Book Club: The Rider

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read more then this is the book you should start with. If you haven’t made that resolution this year, then you should because not enough people are reading these days (myself included) — and make this book the first book you read:

Originally published in 1978, The Rider by Tim Krabbé is a rare example of great cycling fiction. Bike racing is an awesome sport so why don’t more writers write about it?

Anyone who’s ever raced a bike before knows that the subject matter makes for some great stories. You got allies, enemies, thrills, spills, speed, winners, losers, drama and glory. Regardless of the underdog nature of the cycling fiction genre, The Rider still shines as a great, solid book.

The entire book takes place during a one-day, 150-kilometer road race. The story begins as our protagonist rider pulls up to the race starting line and goes through his pre-race preparations while sizing up the competition.

From the moment the flag goes down, the race is narrated kilometer by kilometer as the reader is enveloped in the world of the peloton. The Rider is only 150 pages long, a quick read which takes slightly less time to finish than the race itself. I read it the night it was given to me for my birthday (thanks dad!). For those pages, nothing is held back. All the adrenaline, the fury, the pain and the agony is accounted for in this tale.

For all the suffering our racing hero goes through during the imaginary race, I love it because I’m reading it instead of riding it — but at the same time, I love it because it makes me wish I was riding it. Go grab yourself a copy and give it a read.

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