"The bicycle is a pleasure for the body and the mind" but in the long winter days often the desire to jump on the saddle is less ... instead of pedaling under a heavy snowfall we want to suggest an alternative or better, 14 alternatives, 14 cycling books to read about bike trips, bicycle touring, adventures and more or less crazy bike riders. Take a seat in the armchair or in front of the fireplace and dive into a paper adventure (for this time!).
Get inspired by books
There are so many manuals that talk about bicycles and that animates the spirit and the desire for adventure of modern cyclists ... among all these it was not easy to choose the 14 books on cycling and bicycle touring I prefer, but in the end I have compiled this list which I hope will interest you and stimulate new readings. Some are stories of epic cycling adventures, at the end of the world, between glaciers and deserts; others tell more classic or short journeys, but still full of emotions, encounters and vicissitudes to relive in the shade of a tree during the long summer days or for a few hours in a tent before going to sleep in the middle of the world tour.
Reading feeds dreams
You may wonder why reading bicycle touring and cycling books when you can directly start and experience a new two-wheeler adventure... well why not to do both? Reading leads the spirit towards new unknown borders, helps to overcome barriers that we have never been crossed before, feeds dreams and stimulates happiness, which is why reading cycling books is highly recommended. Whether the reading is before departure, during or after, you will have no more excuses: you will have to be you the next one to make dreams come true, like your favorite travel writers!
14 cycling books to read
As anticipated, in the multitude of publications, I chose only 14 bicycle touring and cycling books to propose to you, but over time these manuals could become many more thanks to your advice. If you have read any other text that was inspirational for you, don't hesitate to propose it in the comments!
- The Lost Cyclist: The Untold Story of Frank Lenz's Ill-Fated Around-the-World Journey- David V. Herlihy: In 1892 Frank G. Lenz left his home in Pittsburgh to bike the world. After two year on the road and 14000 miles Frank mysteriously disappeared. The magazine Outfit, sponsor of the journey, sent another collaborator to Turkey to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of the German-American cyclist...
- Changing Gears - Nancy Sathre-Vogel: The extraordinary bicycle journey of Nancy, John and their twin sons from Alaska to Patagonia riding 27000 miles across two continents, until the end of the world. In the book the author tells about the journey but also about problems, needs, vicissitudes and family misadventures. A book to read if you love big adventures ... with the family
- Into the Remote Places - Ian Hibell: this book was written by one of the most adventurous cycle traveler ever. Ian Hibell, english explorer, was the first to cycle from Cape Horn to Alaska in 1971-1973, the first to cross Europe and Africa from North Cape to Cape Horn and maybe the only one to cycle the Darien Gap in Panama. He was killed in 2008 in Greece by a hit-and-run driver. During his life he cycled 250000 miles, most of them into many remotes places.
- Four Cheeks to the wind - Mary Bryant: this is the story of a choice and a big change. Mary and Warren made a decision in 2002: to leave everything and start a long bicycle trip on the less traveled routes of Europe, Africa and Asia. During their experience they collect recipes and the knowledge of the dying populations.
- Cycling home from Siberia- Rob Lilwall: a great journey, a great book for those who love adventure and dream of distant and little known places. Rob Lilwall, one of the great modern bicycle travelers, recounts his cycling experiences in the wild Siberia and the next 30,000 miles back home crossing Papua New Guinea, Australia, Afghanistan and many other countries.
- Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride- Peter Zheutlin: this book tells the story of a long journey by bicycle, the one made by Annie Kopchovsky who later became Annie Londonderry at the start of her adventure. It was way back in 1894 and the idea that women could travel on the saddle of a velocipede was far from acceptable but Annie did not stop and, accepting a bet, started becoming the first solo female cycle traveler, a symbol of women's emancipation!!!
- It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels- Robert Penn: Have you ever dreamed of building the perfect bike with your own hands? The protagonist of the book begins a journey around the world in search of the best pieces to build a bicycle, the dreamed bicycle! Meetings and points of view, culture and history of the bicycle... a true concentration of two wheels!!!
- Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle - Dervla Murphy: Born in 1931, the Irish Dervla Murphy wrote the book in 1965 after an incredible journey from home to India. Dervla traveled with a gun and suffered of stomach ache problems but in any place he found great hospitality and even dined with the Pakistani president
- Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents- Jim Malusa: in this book the American botanist recounts the wonderful journeys by bike in the six lowest points of the Earth: the Lake Eyre in Australia, the Dead Sea or the ride from Moscow to the Caspian Sea. Meetings, courtships, hurricanes and storms make really pleasant and interesting this reading. Suggested to those who love adventure.
- The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa- Neil Peart: It was 1988 and Canadian musician Neil Peart decided it was time to join a bicycle touring in the heart of the African continent. So in November he faced this incredible journey through Cameroon with David the organizer, Leonard an electrical engineer, Elsa a 60-year-old pacifist and Annie an administrative assistant. Neil decided to leave bringing with him two books: one of Aristotle and one of Van Gogh and the magic of the journey was the beginning of this beautiful book.
- Mud, Sweat, and Gears: A Rowdy Family Bike Adventure Across Canada on Seven Wheels - Joe Kurmaskie : After 17 years of marriage an American couple and their three children get in the saddle for an incredible journey across Canada. A book that tells funny back stories, misadventures and unexpected anecdotes on the streets of an unusual Canada. An American family and a great adventure among mud, sweat and change.To read in one solution!
- The Boy Who Biked the World: On the Road to Africa- Alastair Humphreys: he left home when he was 24 and traveled by bicycle for four years. From Europe to Asia to the Americas and finally to Africa where he crossed the continent from Cairo to Cape Town... an unforgettable slow journey!!!
- Over the Hills: A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle - David Lamb: 3145 miles from Washington D.C. in Santa Monica in three months. This book contains the whole adventure of David Lamb, journalist of the Los Angeles Times and foreign correspondent in many countries, during his crossing of the United States, through unknown places to those who drive motorways, in places inhabited by another humanity.
- The Hungry Cyclist - Tom Kevill-Davies: In 2005 Tom leaves his job to start traveling across the American continent, from New York to Rio de Janeiro, and learn about what people eat. A two and a half year bike ride in search of the perfect lunch.
Which is your favorite cycling book? Let us know and enjoy your ride and read!
Latest from Veronica
- The Camonica Valley Cycleway: from Capo di Ponte to Pisogne by bicycle
- The Framura – Levanto cycleway: a glimpse of Liguria by bicycle
- Munich-Venice bike route: the Friendship Cycle Trail
- Val Pusteria cycle path: from San Candido to Fortezza by bicycle
- What to see in Basilicata: the 10 best places to discover
- Travelling in bikepacking mode: what it is and what is used for