Books on cycling

Here are five books for those who love cycling (but not only).

Bicycles and books have something in common: they allow you to explore new places and worlds, one with the use of the legs and the other with the use of the mind. Here are five books for those who love cycling (but not only):

Around the World on two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride by Peter Zheutlin.

The incredible story of Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky, the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle. Defying economic difficulties and prejudices, while also a mother of three, she left Boston at the age of 23. She traveled all the way to China, passing through Paris, Jerusalem and Singapore, facing incredibly difficulties and enduring slander, even ending in prison. When she arrived back home she was welcomed triumphantly and was chosen as the symbol of the women’s emancipation: “I am a ‘new woman’ if that term means that I believe that I can do anything that any man can do”. Today, thanks to the work of her great grandchild, the journalist Peter Zheutlin, we can read about one of the most important adventures ever to have taken place in the XIX century.

Zen and the Art of Cycling: Life and other tire punctures of a nomad on bike, by Claude Marthaler.

Claude Marthaler, author and protagonist, tells his story after touring the world by bicycle for seven years, from the viewpoint of the two wheels: the bicycle is a way to get to know the world, to reflect on ourselves and others, a life-style… from the many people encountered to the adventures lived, from the places discovered to the dreams realized, from the illusions to the delusions. The bike, which the author considers an extension of his own body, is the easiest way to avoid being suffocated by worries, to eliminate stress and breathe in peace, and to be immersed in and guided by sensations.

I take my bike and set off for Australia, by Francesco Gusmeri.

Another true story, but this time written in the first person. Francesco dreams of a crazy adventure by bike. After five years, he decides to leave Brescia to ride to Australia. This is not only a true journey in itself,  but also a spiritual voyage of internal growth which sees the protagonist discover freedom and absolute serenity. This book is recommended for those who love to explore and dream of living around the world. The book will take you to Turkey, Pamir, China, and the tropical jungle to finally end in Melbourne. But what happens when you do not want to go back?

A small treatise on cycling. The world as seen from the saddle, by Didier Tronchet.

If you love cycling, but you find that it can be very tiring and sometimes you just need a bit more motivation, this book is for you! You will read about the bike’s practical benefits, from those economical to those logistical. The two wheels will get a symbolic significance of freedom, and of physical and spiritual wellbeing. Enemy number one? Car drivers: noisy and polluting. This book will make you feel proud to have chosen the bike!

What matters is the bike. The pursuit of happiness on two wheels, by Robert Penn.

Robert Penn has traveled over 40,000 kilometers on the saddles of his various bikes. He has completed a ride around the world and goes to work by bike every day. He has many wishes, but one stands out: “the bicycle of his dreams, unique and particular”. He builds it by assembling different parts produced by the most prestigious companies and by the best British, Italian, and American artisans. This book is a chronicle of the realization of this dream, and an ode to the bike and the men who made it possible.

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