Literature tips for cycling enthusiasts: The book on cycling – sport

18,000 kilometers, no rest day

Jonas Deichmann, born in 1987, is an extreme sportsman as it is written in books. The idea for the tour from the North Cape to Cape Town came to him when he was tearing down 23,000 kilometers on the Panamericana. In contrast, the mere 18,000 kilometers from Norway to South Africa should be a pure stroll, thinks Deichmann. He wants to undercut the previous world record – 102 days – by four weeks. His plan: 250 kilometers a day at a speed of 25, no days off.

“Cape to Cape. In record time by bike from the North Cape to South Africa” ​​by Jonas Deichmann and others, 160 pages, 29.90 eurosPhoto: promo

But the expected ride quickly turns out to be a “tour of problems”. Biting cold in Norway, truck smog in Iran, sandstorms in Sudan. The beautifully designed volume lives, in addition to the entertaining texts, from opulent images of Scandinavian lakes, Caucasian mountain ranges and African deserts – and in between Deichmann, how he tirelessly unwinds kilometers of slopes leaning on the triathlon handlebars.
Cape to Cape by Jonas Deichmann, Philipp Hympendahl and Tim Farin, Delius Klasing 2020, 160 pages, 29.90 euros

Queen of the pedals
Her family would have preferred her to become a seamstress. But Alfonsina Strada became a cyclist – and took part in the legendary Giro d’Italia in 1924, disguised as a man. The Spanish illustrator and author Joan Negrescolor tells her moving story in this children’s book with not even 200 words, but with expressive drawings.

For example, when the young Alfonsina rolled across the market square in Castelfranco Emilia in 1901 at the age of ten on her new bicycle and people called her “rascal”.

“As fast as the wind. The story of Alfonsina Strada” by Joan Negrescolor, 48 pages, 14.90 eurosPhoto: promo

Or when, disguised as a boy, she calls out to the world: “I, Alfonsina, will become a cyclist!” In his dynamic and partly abstract drawings, Negrescolor manages to capture the feeling of departure, the courage of a girl who defies social conventions – by cycling.

As fast as the wind by Joan Negrescolor, Small Shapes 2020, 48 pages, 14.90 euros

Thinker on the handlebars

Are cyclists mindless machines, trimmed only for performance and without any intellectual inner workings? Well, certainly not the participants of this particular Tour de France. Guillaume Martin pits philosophers against each other: Socrates and Aristotle, Kant and Marx, Pascal and Spinoza.

“Socrates on the racing bike. A Tour de France of the philosophers” by Guillaume Martin, 204 pages, 29.90 eurosPhoto: promo

Philosophy and cycling – the author is an insider for both. He finished eleventh in last year’s Tour de France, and his philosophy studies gave him the inspiration for this book: Sigmund Freud recognizes that suffering can become a drug and sees running as a masochistic pleasure.

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Blaise Pascal, for whom standing still means death, also trains on days off. Marx wants to organize the nameless drivers to break the dominance of the sprinter teams. At the end of the tour, the thinkers on the handlebars are already fixated on the next one. Following Albert Camus’ quote from Sisyphus, Martin writes: “You have to imagine these cyclists as happy people.”

Socrates on Guillaume Martin’s racing bike, Covadonga 2021, 204 pages, 29.90 euros

Streets that dreams are made of

Just reading this book is exhausting. For “Cyclist Ride”, the racing bike freaks from the British “Cyclist” magazine have ridden what they consider to be the greatest road routes in the world. They struggled up the Flüela Pass in Switzerland and mountain roads in the Pyrenees or the Himalayas.

“Cyclist – Ride. The greatest cycle paths in the world”, 224 pages, 24 eurosPhoto: promo

Your texts are a mixture of experience report and route description, the pictures are partly spectacular proof photos – for the hardness of the tours and the grandeur of the landscapes, the Scottish Highlands or breathtaking serpentine slopes of the Alps.

Most of the “rides” are in Europe, which increases the utility. A little more travel guide would have been good. Schematic maps only roughly outline where the hardships take place, information on distance (on average 130 kilometers per tour) and altitude can only be discovered at second glance. Everything else is left to your own adventurous spirit. Which can also be an advantage.
Cyclists – Ride. The largest cycle paths in the world, Octopus Publishing Group 2020, 224 pages, 24 euros