We’re finding that the next best thing to riding out there in the great outdoors is reading about bikes and the outdoors. Less riding time has equalled more reading time around here, so we took a look through our bookshelves to pick out our favourite bike and outdoors titles. What great reads are we missing out on? We’d love to hear your recommendations over on our social channels – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter.
The Giro d’Italia – Dino Buzzati
A sometimes unconventional account of Coppi vs Bartali at the 1949 Giro. Buzzati’s poetic style might suffer a little in the translation, but it’s a fascinating account of the (best?) Grand Tour as two giants of Italian cycling go head to head over the length of post-war Italy from Palermo to Monza.
A Dog in a Hat – Joe Parkin
Want to turn pro? Move to Belgium… Parkin was amongst the first wave of American riders to make the jump straight into the heartland of European road racing in the mid-1980s. Beautifully written, it’s an eminently readable tale of one rider’s immersion into a sometimes murky world.
The Immortal Class – Travis Hugh Culley
Culley took to bike messengering in Chicago to make ends meet whilst working in the arts and found more than just a paycheck in the culture of couriering as he races from pick-up to drop-off through the mean city street. Great descriptions of some hectic riding – chapter eight still gets the palms sweaty.
Hostile Habitats – Scottish Mountaineering Trust
A diverse and detailed introduction to Scotland’s mountains and their natural and man-made environments that’s a great read for all outdoor enthusiasts. Packed with photos and illustrations it’ll help any adventurous upland cyclist understand the often fragile world around them. Recently re-issued as an expanded second edition.
How To Rock and Roll : A City Rider’s Repair Manual – Sam Tracy
Less of a repair manual, more of a slightly sweary delve into the mind of a seasoned bike mechanic. Don’t buy this if you need to know how to route your di2 cables (it was published nearly 20 years ago after all), do buy it if you want to know about repairs you don’t need to do…
Scottish Bicycles and Tricycles – Alastair Dodds
One of those museum shop purchases from a rainy Sunday at the National Museum of Scotland, this little tome covers everything from bone shakers to superbikes, drum-ups to the early days of mountain bike racing and everything in between.
Mountains of the Mind – Robert MacFarlane
Cities and coasts are fine, but when it comes to my favourite types of placest the mountains always win. I’ve even found myself stopping and trying to identify the Munros I can see on the skyline on my daily bike rides around home recently. MacFarlane’s Mountain of the Mind is a part climbing journal and part cultural history exploring how our response to the mountains has changed over time.
Mastering Mountain Biking Skills – Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack
An outstanding guide to riding better on all terrain from two masters – a go-to for all mountain bikers looking to work on their technique. I’m still not very good at manuals though…
Scottish Hill Tracks – The Scottish Rights of Way Society
If you’ve ridden in Scotland, you’ll have seen the The Scottish Rights of Way Society’s green and white signs pointing out routes the length and breadth of the country. They’re also celebrating their 175th anniversary in 2020, making them the oldest outdoor recreation organisation in the UK. This guide book has been in print since 1947 and is a great resource for route planning if you’re a map
Calum’s Road – Roger Hutchison
You might know Raasay best from the recent SAS: Who Dares Wins show on Channel 4, but it’s also home to Calum’s Road – nearly two miles of road between Brochel Castle and Arnish, built by one man using little more than a shovel, a pick and a wheelbarrow.