Showing posts tagged read the black line

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.

Book Club: Cyclist’s Training Bible

Okay a delayed start to today’s posts. Here’s the second installment of the RTBL Book Club.

The Cyclist’s Training Bible is exactly what the title implies — the ultimate guide for racers and riders looking to improve their own fitness levels, whether for competition or to meet one’s own personal goals/challenges. It’ll to help you design a comprehensive personal training program tailored to your needs. Be your own coach!

Author and world-renowned coach Joe Friel touches on the many details that a cyclist needs to pay attention to from gauging your current ability to planning your training year to scheduling your weekly and daily workouts. There are also great chapters on recovery, nutrition, weight training and staying motivated. Friel doesn’t go into great detail on any of those subjects (there are other books that specialize specifically in details like that) but that helps keep the book a quick and easy read.

The best part is that The Cyclist’s Training Bible is a guide that encourages you to set your own goals and set up your training program to work on what you need to work on. While the book was written for road/endurance cyclists, us trackies can derive a great benefit from following Friel’s training principles. The menu of workouts makes it just as easy to focus on top speed as it is to focus on endurance or power. You assume the role of coach in this book, unlike some other training books on the market which do the coaching for you.

If you can’t afford to hire a coach, I highly recommend The Training Bible to aid your training and keep you focused. Even if you have a coach, it’s still a great read to help understand things like periodization, the dangers of overtraining and the importance of proper recovery. So no matter what your goals are for the upcoming season, check out The Cyclist’s Training Bible to help you achieve them.

The latest edition of The Cyclist’s Training Bible is available at VeloGear. Joe Friel has a lot more where that comes from too. You can check out some of his other books but I definitely recommend following his blog for free training tips during the season.

Book Club: Panniers & Peanut Butter

This is the first entry in the RTBL Book Club — to help you get your head out of the interwebz and into a book. Seriously, reading a book from cover to cover seems like a lost art these days. All that said, my first featured book is something readily available on the internet.

Aside from my passion for riding in circles, I also love to ride for long distances. Right now is the perfect time for bike touring or bike camping here in Southern California. So it’s good timing for Russ Roca and Laura Crawford to drop their touring gear guide, Panniers And Peanut Butter.

Over a year ago, Russ and Laura left their home in Long Beach to embark on a grand bicycle adventure. They’ve been travelling across the United States on a couple of loaded Surly Long Haul Truckers ever since while keeping all of us updated with their blog, The Path Less Pedaled — which I have been following with great envy since day one.

Having been living on bicycles for so long, Russ and Laura have been able to narrow down a keen wisdom as to what gear works and what doesn’t. Panniers And Peanut Butter is an accumulation of their experiences and knowledge born out of a deep passion for their chosen method of travel plus an eagerness to make sure you have a great experience on your travels too.

It harkens back to the bike touring guides of the mid-70’s — a few of which I’ve been able to collect on my bookshelf. Only a couple things remain the same over the years (like the Trangia stove) so it is nice to have an updated gear list with equipment readily available in the here and now. From the bike to the tent to the wardrobe, the 75-page book is full of tips and recommendations for both shorter trips and extended tours. Most importantly, for those of us who might just be getting into bike touring, a guide like this helps out with the most important aspect of preparing for a journey: bringing only what you need.

Panniers And Peanut Butter is available in PDF format. If you are at all into bike touring or even thinking about the possibility, I highly recommend reading it and also reading Russ and Laura’s blog, The Path Less Pedaled. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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