This is the last installment in a six-part series. These books have all had a positive influence on my own training, health, or mental well-being, and I highly recommend them. The books are in no order. For full disclosure’s sake, know that if you click on the linked image to purchase the book, it will give me a small kick back.
by Tim Krabbé
“Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafés. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.”
― Tim Krabbé, The Rider
I have no doubt that The Rider is the most beloved work of fiction about cycling and road racing. I am almost at a loss as to what to say about Krabbé's book because I don’t want to give it away or break down the plot. But you need to read it, as it is such a wonderful look into the world of racing, tactics, and suffering.
Krabbé takes you through a race with extended descriptions of the riders, tactics, and scenery. His descriptions are vivid, like the quote above where he describes the crowd of non-racers. This quote, like many in the book, just captures beautifully how much Krabbé loves racing and those involved in it.
The race he describes is wonderful, the riders all come to life on the page, and the suffering they endure is seemingly real. Yes. The references to gearing and such seem a bit outdated, but the text stays relevant to this day.
I have owned The Rider for many years both in paperback and on audio book. I have found myself drawn to it on long car rides where it eases my mind over long arduous drives with its beautiful prose. I have found myself picking it up and just thumbing through it on the couch. It is never too far away.
Despite saying that this series was done with the books in no order, it is clear now as I write this, that I saved the best for last. The Rider is a book that any and every rider should own. It is THE classic book about riding and racing bicycles.