Monday, May 27, 2024

Book Reviews

“The Driller” by Bob Addy

If you’re a student of cycling history and want an insight into the 60’s and 70’s cycling scene then Bob Addy's book "The Driller" is a good read for you, taking you from Addy’s days as a youngster finding his feet in the sport through a successful amateur career representing his nation at the highest levels of the amateur sport in events like the Tour de l’Avenir and the savage, East European Peace Race, before turning pro and riding the Tour de France.

“Jan Ullrich” by Daniel Friebe

Daniel Friebe's book, "Jan Ullrich, the best there never was" covers his career and life in great detail with many interviews with his coach, Peter Becker and two of the men who attempted to manage their brilliant but erratic charge, Rudy Pevenage and Walter Godefroot - who no longer exchange Christmas cards - not to mention many of his Telekom team mates, and of course there’s the other ‘stuff’; Ullrich’s addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex; and most damaging of all, for a man whose job involves riding a bicycle up mountains - food.

“No Ordinary Joe” by Brian Jones

One of the nice things about this gig is that people sometimes send you cool cycling books to review, in this case, ‘No Ordinary Joe’ sub-titled ‘Cycling Legends 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, a unique collection of stories, USA & Canada.’

“A Boy From the Elephant” by Ron Keeble

Ron Keeble's childhood stories would make a good movie – it would need to be in black and white though, to get the mood right, and perhaps a French director? Full of mischief and close shaves with authority, two things that would follow him throughout his life. It’s safe to say that this is not your average cycling book.

“Oh, THAT Tour!” by Paul Jesson

Paul Jesson has recently finished his autobiography; ‘Oh, THAT Tour!’, the title coming from his introduction to the pro ranks. The book isn’t a conventionally structured tome, starting with a short chapter about the Paralympics time trial/road race bronze medal he came back and won in Athens some 24 years after his Vuelta stage win...

“Wheels of Steele” by Steele Bishop

I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Steele Bishop back in 2017, at which time he told me he was writing a book about his career: ‘Wheels of Steel.’ The book takes us from his first tentative rides right up to the current day by way of his amateur and pro careers and goes into the fascinating ‘small print’ of his three big bids for the Worlds, culminating in his Zurich success.

“I Like Alf” by Paul Jones

Paul Jones had the rather splendid idea of writing a book about the man who was British Junior Road Race Champion, British Kilometre Champion, twice British Team Pursuit Champion, six times British 25 Mile Time Trial Champion and who unearthed the Holy Grail of time testing - the 30 miles per hour 25 mile time trial ride; stopping the clock in 49 minutes and 24 seconds in August 1978; Alf Engers.