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Cycling Books To Read

10 October, 2018

Gone are the long sunny days of riding all day. While we all miss the sunshine already, being indoors means more time to read and plan next seasons rides. Since you can't be outdoors all the time, I've rounded up 11 cycling books written by women to help keep you motivated and inspired throughout the off season while you work on your base miles indoors.

Not only is Nicole the first woman to write a book about adventures of the TDF, she rode the course and chronicled the effort in a daily journal which she then transposed into a 332 page book. I recently purchased the book not expecting anything more than a light read while on a plane. WOW, was I surprised as I started reading at wheels up and by the time we got to San Francisco I was 100 pages in. I literally felt like I was riding her wheel through the stages. The prose and description of the sights, sounds, emotions and feelings of an experienced rider being transformed into a real “cyclist” was amazing, while still capturing the beauty of the countryside made this a book that I completed in 3 sittings a “must read.”. BTW/ she is a local bike shop owner and all net proceeds go to charity. This book will clearly be appreciated by those who ride a bike and for those who just want to read a terrific adventure story.

The Road Less Taken

This book is a fascinating read for about 75% of it, and then it's a compilation of previous essays that gives the impression that they were thrown in to give the book some length. It's hard to decide whether the author is just amazingly dedicated or just a little unbalanced, but her stories are inspirational, and she really does convey what it's like to toil at an athletic profession that has little glamour and often no support. For anyone into road cycling, it's a very interesting glimpse into the women's side of the professional sport. This book wasn't intended to be "a year in the life of me", but it would be interesting for the author to do such a book, because she does write very well and with a lot of passion. She could give readers a very good picture of the sport from the inside.

This is the best book I have ever read about female physiology and how it couples with being an athlete. As soon as it downloaded (some books I read on ebooks), I dug in and didn't stop. I feel like for the fist time I actually understand what is happening with my body during training, rest and the always fun, monthly cycle. It's easy to read, simple and not overdone with scientific jargon. It carefully and clearly takes apart a lot of training and diet myths. My favorite parts were reading the stories of some top female competitors and how even just small tweaks can make a big difference. And not just with stories, but with Sims research and real life female athletes using that information for their own success. No two women are the same and what works best for each of us can be unique but this book captures all of that and then some. No matter where you are in your athletic pursuits, this is a killer book to have in your arsenal. Especially younger female athletes. Get the right information and establish good, health habits young. I am 34 so I am having to unlearn a lot of bad habits, poor information and basically not training like a small man.

When Lizzie Armitstead announced her book release, I had to grab it. Armitstead, now Diegnan, takes the reader to the heart of the most demanding of endurance sports and the challenges faced: from sexism and the fight for equality, to doping and the incredible sacrifices and self-belief required to self-coach herself to world titles. While the writing and editing isn't great, you can overlook it as her story is one to honor. Born in Otley, West Yorkshire, in 1988, Lizzie won her first medal in the Junior World Track Championships in 2005 after being talent spotted at school, before going on to win silver at the 2012 Olympics Games in London. Three years later she was World Road Race Champion and began 2016 as one of the favorites for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games. From the rolling hills of Yorkshire through to the treacherous climbs of the Vista Circuit in Rio de Janeiro - through setbacks, life lessons and ups and downs of a professional life in cycling - Steadfast is an intense and inspiring story of sporting triumph.

Riding shouldn’t be uncomfortable. You shouldn’t be getting saddle sores every ride. Cramping shouldn’t make you cry on the bike. And you shouldn’t be wearing your underwear with your bike shorts. Enter ‘Saddle, Sore’: the first guide to answer all of these embarrassing, awkward or just plain weird questions that you have about the bike and your nether regions. In this second edition, gynecologist, doctors, naturopaths, saddle makers, chamois designers, pelvic floor specialists, midwives, team soigneurs, and more, come together to provide their best tips. You’ll learn how to diagnose and treat saddle sores, how to choose a saddle and chamois, whether a pad is better than a tampon, what causes numbness on the bike, how to get back to riding after pregnancy, and so much more. A definite book to have on hand to reference to.

The Girls’ Bicycle Handbook is for women cyclists everywhere who need practical no-nonsense advice and information on cycling, but don’t want to dispense with style in the process. Whether you’re a committed bike commuter or a complete novice - blogger, entrepreneur and passionate cyclist Caz Nicklin gives the low-down on making cycling part of your lifestyle. From choosing the right bike for your needs to looking stylish and comfortable whatever the weather, and from combatting dreaded "helmet hair" to road safety and fast repairs, The Girls’ Bicycle Handbook tells you everything you need to know about life on two wheels.

I would recommend this book for urban cylists and women who want to commute by bike. It also features practical cycling information from women who ride and by your's truly too.
More women than ever before are jumping on their saddles to enjoy one of the fastest growing sports in the country-and to improve cardiovascular fitness, control their weight, and liven up their social lives. At the same time, cycling remains very much a "man's sport," an intimidating world that can be difficult for women to navigate. Selene Yeager covers all the basics-for all ages and fitness levels for women to learn how to find the perfect bike and other essential equipment. They also learn how to shift, spin, climb mountains, and get back down. There are also training techniques that take it up a notch and nutrition guides of what to eat off-and on-a bike. Yeager goes into competition craziness-race information and strategies. Why guys who work in bike shops act the way they do and more! This book is great if you enjoy partaking in sportivs, racing, and knowing how to manage your body and bike.

Velocipede Races
This book weaves in the history of women and cycling into a fictional story about one girls journey into her emancipation. Not only is this the first novel that I've read that weaves in these themes, it also comes with many firsts: first steampunk novel, first YA steampunk feminist/bicycle racing novel. I could not put it down until I was finished, and I want to read it again! I loved this book so much I did a review on it. Here is one of the best paragraphs, there are many, but this one will stick with me forever:

"This is what I am. I'm a jockey. I ride velos. I ride velos as well as any man. If I stay quite, if I keep it a secret, I'm just being a coward. Don't you see how it is? Someone has to break the box. If I don't show them what I can do, if I pretend to be a man forever, the box is not broken. But If I say, yes, I'm a woman, and I did this thing that on one believed I could do, then I've made room for someone else to do it, too. I have to make space where there is none, just like in a velocipede race" (p. 212).

Our Bodies, Our Bikes
Our Bodies, Our Bikes is a resource and companion for women who ride bicycles. Through personal stories, how-to guidelines, and factual information, contributors explore the intersection of cycling and women's health, from bike fit to clothing, from periods to childbirth, from media representation to gender presentation and reproductive rights. Our diverse contributors demystify and elucidate women's issues in cycling in a practical, friendly, and down to earth manner. In case it may put off some potential readers, there is no male bashing or anti-male sentiment; only a perfectly reasonable disdain of the sexism found in advertisements and sometimes in "bike culture". Rather, the stories are clearly (and not surprisingly) focused on the love of bicycles and the freedom that comes from being a cyclist of any type, whether you're making a many-miles long commute to work, or riding for casual pleasure. 

Wheels Of Change
A lively look at women's history from aboard a bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women's liberation. Through vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs, Wheels of Change transports young readers to bygone eras to see how women used the bicycle to improve their lives. Witty in tone and scrapbook-like in presentation, the book deftly covers early (and comical) objections, influence on fashion, and impact on social change inspired by the bicycle, which, according to Susan B. Anthony, "has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." The bicycle played a most important part in liberating women beginning with the invention of the safety bicycle in the early 1890s. This book is written for young people but it makes interesting reading for people of all ages. Heavily illustrated and the pictures help tell the story.

This Road I Ride
There are many reasons why this book is so good. But if I had to specify one thing in particular, in the way that book reviews tend to do, I would say it is the absolutely seamless blending of the ordinary and the extraordinary. An incredible journey masterfully recounted -- both Juliana's on the road journey as well as her life journey. She describes the hazards of the road, the weather extremes, the breakdowns, the challenges that all long distance cyclists can relate with. And she also captures the charm and allure of the countries and cultures she traverses along with the varied personalities she runs into and the kindnesses she receives. Buhring reflects on the insights for and from life that she has gathers as she pedals. There are no long boring passages about bike technicalities or endless numbers and calorie statistics which one would ordinarily associate with someone who is into long distance bike riding. Some of my favorite parts of the journey are when she has just had a long day (you know, cycling around the world) and nothing feels better than a few shots of whiskey or a cold beer!

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