Books are one of the best ways to improve your cycling. Even if you’re not a cyclist, there’s still no excuse to not read a cycling book. There are so many different types of books, that it’s hard to know what to pick up. So, we’ve put together our favorite cycling books from this year, and we’re now sharing them with you. Here’s our list:
It’s easy to assume that every new cycling book is a winner. But just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s also a good one. Cycling enthusiasts are a fickle lot, and often forget the classics or are so invested in their new love that they can’t see what’s wrong with their old favourites.
BikeRadar reviews the top cycling books of 2021 – so what are you waiting for? Follow along with our cycling books reader’s guide where we round up the best books for cyclists.. Read more about best cycling books for beginners and let us know what you think.
We’ve got you covered whether you’re searching for a good cycling book to lose yourself in, inspiration or guidance, or a present for a cycling bookworm. According to the BikeRadar staff, these are the greatest cycling books.
There’s something for everyone here, from historical stories of the Tour de France and epic trans-continental journeys to training and nutrition guidelines and gorgeous coffee table books.
Because there is such a large variety, we’ve divided our selections into categories to help you narrow down your options and find something you’ll enjoy.
To go to a certain section, click one of the links below, or continue reading to see the whole list.
Professional cycling books
Allow your roadie buddy to get engrossed in tales of spectacular races. Various
If you’re shopping for someone who is a year-round race fan, one of the numerous books that highlight the finest of the racing calendar will be a hit.
The Tour de France’s Official History, Serge Laget (Serge Laget)
A commemoration of the world’s most renowned endurance marathon, including over 300 photos (some going back to the nineteenth century), reproductions of souvenir brochures, historical newspaper articles, posters, stickers, postcards, and much more.
Ned Boulting’s The Road Book 2020 (ed.)
For road cyclists, this almanac is like to a bible. It includes information on every WorldTour event throughout the year, as well as articles from prominent cyclists, team biographies, and anything else a true cycling enthusiast might desire.
Peter Cossins, the Yellow Jersey
The yellow jersey, perhaps the most recognizable garment in all of cycling, is already 100 years old. Interviews with several of its wearers, including Chris Froome, Thomas Voeckler, and Antonin Rolland, are included in this book.
Max Leonard’s Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France
The Lanterne Rouge, the cyclist who finished last in the Tour and whose name is seldom remembered, is at the opposite extreme of the spectrum. There are, however, some fantastic tales to be recounted, such as the breakaway leader who made a wrong route and the drug dealer who was delayed by his own concoction.
Colin O’Brien’s Giro d’Italia: The Story of the World’s Most Beautiful Bike Race
The Giro d’Italia, Italy’s equivalent to the Tour de France, is full with drama and colorful personalities. Many tales of hardship, feuds and betrayals, tradition under danger, and the riders’ own courage are told in this book.
The Monuments: The Grit and Glory of Cycling’s Greatest One-Day Races is a book on the grit and glory of cycling’s greatest one-day races. Cossins, Peter
The Monuments are grueling one-day races that the professionals value for a reason: they’re the longest, most difficult, and generally dirtiest. Peter Cossins delves into the tumultuous history of these legendary races, as well as the riders who have been immortalized by them.
To Hell on a Bike: Riding Paris-Roubaix, Cycling’s Toughest Race Iain MacGregor is a Scottish actor.
There’s a reason it’s known as the “Hell of the North.” Iain MacGregor takes on the difficult task of riding the Paris-Roubaix route while learning about its history and culture and interviewing some of the race’s luminaries in this book.
Biographies and autobiographies about cyclists
Cycling is full with interesting people; why not write a biography about one of them? Various
If you’re shopping for someone who adores one of cycling’s many personalities, a book about their life is a nice gift.
My Journey to the Yellow Jersey: The Tour According to G, Geraint Thomas is a Welsh actor.
After years of poor luck, accidents, and self-sacrifice, Geraint Thomas finally earned his yellow jersey.
My Universe, Sagan, Peter
Sagan isn’t only one of the best cyclists of all time; he’s also one of the most entertaining. His book gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at his world of mayhem.
William Fotheringham’s Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike
Eddy ‘The Cannibal’ Merckx has a tale that is only half-told. Behind the legend was a sensitive and nervous guy who had been through a terrible injury, a doping scandal, and tragedy.
Chris Froome’s autobiography, The Climb: The Autobiography
The autobiography of Chris Froome takes us from the sandy roads of Kenya, where he was born, through his second Tour de France victory.
Nicole Cooke’s The Breakaway
Nicole Cooke’s book recounts the harrowing story of her battle to achieve the fame and fortune that her male contemporaries enjoyed so easily during cycling’s worst era of doping.
William Fotheringham’s The Greatest: Beryl Burton’s Life and Times
Beryl Burton is one of the most well-known names in British women’s racing, having dominated the sport in the 1960s and 1970s. This biography, which was released in time for this year’s World Championships in Yorkshire, delves into the life of the legend.
Matt Rendell’s biography of Marco Pantani is titled The Death of Marco Pantani: A Biography.
Pantani’s death at a cheap motel shocked the cycling world, since he was remembered as the legendary double champion of the Tour and Giro in 1998. Matt Rendell recounts the entire tale of Pantani’s brief but spectacular career, drawing on his personal experience as well as interviews with his psychoanalysts, family, and friends.
Adventure planning books are available.
Assist the bikepacker or climber in your life in planning their next trip. Various
Only planning an adventure is better than actually embarking on one. So, whether you’re shopping for a bivvying bikepacker or a masochistic mountain climber, there’s sure to be something here to pique their interest in planning their next big adventure.
Mountain Bike Camping Adventures on Britain’s Wild Trails, Bikepacking: Mountain Bike Camping Adventures on Britain’s Wild Trails, Laurence McJannet is a Canadian actor.
This lovely book details a variety of off-road routes throughout the UK, divided by area, as well as recommendations for where to eat and stay if camping isn’t a possibility.
Alastair Humphreys’ book Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes
Introduce your giftee to the realm of microadventuring – something inexpensive, easy, and close to home – if your giftee’s time and resources are restricted.
Joshua Cunningham’s book Escape by Bike: Adventure Cycling, Bikepacking, and Off-Road Touring
Joshua Cunningham provides some of the finest practical tips for arranging trips overseas, from making travel reservations to packing and navigating, after cycling from London to Hong Kong over 11 months and traveling through 26 countries.
The Complete Guide to Scotland’s Bothies and How to Reach Them, The Scottish Bothy Bible, Allan, Geoff
Why not buy the complete guide to Scottish bothies for your bikepacking buddy who is planning a trip to Scotland? It will both motivate them and assist them in finding refuge when they are in need.
Lost Lanes is the first book in the Lost Lanes series. Thurston, Jack
If people want to go by car, Jack Thurston’s Lost Lanes series offers a variety of routes throughout the United Kingdom. The books also provide GPX tracks that may be downloaded. Thurston has written books on the forgotten roads of the West Country and Wales, in addition to Southern England.
The Greatest Cycling Climbs in the United Kingdom, Warren, Simon
Simon Warren is Britain’s most experienced hill climber, with eight regional climbing guides covering the South East and West, the North East and West, the Midlands, Yorkshire, Scotland, and Wales. That isn’t even taking into account his previous works on Italy, Belgium, and the Tour de France.
Ride Europe’s Greatest Cycling Stages with Ultimate Etapes. Cossins, Peter
With this important reference to the most famous stages of contemporary cycling, your buddy will be eager to ride the finest routes in Europe. It’s designed for riders of all levels and includes comprehensive route descriptions, maps, elevation profiles, and recommendations for additional rides in the area.
Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of the World
This Lonely Planet book, organized by region, recounts 200 incredible rides across the globe. Each route includes a map, helpful hints, and beautiful photos. This hardcover is stunning and would make an excellent coffee table book.
Cycling trips and travelogues that will inspire you.
For the time being, they may live vicariously via them if they want to travel the globe. Various
Don’t we all like hearing about other people’s lives? If you’re shopping for someone who wants to do something new, one of the greatest things you can do is introduce them to someone who has previously done it – let an inspiring tale do the talking.
From beginning to end, Jones, Paul
The book’s tales and characters are fascinating, raw, and extremely humorous, despite the fact that it is ostensibly about pursuing the Roads Records Association end-to-end record (cycling 850 miles around the length of Britain from Land’s End to John O’ Groats).
Where There’s a Will: Hope, Grief, and Endurance in a Continent-Wide Cycle Race, Emily Chappell is a writer and a musician.
Emily Chappell is a seasoned ultra-endurance runner who has won a number of races including the Strathpuffer, the Transatlantic Way, and, most importantly, the Transcontinental Race in 2016. Her most recent book is a very familiar tale of self-doubt, self-discovery, sorrow, and accomplishing the seemingly impossible.
The Ride is the Mind, McDonald’s Jet
Jet McDonald’s blend of cycle touring, bike anatomy, and philosophy is a really unusual reading experience that will have the reader reciting Descartes while contemplating the inner workings of their bottom bracket, all while riding to India.
Felicity Cloake, one more croissant for the road
This is a phrase that every biker understands. Felicity Cloake rode 2,300 kilometers through France, sampling the finest of the country’s cuisine along the route. A charming account of her adventurous trip that will have your recipient yearning for a bike ride and a madeleine.
Nick Hand’s Conversations from Land’s End to John O’Groats
Nick Hand’s bicycle is a printing machine, not a bicycle. He took it on an LEJOG trip and used it to record and publish discussions with individuals he encountered along the route. The outcome is a charming collection of interactions, complete with beautiful photographs.
Tim Moore’s book, The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail, is about a cyclist who went out in the cold.
Tim Moore is, in many ways, Bill Bryson on two wheels. He rides a small-wheeled, two-geared shopping bike around the 9,000-kilometer Iron Curtain route in this installment. Is there anything more I can say?
With the sun on our backs, we’re in for a treat. Tim Moss is a writer and a musician.
While there are numerous round-the-world cycling tales out there, what sets With the Sun on Our Right apart is its emphasis on human interactions and people’s genuine hospitality. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also a fascinating look into Moss’s mental health, which will hopefully encourage more guys to discuss this vital subject.
Back in the Frame: How to Get Back on Your Bike No Matter What Life Throws at You is a book on how to get back on your bike no matter what life throws at you. Walker, Jools
Lady Vélo, as she’s sometimes called, tells a lovely tale about rekindling her passion for riding after a lengthy hiatus. She speaks candidly about how cycling affects her mental health and how she created a place for herself as a woman of color in a highly white and male dominant profession, from her early shaky days on her Pashley Princess to taking on the Eroica.
Books about cycling nutrition and training
Get them something to assist them with their training for a more practical approach. Various
Perhaps you have a friend or loved one who is preparing for a certain event and could use some encouragement. Help them discover some useful information in these cycling-specific training and nutrition tips.
Alan Murchison’s The Cycling Chef: Recipes for Performance and Pleasure
Alan Murchison is a Michelin-starred chef as well as a world-class athlete. In this book, he offers 65 recipes for nutritionally balanced, fueling meals that he prepares for British Cycling riders.
The Cycling Mind: Psychological Skills for Peak Performance on the Bike – and in Life, is a book on the psychological skills needed for peak performance on the bike and in life. Ruth Anderson is a well-known author.
Ruth Anderson, British Cycling’s Lead Psychologist, is well-versed in the mental obstacles that may sabotage performance. She describes the athlete’s psychological journey from training to racing in The Cycling Mind, providing practical advice on how to keep pushing ahead even when things are tough.
How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life, Fast After 50, Joe Friel is a character in the film Joe Friel
Who says that when you grow older, you have to slow down? Fast After 50 is a book for endurance athletes who wish to keep pushing themselves beyond what they may consider their prime. It provides high-intensity exercises, strength training, cross-training, recuperation, and nutrition that improves performance.
Joe Friel’s book The Cyclist’s Training Bible: The World’s Most Comprehensive Training Guide
This thorough book, now in its fifth edition, will assist ambitious cyclists in developing a customized training plan and providing them with all the knowledge they need when preparing their next major challenge.
The Science of the Tour de France: World-Class Cyclists’ Training Secrets, Witts, James
Give them the encouragement they need to grow. This book has contributions from Marcel Kittel, Peter Sagan, and Bauke Mollema, and it delves into the cutting-edge science behind the professionals, from power meters to race strategy.
The Nutritional Strategies and Recipes Behind Grand Tour Wins and Olympic Gold Medals, is a book on the nutritional strategies and recipes used by Grand Tour winners and Olympic gold medalists. Mitchell, Nigel
Nigel Mitchell is the head of nutrition for the EF Education First Pro Cycling team, and his book is a useful guide for any rider seeking to enhance their performance via nutrition. It avoids pseudo-science and instead focuses on stories and case studies from actual motorcyclists.
History of cycling books
Give the bike geek in your life some gripping reading material. Various
When you’re enthusiastic about something, it’s natural to want to read all there is to know about it. If you know someone who enjoys riding as much as you do, give them something they can truly get their teeth into.
Victorian Women Inventors and their Extraordinary Cycle Wear, Bikes and Bloomers, Jungnickel, Kat
Bikes and Bloomers is a unique cycling history book that follows the development of women’s riding gear and recounts the narrative of how the simple bicycle led to women’s emancipation. It is based on extensive archival research and serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come.
Cycling and Movies, Bennett, Bruce
Bruce Bennett looks into the history of the bicycle in film, covering everything from early twentieth-century slapstick comedy to Hollywood blockbusters and everything in between. Bennett makes the argument throughout that the bike is a vehicle of social and political change in addition to being a source of pleasure and transportation.
The Festina Affair and the Tour That Almost Wrecked The End of the Road: The Festina Affair and the Tour That Almost Wrecked Alasdair Fotheringham, Alasdair Fotheringham, Alasdair Fotheringham,
The Tour de France in 1998 was not without drama. This is the first English-language book that looks deeply into the Festina incident, when sports physiotherapist Willy Voet was detained on the French-Belgian border mid-race.
How the Bicycle Reinvented Modern Britain is a book on how the bicycle reinvented modern Britain. Manners, William
From its impact on fashion to the freedom of mobility it provided, Manners’ first book chronicles the significance of cycling in 1980s Britain. This well-researched history is as amusing as it is instructive.
Women on the Move: The Forgotten Era of Women’s Bicycle Racing is a book on the forgotten era of women’s bicycle racing. Gilles Roger
Roger Gilles, staying in the 1890s but crossing the Atlantic, examines the early days of women’s racing, focusing on how it flourished from 1895 to 1902. Lizzie Glaw, Tillie Anderson, and Dottie Farnsworth, to mention a few, are among the finest female racers of the period.
Nige Tassell’s book Three Weeks, Eight Seconds: The Epic Tour de France of 1989
Another famous Tour, the 1989 Tour de France, saw Greg LeMond win by 50 seconds over Laurent Fignon at the finish line. Nige Tassell brings this incredible tale to life. The two competitors had been fighting it out for three weeks, with the yellow jersey being handed back and forth.
The Great Bike Race: The Classic, Acclaimed Book that Introduced a Nation to the Tour De France is a classic, acclaimed book that introduces a nation to the Tour De France. Geoffrey Nicholson (Geoffrey Nicholson)
The Great Bike Race, first published in 1977, is widely regarded as the definitive English-language book about the Tour de France, and it has been republished this year to let more people to enjoy it. The original book, which told the tale of the 1976 Tour de France in all its splendor, was the one that first exposed us to the Tour outside of France.
Coffee table books about cycling
If you have a buddy who enjoys flaunting their riding prowess, a good large hardback would suffice. Various
You can’t go wrong with a large, hardback book full of gorgeous pictures or funny cycling cartoons if you’re not sure what to get the cyclist in your life.
Mark Hudson’s Rough-Stuff Fellowship Archive
The Rough-Stuff Fellowship is the world’s oldest off-road bicycle club, having been established in 1955. Its collection, which includes beautiful photography, hand-drawn maps, and papers, is shared with the world in this wonderful book. It’s a genuine relic from a bygone age.
Cycling in 100 Objects is a book that tells the narrative of cycling through 100 objects. Suze Clemitson is an actress who plays Suze Clemitson.
This book may come in useful around the home, whether you want to share some interesting facts at the dinner table or answer a barrage of inquiries about the sport you like. What is the significance of the yellow jersey? What impact did bloomers have on bicycle design? What is the origin of Graeme Obree’s nickname “Old Faithful”? Give the answers to someone.
The Cycling Cartoonist: An Illustrated Guide to Life on Two Wheels is an illustrated guide to life on two wheels. Dave Walker is a writer and a musician.
The cartoons by Dave Walker will appeal to every rider that picks up this book. Walker, a genuine N+1 proponent, offers some excellent remarks on bikers’ behaviors, providing a fantastic chance to laugh and stop taking themselves so seriously.
Isabel Best’s Queens of Pain: Cycling’s Legends and Rebels
You know it’ll look nice since it’s published by Rapha Editions. Queens of Pain follows the heroines of women’s professional racing from the 1890s through the 1990s, tracing their origins as stunt women, speed skaters, moms, shop assistants, and delivery girls.
Michael Blann’s book, Epic Cycling Climbs, is about epic cycling climbs.
Help your giftee bring the mountains home with them if they live in the mountains. This high-end coffee table book has beautiful photos shot over a three-year period to document some of Europe’s most renowned cycling peaks. Personal memories from Greg LeMond, Lizzie Armistead, Geraint Thomas, and others are included in the book.
Michael Embacher’s Cyclepedia: A Tour of Iconic Bicycle Designs
This book will appeal to anybody who loves the aesthetics of a nice bicycle. It has a one-of-a-kind collection of over 250 bicycles that show how far bikes have progressed. It’s a carefully selected collection of some of the world’s most beautiful bicycles, and it’s a genuine ode to our passion for all things two-wheeled.
After nearly two decades of living on this planet, I’m finally part of the cycling books club. But far from being a victim of my own success, cycling books are now essential for a cyclist looking to improve their training.. Read more about best cycle travel books and let us know what you think.
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