Best Cycling Books: The Sportive Cyclist Guide

I like to write. I also like to read. I also like to cycle. I like to read cycling books.

If you’re reading this blog (literary titan that it is), I’m sure you like to read cycling books as well.

On this page I give you a selection of my favourite books about bikes.

Note: The links to Amazon below are affiliate links. If you click and buy something, I will get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Best Road Bike Maintenance Books

Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance

Lennard Zinn

Even though I am not averse to using YouTube videos to guide my road bike maintenance endeavours, I find this book even more useful.

In addition to containing information on pretty much every maintenance job you might like to attempt on your trusty steed, it contains handy reference materials including torque tables for every bolt and screw and a comprehensive glossary.

A worthy (nay, vital) addition to every amateur (and semi-pro) workshop.

Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance
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Best Cycling Training Books

The Cyclist’s Training Bible

Joe Friel

‘Bible’ is a grand claim to throw into a book title, but Friel carries it off. This book contains all the information you need to build an effective, structured training programme.

Not one for beginners (it’s aimed at the performance / racing road cyclist) but put the advice into practice and you’ll get fitter… faster!

Here is a long post I wrote on the subject of cycling fitness training, which draws heavily on the content in The Cyclist’s Training Bible.

Buy the paperback rather than Kindle version due to the large, detailed tables used in the book.

The Cyclist's Training Bible
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Fast After 50

Joe Friel

A really interesting read for the more mature MAMIL (or WILMA).

Written by the same guy that wrote the ‘Bible’ (see above), Fast After 50 helps riders of ‘a certain age’ build fitness, improve performance and reverse (or at least hold back) some of the effects of ageing.

Click here to read my full review

Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life
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Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance

Matt Fitzgerald

I have waxed lyrical about how great this book is in a number of blog posts about losing weight (or more correctly, getting lean). Since reading it 3 months ago, I’ve lost 4kg and my body fat has dropped from 18.9% to 15.9%.

The book contains sensible, pragmatic advice based on how top performing endurance athletes eat. There are no fads or gimmicks.

Highly recommended.

Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance
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Best Cycling Books For Beginners

Sportiveur: A Beginner’s Guide To Training For, Completing and Enjoying Your First Sportive

Andrew Montgomery

Yes, this is my book. By me. On Amazon!

Worth clicking through just to read some of the reviews…

Sportiveur: A Beginner’s Guide To Training For, Completing and Enjoying Your First Sportive
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Best Books About Cycling

How I Won The Yellow Jumper

Ned Boulting

An account of ITV sports Ned Boulting’s experiences reporting from his first few Tours de France, including gaffes, cultural confusion and transportational discomfort.

A light-hearted but loving look at the Tour. A great book if you want to get up to speed on ‘how the Tour works’ or if you simply enjoy well-written, humorous prose (I know you do!)…

How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de France
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On The Road Bike

Ned Boulting

The follow up to How I Won The Yellow Jumper (in that it’s a second book about bikes, written by Ned Boulting). This book investigates the ongoing re-blossoming of Britain’s love affair with road cycling.

On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation’s Cycling Soul
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It’s All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness On Two Wheels

Robert Penn

A lovely book recounting the author’s experience travelling around the world to source each of the individual components needed to build his perfect road bike. His trip takes him to Italy for gears and handlebars, to the US for the wheels and to Stoke-on-Trent for the frame…

It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels
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French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France

Tim Moore

I first read this book almost 10 years ago (so before the most recent resurgence in British cycling interest) and I’m pretty sure I’ve read it since (a good sign). The tale of a writer from London simply deciding to ride the route of the Tour de France one summer, without much training and without much clue.

French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France
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The Rider

Tim Krabbe

I’m not sure whether this book falls under light relief. It almost deserves a category of its own: cycling literary fiction. Don’t let that put you off though. It’s a must read, and not at all hard to get through.

It’s the fictional first-person account of a local cycling race in France and it captures everything you need to know about bike racing.

Anything I say will undersell this book. Just read it.

The Rider
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Faster

Michael Hutchinson

A book on the science of cycling performance, written by the well-known (at least in velo circles) high level time trialist turned cycling journalist.

Although not an autobiography (the book is organised thematically rather than chronologically), ‘Faster’ draws on Hutchinson’s experiences trying optimise every aspect of his riding in order to achieve his best possible performance. No stone is left unturned.

I thoroughly enjoyed enjoyed the book, and you can find my review here.

Faster: The Obsession, Science and Luck Behind the World's Fastest Cyclists
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Best Books About Professional Cycling

Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France

Richard Moore

Slaying the Badger: LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France
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Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar

David Millar

Racing Through the Dark
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The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs

Tyler Hamilton & Daniel Coyle

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France
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Project Rainbow: How British Cycling Reached the Top of the World

Rod Ellingworth

Project Rainbow: How British Cycling Reached the Top of the World
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At Speed

Mark Cavendish

At Speed: My Life in the Fast Lane
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My Time

Bradley Wiggins

My Time
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Put Me Back On My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson

William Fotheringham

Put Me Back on My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson
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Easy Rider: My Life on a Bike

Rob Hayles

Easy Rider: My Life on a Bike
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Best Books About Cycling Routes And Climbs

100 Greatest Cycling Climbs – A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills

Simon Warren

A nice little book detailing the author’s top 100 climbs to ride in Britain. Some are famous (in the UK at least); some less so. Each climb has a photo, description, key statistics and a difficulty rating.

Some will complain about the omission of their favourite climb. Complainers should write their own book. It’s nice to have a list of climbs to tick off and compare experiences of.

Here are my posts on two of the climbs that feature in the South-East chapter of the book: Leith Hill and Box Hill.

Although its a small book (i.e. in height), being a guide book, you probably want to own it in paperback rather than ebook format.

100 Greatest Cycling Climbs
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Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills

Simon Warren

What’s this? Another 100 British climbs, described, documented and diagrammed for your delectation?

Why, yes it is.

I’ve bought both books. If you’re interested in becoming a hill-bagger (is that a term?), I suggest you do the same.

Get the paperback, for the same reason as mentioned above.

Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs
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Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic road cyclist with only moderate talent. He started Sportive Cyclist in 2013 to record the journey to his first 100 mile ride, the RideLondon 100. Over time the blog has expanded to include training advice, gear reviews and road cycling tales, all from the perspective of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Since you're here, Monty would also like you to check out his YouTube channel. Also, Monty really needs to stop referring to himself in the third person.

1 thought on “Best Cycling Books: The Sportive Cyclist Guide”

  1. The Rider from Tim Krabbé is awesome. One of my favourites.

    I would add the book called “The All-Road Bike Revolution” from Jan Heine (René Herse Cycles) to the list if you are interested in what makes your bike fast, comfortable and reliable. Highly recommended.

    Reply

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