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If you’re someone who lives and breathes biking, then you’re in the right place. Whether you’re a Tour de France follower or just enjoy reading about biking adventures, this post is filled with inspirational cycling books for all readers and riders.
There are a few of my favorites (anything by Anna McNuff!) and several books that are on my reading list. So grab a cup of tea or coffee and let’s dive in!
Adventure Cycling Books
Formerly titled 50 Shades of the USA (which was apparently not ok with the 50 Shades of Gray lawyers) The United States of Adventure is such a fun and lighthearted read.
Londonite Anna Mcnuff is a hilarious human being and she writes about her 11,000-mile bike ride through each of the 50 US States on her beautiful pink bicycle named Boudica.
It’s funny, thought-provoking, and an inspiring read for anyone looking for an adventure story. I highly recommend it! By the end, you’ll want to be BFF’s with her, guaranteed.
Another super fun and entertaining cycling book by the one-and-only Anna McNuff, Llama Drama is an account of her two-woman, 6-month, 5,500-mile cycling adventure down through South America.
It’s hilarious at times, deep and thought-provoking at others, and overall a super enjoyable and light read.
To Shake The Sleeping Self was one adventure cycling book that I could not put down. Well-written, funny, engaging, and thought-provoking – the story of Jedidiah Jenkin’s 16-month bike ride from Oregon to the tip of South America is a must-read for any adventure cyclist.
Interspersed between his cycling diaries are thoughts and reflections about faith, sexuality, and what it means to find a place in the world today. I highly, highly recommend this book.
I picked up Nala’s World not expecting a whole lot (traveling around the world on a bicycle with a cat sounds a little cliché) but I couldn’t put this book down! I loved that the author, Dean Nicholson, didn’t try to make it anything more than it is – him and his rescue cat on their two-wheeled adventures.
You’ll fall in love with Nala and maybe even have a little faith restored in humanity.
I haven’t had a chance to read Saving Lucy yet, but given how much I enjoyed Nala’s World (see above) I’m sure I’ll fall in love with Ishbel and Lucy’s story, too.
Ishbel set off to bike around the world during a rough patch in her life. As she was pedaling through Turkey, a street dog (Lucy) crossed her path and changed her life forever.
It’s a story about friendship, love, and the powerful bonds we – humans – can form with furry friends.
Julian Sayarer is probably best known for his incredible achievement of breaking the world record of cycling around the world in 2009. Not satisfied with his worldly two-wheeled adventures, though, he recently returned to his bike to explore the roads of Israel and Palestine. Fifty Miles Wide is an account of his experience.
Sayarer’s route weaves through old villages, across deserts, and through vibrant city streets filled with hip-hop artists and local culture.
To be honest, I couldn’t get through the whole book. His writing, while it may appeal to some, was too tedious and ‘poetic’ for me. That being said, you might love it!
Here’s a sample: “As the miles pass, the journey becomes a meditation on making change – how people in dark times keep their spirit, and go on believing that a different world is possible.”
Following the death of her partner and best friend, Juliana Buhring found herself severely depressed and without hope or purpose in life. When a friend suggested cycling across Canada in his memory, she thought “why not the whole world?” So she did.
In her book This Road I Ride, Juliana faces her pain and learns how to live again as she pedals 18,060 miles over 4 continents and 152 days. All this without ever being a serious cyclist or even an athlete.
If you’re at a tough time in your life, or you’re just looking for a bit of inspiration, this book is for you.
Alastair Humphreys is an English adventurer and National Geographic explorer who spent four years cycling 46,000 miles around the world on a shoestring budget. As can be expected, along the way he faced hardships and triumphs and placed his trust in the hands of countless strangers. From the Middle East to the tip of South America, Humpreys recounts his two-wheeled travels in these two cycling books.
His stories are rich and detailed and will make you want to sell everything, pack up your bike, and hit the road.
Biographies & Autobiographies
Chris Froome grew up in the wilds of Kenya but despite the fact that lions and leopards roamed free outside his front door, he still managed to become a world-class cycling athlete.
His cycling autobiography, The Climb, follows his journey as a young kid growing up in Africa to his unforgettable win in the 2013 Tour de France.
Frome has faced hardships including the death of his mother, but he’s also experienced great success. This book is definitely a must-read!
Whether you like Lance Armstrong or not, It’s Not About the Bike is an inspiring read about his battle with cancer and how he got through those rough times. Lance was given a 20% chance of making it through treatment and not only did he survive, but he also went on to win a Tour de France (albeit illegally…)
Keep in mind that this book was written before the whole doping scandal happened in 2012. If you’re more interested in reading about that, check out Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever.
For over 25 years, Carlton Kirby has commentated on some of the biggest cycling races in the world for television. As would be expected, he has some stories to tell!
In his book Magic Spanner, which was shortlisted for the Telegraph Books award in 2019, Kirby recounts stories and tales from different races across Europe and anecdotes about the people he met along the way. It’s witty, funny, light-hearted, and a great read even for those not particularly interested in the cycle racing world.
Eddy Merckx is arguably the greatest cycling legend of all time and the biography, Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, recounts the life of this Belgium champion.
Between the years of 1961 and 1978 Eddy Merckx, known as ‘the cannibal’ in the cycling world, won five Tours de France, four Giros d’Italia and three world championships.
This book takes a deeper look into Eddy’s life and what made him such an incredible athlete.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a professional bike racer or you’re toying with the idea of racing bikes yourself, Domestique: The True Life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro is a must read.
Written by domestique Charly Weglius, this autobiography provides great insights into the ups and downs of what it’s like to be a pro racer and why he chose to not chase victory, but rather give everything he had to support someone else’s win.
David Millar was once expected to be the next English-speaking Tour de France winner with a promising long career in the cycling race world. His reputation and career were ruined, however, when he succumbed to the temptation of doping and performance-enhancing drugs.
In his biography Racing Through The Dark, Millar openly talks about his descent into the doping world, his arrest, and his journey to getting clean and coming to terms with the mistakes he made. It’s a great read for cyclists and non-cyclists alike.
Coffee Table Cycling Books
Looking for some epic bike rides around the world? This cycling book, Epic Bike Rides of the World, has got you covered. It’s chock-full of amazing ideas (not all road cycling) of bike rides, routes, and itineraries around the world.
From a winery cycling tour through Mendoza, Argentina to city tours in some of the most beautiful metropolises around the globe, there are cycling adventures for everyone.
Following their previous publication of Epic Bike Rides of the World, Lonely Planet more recently released an Epic Bikes Rides of the Americas that is just as inspiring and beautifully illustrated.
Including North, Central, and South America, you’ll find amazing cycling trips from Alaska to Argentina.
If you’re not inspired by these pages it’s probably best to find a new hobby.
From the editors of Cyclist Magazine, Cyclist Ride: The Greatest Cycling Routes in the World delivers just that. Most of the rides detailed in this book are in Europe, but there are a few great rides across the world with a few mentions in the United States. This is a great coffee table book for avid cyclists looking for travel inspiration.
For the deep-thinking cyclists out there, Mindful Thoughts for Cyclists is a great coffee table or bathroom book. Filled with meditations and thoughts about the cycling world from embracing headwinds to going with the flow of traffic, this book is deep, insightful, and thought-provoking.
Are you a masochist who likes suffering on long, steep climbs? If so, the cycling book Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs will be right up your alley. Featuring dozens of the world’s, highest and longest cycling climbs in Europe from the Alps to the Ardennes, this is a great book to cozy up with by the fire and remind yourself why you’re not a pro cyclist.
One of the authors, Michael Blann, is a former pro rider as well as an accomplished photographer, which you can see in this beautiful coffee table. books
Have you ever just wanted to sell everything, pack up your bike, and hit the road? If the answer is yes, then Two Years on a Bike is the book for you.
Photographer and writer Martijn Doolaard spent two full years pedaling from Vancouver, British Columbia all the way down to the tip of South America and this book is his compilation of photos, stories, and memories he took along the way.
Biking books for kids
Who doesn’t love Curious George? I remember reading Curious George books when I was a kid. In the Curious George Rides A Bike book, George gets a brand new bicycle and, of course, gets in all sorts of trouble while learning how to ride it. This is a great book for little kids just learning to ride their own bikes!
Do you have a favorite cycling book? Which one and why do you love it? Share in the comments!