reach his destination of Brindisi in the south.

A light-hearted journey with joy and despair, soaring heights and a few lows.

Inspired by the success of his first trip, Andrew Sykes sets off on a new adventure with his faithful steed, Reggie, to ride through 10 countries on the coast of the Mediterranean. But he only has 9 weeks to ride 6,000 km.

Fighting his way up big hills, defying the humidity and armed with his trusty factor 50 suncream, Andrew has an entertaining and at times, difficult journey through former war-torn countries in the east and the more familiar vistas of the west.

Andrew writes a motivating and light-hearted tale of cycling along the Med.

Having had two cycling adventures, Andrew Sykes wants a third. Choosing to challenge himself, Andrew embarks on a journey from Europe’s most southern point in Tarifa, Spain to its most northern point Nordkapp, Norway.

Travelling 8,000 km through valleys, up mountains and along the open road, Andrew takes us on another insightful and wonderful journey that inspires and delights.

One Man and His Bike - Best Cycling Books for Adults

One Man and His Bike

by Mike Carter

One day Mike Carter is cycling to work in London. He doesn’t stop. He keeps going and cycles 5,000 miles around the British coastline. One Man and His Bike is the funny story of Mike’s five month adventure cycling around Britain encountering drunken priests, gnome sanctuaries and drag queens. An inspiring and hilarious tale of exploration and the kindness of strangers viewed from a bike.

It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels - Best Cycling Books for Adults

It’s All About The Bike is one man’s ode to the bicycle and how it can fill your life with happiness and change your world forever. Author Robert Penn has always ridden a bike. He talks about his journey to build his dream bike from meeting Californian mountain bike inventors to British artisan frame builders and how perfect components can make one man very happy.

Anna loves to cycle. So it makes sense to choose to ride 4,000 miles around the coast of Britain. A journey of self-discovery and a chance to learn more about the island on which she lives, Anna experiences highs, lows and epic scenery.

It’s not easy landing unprepared in a country like Japan. The eccentricities of the calendar, the indecipherable postal system, not to mention the alien alphabet, language and culture, have all to be confronted before the disorientated traveller can feel at ease. Trying to ride a bicycle through the streets of one of the most congested cities in the world would seem to compound your problems. For Josie Dew, however, with over 200,000 miles already clocked up in the saddle few things could be more challenging – or for the reader of A RIDE IN THE NEON SUN, more wonderfully entertaining.

From Kawasaki to Kagoshima, Odawara to Okinawa, Josie discovered a nation rich in dazzling contrasts. The neon and concrete were there in greater abundance than even she had imagined, but so too were bottomless baths, love burgers, long-tailed cocks, musical toilet rolls, oriental Elvises, cardboard police and a sense of fun belying the population’s rigourous work ethic.

Far from being the reserved race that she had heard about, the Japanese welcomed her into their homes with bountiful smiles and bows – and skin-scorching baths.

Josie Dew’s love of cycling has taken her across the world, travelling everywhere from Japan and Mexico to Iceland, India and Algeria. In her latest book, she sets off on another quirky and riotous ride, choosing to circumnavigate the coastline of the British Isles. And she discovers that her homeland can be as surprising and full of incident as anywhere she has ever been.

Beginning in Portsmouth, Josie sets off in a clockwise direction after a Shetland grandmother warns her that she’ll end up meeting the devil if she travels anti-clockwise. Through rain, hail, floods, bitter temperatures, minor earthquakes and dusty drought, Josie pedals on, eventually returning to Land’s End to complete Stage One of her remarkably lengthy odyssey along 5,000 miles of seaside, estuaries, creeks and islands.

But is all as it seems? Who is the mysterious builder who appears at all the wrong moments? Who are the two-wheeled taggers-on lurking in her wake? What did she find at Puckpool Point, Bozomzeal and Woon Gumpus? And how did Josie so badly miscalculate her approach to the seafront at Newhaven that she landed in France?

As a young girl, Josie Dew developed an overpowering urge to travel. She also fell out of a fast-moving vehicle and, rather inconveniently, developed a lifelong aversion to cars. Along came her first bicycle, and she has never looked back. Four continents, thirty-six countries and eighty thousand miles worth of astounding adventures, eccentric characters, varied cultures and ever-enduring optimism are the result of her travels.

From Saharan locust invasions to tree-climbing goats, and a customs official who wouldn’t let her leave India because ‘You are making me a very fine wife’, her encounters are described with honesty, wit and perception. Strange incidents and bizarre circumstances punctuate her journeys: in Nepal she met a team of Frenchmen running from Paris to China, and a cyclist on his way from one Olympic Games to the next. In Udaipur she was greeted by everyone with the refrain ‘Hello Mr. Jamie Bond Octopussy filmed here’, whilst her view of post-Ceausescu Romania, a nation suffering and starving, affected her both physically and mentally.

THE WIND IN MY WHEELS is informative, illuminating, and ceaselessly amusing.

Following on from the hugely enjoyable A RIDE IN THE NEON SUN, Josie takes us on the second part of her journey through Japan; a country whose keyword is peace, yet spends millions each year on high-tech armament. Josie’s travels are as fascinating as they are varied; she endures a horrific storm at sea, samples the deadly puffer fish and visits the two cities which will forever symbolise the horror of war: Nagasaki and Hiroshima. But wherever she goes, no matter how remote or industrious the area, Josie encounters the friendly, quirky and unbelievably generous Japanese people, from those who load her down with cabbages and cans of Pocari Sweat to one couple who left her the key to their shop – and told her to sleep by the till!

What should have been a straightforward five-week journey, crossing two oceans, passing through the Panama canal and taking in the islands of the South Pacific en route, turns into an epic journey of rough seas, clashing personalities and crises in the ship’s engine room. And when the Speybank receives an SOS from a yacht with a heart attack victim on board, it’s all hands on board deck for a daring sea rescue.

With various delays and detours, five weeks turns into six, then seven, then eight . . . and while the other passengers are quietly going mad with frustration, Josie develops unusual strategies to cope with the hours of potentially endless tedium on board.

As the journey progresses and the ship sails from the freezing seas of the north to the hot and steamy south, so the atmosphere on board approaches boiling point. Safety issues, personal disputes and unreasonable delays are top of the agenda for the passengers. Will they actually reach New Zealand before someone jumps ship, or is pushed . . . ?!

By most people’s standards, Josie Dew is hugely adventurous. By American standards, she is completely insane. For Americans drive everywhere: through cinemas, restaurants, banks, even trees. But driving past Josie as she pedalled across America was a new and alarming experience.

On her eight-month journey Josie experienced it all; race riots in Los Angeles, impossible heat in Death Valley, Sexual Tantric Seminars in Hawaii. From Utah to the Great Lakes, via improbable places like Zzyzx and Squaw Tit, her two-wheeled odyssey brought her into contact with all the wonders and worries of this larger-than-life country.

Highly entertaining, richly informative, TRAVELS IN A STRANGE STATE is a personal memoir of an improbable journey, revealing the United States as it is rarely seen – from the seat of a bicycle.

After two months on board a Russian container ship sailing 15,000 miles across the world, Josie finally arrives in New Zealand with her bike. Over the next nine months she cycles 10,000 kilometres all over North and South Islands while experiencing the wettest, windiest and stormiest year on record. During this time Josie was spat at, shouted at, honked at, and both run off and blown off the road. She got soaked, sunburnt, hailed on and snowed on and was alternately starved and over-fed, over-charged and under-charged.

Then there was the wildlife: the possums (both dead and alive): exotic birds such as moreporks (with their eerie call) and fantails (who decided to follow); the ostriches, who liked to chase English cyclists and the harriers, who liked to dive bomb them; the more familiar but no less frustrating farm animals, who provided sheep-jams and cow-blocks to slow Josie down.

In Long Cloud Ride, Josie brings New Zealand brilliantly to life. Warm, witty and acutely observed as ever, her latest adventure is sure to delight old and new fans alike.

Shortly after her tenth birthday, Dervla Murphy decided to cycle to India. Almost 20 years later, she set out to achieve her ambition. Her epic journey began during the coldest winter in memory, taking her through Europe, Persia, Afghanistan, over the Himalayas to Pakistan, and into India. This captivating account–Murphy’s first–is an enchantment that holds the reader to the final page.

A first-hand account of the life of travel writer Dervla Murphy in which she tells of her early life in Lismore, Co. Waterford, in her rather unusual household. Her father was the county librarian and her mother a chronic invalid. An only child, Dervla was allowed from the age of seven to freely roam on her own. At ten, she cycled ten miles to a local mountain, climbed it, then lost herself on the way down, and was forced to stay out all night – much to the distress of her parents.

Living in a house that was crumbling around their ears, she reveals how her family hid a Republican who was later hanged, how she tested herself (with hot water) to increase her pain threshold, how she avoided an insane and shrieking maid, who was convinced that Dervla’s parents were fried eggs, and how she helped another maid give birth under the kitchen table. An early love of books and writing, led her to enter a writing competition arranged by a local newspaper, and she won first prize for five weeks in a row.

When Dominic Gill set out from Alaska on his bicycle, it was to be no ordinary ride. His goal was to reach Ushuaia, the southernmost city in South America, and he was starting off far from confident and with barely enough food to last a week. But Dominic had a secret weapon: the spare seat. His bicycle was a tandem and he would invite strangers to join him on his long journey.

Over 26 months, Dominic covered 18,449 miles down the west coast of the Americas, passed through 15 countries, was looked after by countless strangers, crashed into a banana truck and was attacked by a man with a rusty machete. But Dominic’s journey wasn’t just an endurance challenge full of derring-do. While sharing his bicycle with 270 strangers who wanted to help him on his way, Dominic discovered a world that differed dramatically from the scare stories and the sensationalist press reports that had shaped his preconceptions about life in the Americas. What started as a physically demanding road trip turned into the inspirational adventure of a lifetime.

This new title from Bradt tells the inspiring and emotional story of Ishbel Holmes, also known as World Bike Girl , a Scottish-Iranian woman who became a champion racing cyclist in spite of having been abandoned by her family, and who set off on the adventure of a lifetime despite her lack of experience, money or equipment.

Ishbel Holmes was determined to cycle the world but her journey took a completely unexpected turn when, despite her initial instincts not to, she rescued a street dog in Turkey. Ishbel was lost and alone when she started on her epic trip, but in Lucy found a companionship never previously known. Between the two there formed a deep bond and their relationship was followed and supported by thousands of readers online, before becoming a media sensation overnight when Ishbel put out a plea for help to transport Lucy to an animal shelter three hundred miles away.

This heart-rending tale is about more than just the relationship between a woman and her dog. It is a testimony to the human spirit, overcoming present-day challenges and churning up long-buried and painful memories from Ishbel s earlier life. It is also a tale of adventure, one person s determination to cross an unfamiliar country by bike and the unforgettable scenes that greet her on the Turkey-Syria border and into Syria itself. And it is a loving portrait of Lucy, the street dog that was determined not to let Ishbel go and whose dogged persistence helped to break down the barriers around her heart and in so doing change her life in ways she had never imagined. Ultimately, this is a tale of love and healing, a modern fable that touches the soul and reminds us all of the need to belong.

When twenty-three-year-old Tom Allen and his friends set off from their English village to cycle around the world, they were expecting physical hardship, extreme conditions and a serious case of culture shock. But the hours spent poring over maps could never have prepared them for the experience of life on the road: the petty squabbles, the extreme hospitality, the unexpected joys and dangers.

And then Tom meets Tenny, a feisty Iranian-Armenian girl with dreams of her own, and hits a crossroad. Should he give up his grand plan for the girl he loves, or cycle off and risk missing out on the greatest adventure of them all?

At the age of 59, Ann decided that there was no time like the present and gave up her job to cycle round the world. Her first bike was stolen in Bulgaria, she was knocked down by a buffalo cart in India and battled with a parasitic illness in Malaysia. These were some of the challenges she had to deal with, but above all, what stood out for Ann was the depth of human kindness she experienced throughout her travels.

Desert Snow is the story of one girl, one bike and 1,000 beers in Africa. By daring to follow a dream and not letting fear prevail, Helen cycled across the Sahara, Sahel and tropics of West Africa, paddled down the Niger River in a pirogue, hitch-hiked to Timbuktu and spent three months traversing the Congo, which she thought she may never leave… A lot can change in 2 years, cycling 25,000km from England to Cape Town. So can nothing. Helen takes you with her on the journey through every high and low of her memories and misadventures. She describes a continent brimming with diversity that is both a world away from what she knows and yet not so different at all.

A Journey of Discovery driven by the Call of the Wild. In the depth of winter, Helen Lloyd spent three months cycling solo across one of the most remote, coldest inhabited regions of the planet – Siberia. In temperatures down to -50°C, she battled against the cold, overcoming her fear of wolves and falling through the ice of a frozen lake. Alone in a hibernating land with little to stimulate the senses, the biggest challenges were with her mind as she struggled with the solitude. With flashes of humour and riveting, graphic descriptions that will have you living each moment with her, Helen Lloyd describes the fear, uncertainty and joy of riding through a frozen, icy world. Yet, A Siberian Winter’s Tale is a touching story full of warm-hearted moments that are gifted to Helen by strangers along the Road of Bones.

In 2010, Stephen Fabes rode away from his career as an emergency doctor in London, on a journey that would see him ride the length of six continents; a cycling circumnavigation which took six years. Signs of Life is his story of a world of challenges – from Tajik camel spiders to camping on a frozen lake in Mongolia, to coaxing another few kilometres out of ‘Ol’ Patchy’ (his faithful inner tube), and of fascinating interactions with the people of seventy-five countries; from hospitable nomads and curious children to vindictive border guards and gangsters.

It is also a story of medicine calling Stephen back; he recalls his first pronouncement of death as he examines the frozen body of a monk high in the Himalayas; he is drawn into treating patients at a leprosy clinic; he helps refugees at The Jungle in Calais. All the while, he reflects on how societies treat their most vulnerable and draws comparisons with the lost souls he had treated back home in London; people who he resolves to truly listen to, when he returns to his vocation.

Sport

On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation’s Cycling Soul - Best Cycling Books for Adults

Ned Boulting sees bikes everywhere. In his book, he explores the British obsession with cycling discovering why Brits are nutty about bikes. He interviews some famous and important names in cycling including Sir Bradley Wiggibns, Chris Boardman, both Tommy Godwins and Gary Kemp (the chap from Spandau Ballet). Witty and thought-provoking, On The Road Bike is a great read for everyone.

The Rider - Best Cycling Books for Adults

The Rider

by Tim Krabbé

One of the best books written about cycling, the story follows the rider of a 137-km Tour de Mont Aigoual on a fast-paced and gripping ride through the French mountains. With steep hill climbs and break-neck descents, The Rider, is exciting and action-packed. A passionate tribute to cycling.

Training

Cyclecraft: The Complete Guide To Safe And Enjoyable Cycling For Adults And Children - Best Cycling Books for Adults

Cyclecraft is the complete guide to safe and enjoyable cycling for adults and children. Full of photos, illustrations and great advice, Cyclecraft takes you from choosing your first bike, setting up your bike  properly, and teaching you basic and advanced skills including how to ride on the road safely.

This book contains everything you need to know for yourself and to teach your children. Bikeability, the national standard in cycling, recommend this book to all their new instructors. Fully revised and updated.


Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life - Best Cycling Books for Adults

Becoming older doesn’t mean getting slower. Fast After 50 offers smart advice by America’s leading endurance coach to show how athletes can race and stay healthy after the age of 50.

Fast After 50 is a guide to high-intensity workouts, focused strength training, recovery, crosstraining, and nutrition for high performance:

  • How your body responds to training changes with age
  • How to adapt your training plan
  • How to avoid overtraining
  • How to lose body fat and increase muscle density
  • How to create a progressive plan for training, rest, recovery, and competition
  • Workout guidelines, field tests, and intensity measurement

Age is just a number after all.

History

Cycling’s Strangest Tales: Extraordinary But True Stories - Best Cycling Books for Adults

Weird and wonderful stories from the 200 years of cycling history. Included are the stories of Thomas Stevens who cycled around the world on a penny farthing, the 1904 winner of the Tour de France who was disqualified for catching the train, the circus man who jumped nine elephants on a bike, and the 1937 Japanese invasion of China with 50,000 bicycle-mounted troops.

Fascinating and intriguing, Cycling’s Strangest Tales will open your eyes to just what is possible on the humble bicycle.

Bicycle: The History - Best Cycling Books for Adults

Bicycle: The History

by David V. Herlihy

The bicycle, which we take for granted in current times, was an engineering marvel of the nineteenth century. From the first two-wheeled conveyance to the high-tech bikes of today, Bicycle: The History takes you on a journey to discover just how our mechanical steeds have developed from their humble origins. Explore decades of ingenuity and development, and how the bicycle changed the world.

Repair

The Bike Book: Complete Bicycle Maintenance - Best Cycling Books for Adults

The bestselling bike maintenance book recently revised with all the latest updates and developments. The Bike Book is one of the popular Haynes manuals. Fully illustrated and very user-friendly, this fantastic book gives you a step-by-step approach to keeping your bike in top condition.

Everything Else

The Cycling Cartoonist: An Illustrated Guide to Life on Two Wheels - Best Cycling Books for Adults

With over 100 cartoons of the funny world of cycling, The Cycling Cartoonist explores cycling in all its forms from road cycling to mountain biking, sportives to the simple commute.

A wonderful celebration of cycling and all its many facets.

The Rules: The Way of the Cycling Disciple - Best Cycling Books for Adults

Rule #6: Free your mind and your legs will follow.

Rule #9: If you cycle in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned.

Cycling is not a hobby or a simple means of transport. Cycling is a way of life, a culture and a reach for the divine. Here are The Rules, The Way of The Cycling Disciple, an essential part of every cyclist’s kit.

We hope you enjoy these cycling books for adults. Are there any other cycling books you think should be included in this list? Let us know in the comments below.

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