Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Top ten books about cycling

Matt Seaton, author of the memoir The Escape Artist, is editor of the Guardian's "Comment is free," a former cycling columnist, and a self-proclaimed "all-round bike nut."

In 2005 he named a top ten list of books about cycling for the Guardian. One title on the list:
The Rider by Tim Krabbé

Krabbé is probably best known in this country as the author of the novel adapted as the film The Vanishing, but in his native Netherlands The Rider is his bestselling book. As a young man, Krabbé's forte was chess - in his late teens, he was inside the top 20 players in Holland - and he only discovered a talent for cycle-racing relatively late in life, in his 30s. That new-found passion eventually found its way into this autobiographical novella about a bike race in south-west France, but the chess knowledge still figures as Krabbé narrates the intricate battle of tactics and psychology as the race plays itself out against the bleak landscape of les causses. Like much of Krabbé's oeuvre, The Rider has a strange, dark, philosophical flavour: it is both a paean to pain and a hymn to the fellowship of the road. Nothing better is ever likely to be written on the subjective experience of cycle-racing.
Read about the other nine books on Seaton's list.

--Marshal Zeringue