As everyone knows, talking, dreaming and reading about cycling is the next best thing to actually riding! So we thought we’d create this list of the best cycling books to inspire your reading list.

All of the books on cycling you’ll find here are ones we’ve read and loved. We’ve also included some of our favourite cycling coffee table books, the ones that we turn to for inspiration for our cycling trips.

We hope that from the comfort of your armchair, these road cycling books will help you find inspiration, freedom and happiness to keep your cycling passion alive, even when you don’t have the time or energy to get out there.

What do you think of the list? Have you got ideas for books we should read and add to complete our list of the best cycling books ever? Please leave your comment in the comments section at the end of the article (here)!

This article includes details of products and/or services that we have used ourselves or which we would consider using. Some are paid features or include affiliate links where if you click on a link and make a booking or buy something, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please read our disclosure policy for further information.

Best cycling autobiographies/ biographies

These books delve into the characters behind cycling. Our selection reflects our love for cycling’s history and heritage. We’ve read many of the biographies/autobiographies from recent times, but for us many of them don’t seem to compare. What do you think? If you’ve got some suggestions for us for the best cycling biographies/autobiographies for cyclists, please share them in the comments below!

1. Magic Spanner – Carlton Kirby

Carlton Kirby spent 25 years commentating on some of the biggest cycle races in the world for television. As you can imagine, he has a few tales to tell! The recollection of stories from different races across Europe and the people he meets are delivered in his usual humorous and witty style, making this book a really light-hearted and fun read.

Amidst the amusing anecdotes on tour you do witness the serious side of Kirby who is outspoken on rider safety issues, team strategies and misbehaving fans. This is a book about cycling that can be enjoyed by cyclists and non-cyclists alike. If you want books for cyclists that will make you laugh, this is the perfect easy read.

The book was shortlisted for the Telegraph Sports Book Awards 2020 – Cycling Book of the Year.

More info

Published May 2020.

256 pages.

View on Amazon


2. Tomorrow, we ride – Jean Bobet

Jean Bobet’s book is part biography of his famous brother Louison Bobet and part his own autobiography. Louison Bobet is one of the legendary names in cycling history, being a triple Tour de France winner and World Champion. Jean Bobet rode in his brother’s service, a super rouleur who gave up an academic career to help his brother to glory.

Bobet’s memoir is one of the top bicycle books out there and is a beautifully written account of their two lives. It gives you a real sense of what cycling in the 1950s, in post Second World War Europe, was all about. You feel the romance of the grand tours and get a sense of how the big-name riders of the day that the Bobet brothers rode with (Coppi, Bartali, Anquetil and co) were famous personalities in their own right, whose achievements were part of the popular psyche.

The original book was written in French, but this is a great translation and an excellent read for anyone interested in the history of cycling and the legends of cycling’s aristocracy.

More info

Published 1 January 2008.

179 pages.

View on Amazon

3. Merckx, Half Man, Half Bike – William Fotheringham

Eddie Merckx is arguably the greatest cyclist the world has ever seen and this cycling biography is the engaging account of Belgium’s cycling legend.

Between 1961 and 1978, Eddy “the Cannibal” Merckx won five Tours de France, four Giros d’Italia and three world championships. This book is among the best books for cyclists as it looks at the how and why of what made Eddy Merckx the incredible cyclist he was, including interviews with those who were there at the time and knew him well.

There’s a lot of detail on the classic races, though oddly little in the way of direct interviews with Merckx himself. That said, it’s a great choice for anyone wanting to know more about Merckx, the cycling icon.

More info

Published 28 March 2013.

320 pages.

View on Amazon



4. In search of Robert Millar – Richard Moore

Next on our list of the best books on cycling is this, a biography that delves into the maverick Robert Millar, the eccentric Glaswegian. Until the current modern era of cyclists, he was the UK’s most successful Tour de France cyclist, coming fourth in the 1984 Tour de France and winning the King of the Mountains jersey that year.

The book follows the career of Millar, from his tough start in life in Glasgow in the 1960s to his move to France pioneering British continental cycling, his abandonment of his wife and son in France and the mystery of his disappearance. It provides a detailed commentary on Millar’s dedication, talent and unorthodox character.

The book also offers fascinating insights into other characters of the 80s and 90s UK cycling scene, including Sean Kelly, Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman. While we now know the reason behind Millar’s disappearance was a sex change which he went public with in 2017, this book remains a great read and perfect for the cycling aficionado – someone interested in the characters that make up the UK’s cycling heritage.

More info

Published 2 June 2008.

400 pages.

View on Amazon

Three cycling autobopgraphies/biographies

5. Back in the Frame – Jools Walker

The best cycling stories don’t have to be all about race tactics and podiums. Sometimes it’s enough to just enjoy the ride, and that was the quest of this joyful debut from award-winning cycling blogger Jools Walker (aka Lady Vélo).

It’s a story about cycling, belonging and finding joy on a bike, following Walker’s return to the saddle after a 10 year hiatus at age 28.

She shares how cycling kept her strong while caring for her mum, and helped keep her own personal demons at bay when recovering from a mini-stroke and struggling with depression (or “Sparks”, as she calls it).

This is among the most moving and funny cycle books, with plenty of motivational tips for any rider to relate to, it’s a powerful reminder to never forget the joy of riding a bike and a great cycling book for beginners to get inspired.

More info

Published 23 May 2019.

323 pages.

View on Amazon

6. Domestique – Charlie Wegelius

No list of biking books would be complete without Le Tour – and the winners of the Tour would be nothing without their team. Thanks to Charly Wegelius’ book on cycling in the European peloton, we get a fascinating look inside the life of a domestique.

With 11 years as a professional cyclist spent riding in the service of others, Wegelius shares why he “hated the responsibility and pressure of chasing victory”, so chose to take on the hurt and give it everything for someone else’s win.

He speaks candidly about his own mistakes and challenges, with personal anecdotes aplenty, and no more than a brief nod to the doping that surrounded other teams.

This is not another book about doping. It’s a captivating peek into the mind of a man who loves a good, clean sufferfest, and whose passion fed off the cheers from the fans lining the routes. He knows he is good, and it reads like it, and it’s clear that he loved the duty of turning himself inside out to drag his teammates to victory while his body screamed with pain.

More info

Published 3 April 2014.

336 pages.

View on Amazon

Best books about cycling and doping

In some ways, this is a sub-set of the biographies/autobiographies section above – but we felt they warranted their own section because over the years, we’ve read quite a few excellent and fascinating books on this subject! So, if you’ve ever been interested in the dark side of cycling, and what turns talented young riders into drug-taking dopers, these are some good cycling books for you.

7. Racing Through the Dark – David Millar

A well written and very frank cyclist book about how one of the most promising cyclists of his generation succumbed to the lure of performance enhancing drugs. Following his arrest, he had the strength of character to transform himself from doper to anti-drugs campaigner, author and media pundit.

We liked the genuine honesty consistently portrayed throughout the book. You get the impression that the book was part of the redemption process as Millar came to terms with the mistakes he had made and the people he had let down. Racing Through the Dark is a good read that paints a realistic picture of life in the peloton at that time. Perfect for cyclists and non-cyclists alike.

More info

Published 1 January 2012.

368 pages.

View on Amazon

8. Seven Deadly Sins – David Walsh

A product of 12 years of dogged investigative journalism by David Walsh, who was declared as persona non grata by Lance Armstrong during the 1990s and vilified by many in cycling circles. The book highlights the tenacity of the writer who was never deterred in his pursuit of exposing one of the biggest sporting frauds of our generation. Copies make great gifts for cyclists who love a good yarn.

It’s an informative read and was published shortly after Armstrong was stripped of his titles. It gravitates between an autobiography of Walsh and a biography of Armstrong and as such it’s sometimes a little hard to follow. Nevertheless, it chronicles the systemic drug abuse that was prevalent in the professional peloton and reveals the lengths that Armstrong went to in order to maintain the deceit.

More info

Published 6 June 2013.

464 pages.

View on Amazon

9. Breaking the Chain – Willy Voet

This is the book that first turned cycling upside down in the late eighties and exposed the sport as a drug fuelled battle on two wheels. Willy Voet was a masseur for the Festina professional cycling team and part of his job was to store and then administer performance enhancing drugs to the riders. Unfortunately for Voet he was arrested on his way to a race with a car full of illegal substances. This cycle race book tells the whole sorry story.

You feel for Voet as he sits in a prison cell whilst the riders disown him and deny that the drugs were destined for their use. With his life in ruins, he makes no apologies for writing the book to make some money and tell the truth about the people who he feels let him down. Translated from his native French into English by William Fotheringham, one is left to wonder whether there should have been a more rigorous investigation into the entire team.

More info

Published 1 August 2002.

128 pages.

View on Amazon

10. One-Way Ticket – Jonathan Vaughters

An extremely talented junior rider who was recruited at an early age to race professionally in France, Jonathan Vaughters soon realised why the European peloton was so much better than him. The answer was the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs. Fighting the temptation for a while he eventually succumbed and lived to regret his decision. Refreshingly however, learning from his mistakes, he has become a leading anti-drugs campaigner within the sport.

Despite the doper to anti-drugs campaigner theme, the book also shows Vaughters in his present role as professional team owner and having to be commercially savvy to keep his team afloat in a very challenging cycling economy. No collection of books about biking is complete without one of these cautionary tales.

More info

Published 27 August 2019.

352 pages.

View on Amazon

11. The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton

Probably one of the best cycling books of all time, this is an historic, definitive and damning indictment of doping in the Armstrong era. A must-have book for the Tour de France coffee table sees Hamilton and co-writer Daniel Coyle pulling the curtain back on a hidden underworld of drugs, deceit, institutional corruption and pressure to conform,

Hamilton spares no one – not even himself – as he purges his secrets to set himself free, laying bare in meticulous detail, the systematic and institutional doping regime that powered the US Postal Service team’s domination of the Tour de France.

The trap it created was all-consuming; “The truth is too big, it involves too many people. You couldn’t single one person out. It was everybody. Everybody.”

From the bumbling anti-doping system to brash, open discussions in the peloton, Hamilton’s scandalous memoirs are backed up with the footnotes and interviews from co-writer Daniel Coyle, also author of Lance Armstrong: Tour de Force, with unbridled access to Hamilton’s journal and numerous teammates, mechanics, doctors, spouses and friends as well as pro riders from the team.

As far as books on the Tour de France go, they don’t get much better than this. One of the finest cycling gifts for any avid reader.

More info

Published 9 May 2013.

384 pages.

View on Amazon

Best Tour de France books (and other famous races)

If you’re missing cycling’s big races, these books about the Tour de France and other big-name events should be the perfect antidote!

12. Alpe d’Huez: the story of Pro Cycling’s Greatest Climb – Peter Cossins

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the mythical Alpe d’Huez, this is the book for you! It contains 304 pages of detail on this 13.8 kilometre climb and its very famous 21 hairpins. The book goes into the history of the mountain in the Tour de France and the events that have unfurled on its slopes. It includes well-documented information, as well as the untold details.

Given the level of detail the book goes into, it may be a bit much for those just getting into cycling. But a must-have cycle book for those serious about their Tour de France history.

More info

Published 2 June 2016.

304 pages.

View on Amazon

13. The Breakaway – Nicole Cooke

Among relatively few cyclist books by women, Nicole Cooke’s memoir is exactly what you expect from the outspoken Olympic and World Champion – who changed the face of women’s cycling forever.

This cyclist’s autobiography is a powerful and inspiring read, pulling no punches as she speaks out against drugs, sexism, inequality and the myriad of barriers holding women back in the sport.

The story starts with her childhood dream to win the Tour de France and Olympic road race, and an early realisation that the pathway was near to non-existent for girls compared to boys. What followed was a difficult fight to the top amid broken contracts, unpaid wages, injury and drug cheats.

A fascinating insight into the hard-fought victories of Britain’s greatest ever female cyclist and one for the cycling history books, for sure.

More info

Published 26 March 2015.

464 pages.

View on Amazon


14. Etape – Richard Moore

This is one of the top cycling books, whether you’re just getting into cycling’s grand tours or whether you’ve been a fan for many years. It’s the story of the Tour de France told through stages from the last sixty years. It tells some of the most iconic stories of the Tour de France involving some of cycling’s biggest names, from Armstrong’s drug-fuelled victory at Luz Ardiden to Merckx’s 1971 Tour.

The book provides really interesting insights into the stories behind the Tour and is written in a way that makes it difficult to put down. We’d definitely recommend it for anyone wanting to know more about the Tour, but also cycling history in general.

More info

Published 4 June 2015.

352 pages.

View on Amazon

15. Tour Climbs: the complete guide to every mountain stage on the Tour de France – Chris Sidwells

It might have been published in 2013, but this book is a treasure trove of useful information and covers every climb used on the Tour de France until that date.

It’s in a coffee table format, with lots of photos interspersed amongst informative text that covers the racing history, information on what to expect if you’re riding the climb, the profile of the climb, an illustrative map and some directions as to how to find it.

It might be a few years out of date, but it’s still a great book on cycling for those wanting to ride the climbs they’ve seen on TV.

More info

Published 23 May 2013.

256 pages.

View on Amazon


16. The Ronde – Edward Pickering

The Ronde, as the Belgians call it, is the Tour of Flanders – probably the toughest one-day cycle race in the world. In cycling, and in particular in Belgium, the race is the equivalent of the Cup Final and Grand National rolled into one. Tens of thousands of spectators watch the cyclists battle against each other on fabled cobbled climbs, as the race loops around the Flanders region for around 250 kilometres.

A book for the cycling aficionado, Edward Pickering’s work is an in-depth account of the history of this world-famous race using the 2011 edition to seemingly describe every cobbled road and berg in the race as the battle to win unfolds on a Sunday afternoon in April. The best of the books about cycling focusing on the one-day Tour of Flanders.

More info

Published on 8 March 2018.

304 pages.

View on Amazon


17. Where There’s a Will – Emily Chappell

One of the few female-written bicyling books, this is a bit different to the rest on our list, because it’s about a very different kind of race. The Transcontinental, which Emily Chappell won in 2016.

Emily writes with an elegant, flowing style and provides a very personal and poignant portrayal of what it takes to compete in ultra-endurance races, the highs, the lows and the toll on body and mind. She also talks of the tragic loss of her great friend and ultra-endurance cyclist Mike Hall.

A bit like the books that are written about climbing Mount Everest, we were left with the feeling that we’d never want to do it ourselves, but we felt gripped by the story and in awe of those who did!

Check out our recent Q&A with Emily, here.

More info

Published on 5 November 2020.

288 pages.

View on Amazon

Pile of the best cycling books with stolen goat bottle on top

18. The Yellow Jersey – Peter Cossins

This iconic Tour de France history book celebrates the 100th anniversary of the most coveted prize in professional cycling, the Yellow Jersey.

Prolific cycling author Peter Cossins – who has also written for Cycling Weekly, Cycle Sport and Procycling – explores the history of the jersey since its beginning in 1919, after a campaign from journalists and fans to help identify the winning rider.

Since then the Yellow Jersey has reached sacred status and is hailed the most distinguished and hard-earned prize in sport, and its winners have fascinating inside stories to tell.

The premium print is beautifully produced in hardback, its pages adorned with some of the best cycling photos of all time from the Tour across the ages. Featuring facts, anecdotes and interviews from all of the pros you’d expect such as Chris Froome and Thomas Voeckler, but also Antonin Rolland, 94, the oldest living rider to wear the Yellow Jersey.

Cycling Weekly calls it the “most beautiful book to land on our desk this year”. A perfect Tour de France coffee table book if ever we saw one, and a refreshing change from the usual cyclist autobiography.

More info

Published 27 June 2019.

336 pages.

View on Amazon

Best cycling adventure books

Looking for a dollop of adventure and inspiration from your read? These are perfect.

19. This Road I Ride – Juliana Buhring

If you believe you can, or you can’t, you’re probably right. Juliana Buhring believed she could, when she set off from Naples in 2012 to be the first and fastest woman to circumnavigate the world by bike.

This Road I Ride is a biking book and empowering story about a woman on a quest to find her true self after tragedy. Breaking away from a childhood raised in a religious cult, Buhring’s world was devastated when her boyfriend was killed by a crocodile whilst exploring the source of unmapped rivers in Africa.

To escape her grief she embarked on a journey to ride 18,000 miles over 152 days, across four continents and 19 countries. An incredible feat for anyone, let alone someone with no previous experience in cycling before she was 30.

This is a must-read for anyone looking for inspiring cycling stories about the soaring, life-affirming highs and deep, difficult lows of mental and physical endurance.

More info

Published 19 May 2016.

224 pages.

View on Amazon

20. Moods of Future Joys – Alistair Humphreys

Hailed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as the “first great adventure of the new millennium”, Moods of Future Joys charts adventurer and author Alastair Humphrey’s epic and sometimes brutal journey across Africa – part one of his four-year trip around the world by bike.

Comfort zones are not a thing for Humphreys, who feels a “visceral and emotional excitement in the raw, wild and empty landscape.” He’s not interested in being the expert in anything, only a beginner, and indulges his hunger for living adventurously with adventures great and small.

To make this 46,000 mile expedition a reality, he hoarded four years of student loans, and to survive it, he relied on the trust in the kindness of strangers when facing loneliness, despair and harsh conditions cycling through Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. The best of the books about biking for any Africa aficionado.

His writing is immersive and all-encompassing, making this one of the best cycling adventure books you won’t be able to put down. The other one is part two, titled Thunder and Sunshine.

More info

Published 26 November 2007.

221 pages.

View on Amazon

21. 50 Shades of the USA – Anna McNuff

In 2013, adventurer, speaker and author Anna McNuff swapped the corporate London life she was disillusioned with for a life-affirming cycling adventure across the USA. Which later resulted in one of the best bicycle books ever written.

Like the authors of many cycling adventure books, McNuff had no previous experience as a long distance cyclist, but was hungry to get lost on a journey of self-discovery as she left her old world behind.

Alone and unassisted, it took seven months to ride 11,000 miles through every state of America on her beloved pink bike called Boudica, battling through blizzards, dodging floods and conquering the physical challenges of ultra-endurance.

The journey brought more memories than she’d ever hoped; she watched grizzly bears forage amidst the shadow of Mount Mckinley, found meditative peace in the quiet of the desert at dawn, and gazed upon the stars at 2am in Colorado.

This is a profound and inspiring read from a woman named by The Guardian as one of the top female adventurers of our time.

More info

Published 10 September 2018.

484 pages.

View on Amazon

22. Lone Traveller – Anne Mustoe

The late Anne Mustoe was not a professional cyclist or adventurer, nor was she “young or sporty”. Her opening words to Lone Traveller make adventure accessible to everyone: “You don’t have to be 20, male and an ace mechanic to set out on a great journey. I never train and I still can’t tell a sprocket from a chainring or mend a puncture.” Proving you don’t need to be a stereotypical rider to write good cycling books.

What this sixty-something ex-headmistress and lover of solitude could do, is meticulously plan, and summon the courage and determination to complete two round the world rides alone. This trip takes in the world’s historical trade routes; following ancient Roman roads to Lisbon and the Conquistadors across South America, Captain Cook over the Pacific and the Silk Road from China back to Rome.

She delves into the pros and cons of solo cycling, sharing her tips on route planning, what to pack and how to navigate harsh conditions and tough terrain.

Her journeys have produced several books about cycling adventures, with her usual wry sense of humour in a warm, accessible tone.

More info

Published 10 May 2007.

240 pages.

View on Amazon

Best cycling coffee table book

We love to flick through these cycling coffee table books, admiring the fantastic photography and enjoying the excellent writing. We hope they help inspire you too!

23. Ride – Cyclist magazine

The best cycling coffee table books are a paper-lover’s dream: iconic cycling photos, beautiful writing with first-hand ride reports, route maps and tips and advice, packaged in a premium hardback print. As well as looking good, this is among the best cycling training books you’ll come across.

Ride, from the world’s biggest road cycling magazine, Cyclist, is exactly that. It’s a glorious showcase of 50 of the world’s greatest bike rides, from the western peninsulas of Ireland to the winding smooth tarmac on the coast of southern Spain, while also featuring rides as far as Vietnam, Ethiopia, Lebanon and the USA.

Published in 2020 when the world stood still, Ride is an essential tool for anyone planning a big bucket list ride, packed with exclusive features from experts and leading brands in cycling with the latest bikes and kit to make your trip a smooth and sweet one.

More info

Published 3 September 2020.

224 pages.

View on Amazon

24. Mountain High – Daniel Friebe

This glossy coffee table book contains Daniel Friebe’s selection of 50 of Europe’s most legendary climbs (he’s also written Mountain Higher which contains another 50). Surely one of the best road cycling books for showing off.

The book includes beautiful photography of the mountains (albeit without cyclists in shot) with really punchy, fascinating write-ups on each climb, that give you a general sense of the scenery and what to expect from the climb but, more interestingly as far as we were concerned, a real feel for the history and cycling folklore surrounding it.

This is a great buy for both armchair cyclists and those that want to go out and ride the climbs themselves. While it’s a superb source for inspiration, if you’re looking for a book to help with trip planning this might not be the one for you, as the relevant climbs are dotted all over Europe.

You can read our more detailed review of Mountain High, here.

More info

Published 27 October 2011.

224 pages.

View on Amazon

25. Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs – Michael Blann

This is a very stylish coffee table book, containing 173 full page photos/double page spreads, interspersed with personal accounts of riding and racing in the mountains, written by famous cyclists.

Michael Blann is a former pro cyclist and is a very well-known photographer. The photos in this book are out of this world, conveying the grandeur, mystery and allure of the mountains from a cyclist’s perspective. It’s the ultimate bike coffee table book for any photography fan.

The book is dominated by photos, and while the dense text in a relatively small font isn’t that instantly appealing to read, the names that have written it draw you in. The accounts are all quite personal and well-written, for example Lizzie Deignan’s experiences training on the climbs of the Cote d’Azur and Andy Hampsten’s iconic Gavia Pass ride.

It’s also worth mentioning that the quality of the front cover and paper feels beautifully weighty.

You can read our interview with Michael Blann here.

More info

Mountains by Michal Blann front cover

Published 26 March 2020.

256 pages.

Buy on Amazon

26. Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of the World

Lonely Planet’s book of best bike rides focuses on fifty rides from around the world (with short paragraphs on a further 150 rides). They’re divided by continent, with most of the rides in Europe and the Americas, but also a selection from Asia, Oceania and two from Africa. Each ride has two double-page spreads, which includes one full page photo, a map and a short toolkit section with practical information such as the start/finish, how to get there, where to stay and more. After each ride there’s then a page of “more like this” with a paragraph on three other similar rides.

The rides are not exclusively road rides – there’s everything from urban sightseeing rides to multi-day family rides to month-long trips in the wilds. There’s also a good selection of rides for road cyclists, for example a four-day tour of Corsica, the UK’s Sea to Sea ride (part of our top Challenge Rides too!) and riding Northern Morocco’s Riff Mountains.

We love the fantastic Lonely Planet photography (though it’s a bit light on featuring cyclists!) and the fact this book is very much about the whole world. There’s not much practical detail, but that’s not really the point. This is a cycling travel book designed to inspire your adventure not plan your journey. Few bicycling books come from as widely known names as this.

More info

Published 1 September 2016.

328 pages.

View on Amazon

27. Great Cycling climbs, The French Alps – Graeme Fife

This book is much lighter on photography and heavier on text than our other choices. Published in 2019, it merges the most important bits of the Rapha published Great Cycling Climbs of the Northern Alps and Great Cycling Climbs of the Southern Alps content. The print quality of this makes it a great bicycle coffee table book, and each page has a minimalistic, stylish layout.

It covers 81 different Alpine climbs in detail. That’s under half of what the two Rapha books covered – but it’s still many more climbs in each area than most people will have heard of, let alone have time to ride! The climbs are divided up into six areas with about 10-15 climbs per area. There are a few odd omissions from the coverage, including Mont Ventoux and Col de l’Iseran, but luckily we cover those – here and here!

The book includes basic details on things like length of the climb, gradient and elevation gain, but there are no profile charts and the maps are very simplistic. We enjoyed the history (both traditional and cycling) that is included and the flowing, descriptive style of the writing.

More info

Published 4 July 2019.

352 pages.

View on Amazon

28. Climb: The most epic cycling ascents in the world – Cyclist

No collection of books about cyclists would be complete without some coverage of challenging climbs! This tome from the biggest cycling magazine on the planet includes 35 of the most punishing ascents known to humankind.

This book has it all – stunning photography, altitude charts, reports from those who’ve been there and useful route maps. It’s a tribute to the climbs every serious cyclist has in their sights, and one of the hottest cycling books in the UK right now.

Routes all over Europe and the US are included. Some are of course obvious choices – like Alpe d’Huez in France – but others are lesser known. So be warned: reading this book might just mean adding more destinations to your cycling holiday wish-list.

More info

29. Ultimate Cycling Trips: World – Andrew Bain

Whether you want to discover new routes yourself or books to give as cyclist gifts, Andrew Bain’s book detailing 20 cycling trips will certainly leave someone hungry for adventure! This one has more of a slow travel bias, so it’s ideal for those who care more about exploration than tackling perilous routes.

All included here are photos, itineraries, maps and descriptions that will make you want to book that flight, right now. Destinations range from Canada to South Korea, via Italy, France and many more.

This is the ideal bike book for someone who loves to travel, encountering new places on two wheels. We love the fact that there’s more than the merest nod to sustainability in here too. As well as plenty of advice about improving your fitness level.

Speaking of which – there are routes for all levels here. So you’re guaranteed to find more than one you’ll be eager to tackle at the earliest opportunity!


Four amazing cycling coffee table books

And others!

Here are our selection of books that don’t easily fit into the other sections above. They’re eclectic and wonderful – enjoy!

30. The Rider – Tim Krabbe

Originally published in 1978 in Holland, and not appearing in English until 2002, The Rider instantly gained a cult following of more than 100,000 passionate road racers and cyclists.

This acclaimed cycling classic from one of Holland’s leading writers follows one 150 kilometre race, the mythical Tour de Mont Aigoual, in just 150 pages. Author Tim Krabbe paints a compelling and vivid picture of life inside the race, with such deep characterisation of each rider in his group that you feel the power and pain of every pedal stroke.

Amidst the hopes, joys, fears and disappointments of endurance racing, the book features flashbacks to Krabbe’s childhood and snippets of cycling history. (Like all the best sports autobiographies.)

If you love your racing it’s still one of the best cycling books to read, even four decades on.
The digital and audio version of this sporting narrative masterpiece are available on Amazon cycling books.

More info

Published 16 August 2018.

148 pages.

View on Amazon

31. Bikes and Bloomers – Kat Jungnickel

Women’s cycle wear – and freedoms – have come a long way since the Victorian era. Bikes and Bloomers is a fascinating, illustrated bicycle history book charting the beginnings of a movement that would empower and mobilise feminism for generations. One of the best cycling books for beginners or experienced riders who are interested in social history.

Discover with Kat Jungnickel, author and Senior Lecturer in Sociology the University of London, the pioneering inventions of six women in the late 19th Century. A new radical breed of convertible, adjustable, multi-use costumes to transform ordinary clothing into socially acceptable women’s cyclewear.

Bristol dressmaker Alice Bygrave built a dual pulley system into the seams of a skirt, and Mary Ann Ward, also from Bristol, patented the “Hyde Park Safety Skirt”, with internal side buttons to gather fabric for safe cycling. Julia Gill, a court dressmaker from Haverstock Hill, created a skirt that hitched up with a series of rings and eyelets. A convertible skirt-come-high-collar-cape was fashioned by Mary and Sarah Pease, sisters from York; and a three-piece cycling suit with a concealed mechanism to lift the skirt for riding was patented by Henrietta Müller.

Their innovative inventions not only made cycling physically possible for Victorian women, but mobilised women’s liberation long into the 20th Century.

More info

Published 1 May 2020.

336 pages.

View on Amazon

32. The Cyclist’s Training Bible – Joe Friel

This fifth edition of The Cyclist’s Training Bible is one of the best and most trusted cycling training books from world-renowned, elite endurance coach and author Joe Friel. If you want to find biking gifts they’ll refer to time after time, this has to be the one.

Friel has completely rewritten this edition with the latest science, data analysis, daily planning and skills development to help endurance athletes of all abilities get to, and stay, at the top of their game

It’s a one-stop shop for any cyclist wanting to increase fitness, power and speed, whether you’re a beginner or training for road races, criteriums and time trials; looking to improve your climbing or sprinting; or want to understand how to fuel and recover properly.

Use the worksheets, charts, planning tools and workouts to create a custom training plan and build aerobic and anaerobic endurance, skill, muscles and speed.

More info

Published 30 April 2018.

328 pages.

View on Amazon

33. Bespoke – Tom Bromley

For professional cycling fans wanting to banish the imposter syndrome to ‘speak cycling’, Bespoke is the book you need. With a rich history, vibrant culture and professional roots all across the world, cycling’s own language is an ever-changing, mysterious beast, so here it all is in one handy guide, courtesy of author Tom Bromley.

This beautifully illustrated encyclopaedia of cycling slang and must-know cycle-speak bridges the knowledge gap and covers the big races and key riders, stages, nicknames, tactics and more. This is unique among books about bikes, being a glossary of sorts.

You’ll get a good grounding in the history of the sport and you’ll learn your Lantern Rogue from your Poursuivant, as you flick through frame-worthy cycling illustrations from acclaimed illustrator Neil Stevens.

More info

Published 3 May 2021.

192 pages.

View on Amazon

Are these the best books about cycling?!

What do you think are the best bike books out there?

Have we missed any great cycling books?!

We’d love to know! Please comment below.







Please support Epic Road Rides

A huge amount of time and effort goes into the article you’ve just read, all with the aim of helping you!

If you found what you’ve read useful, I’d really appreciate it if you dropped something in the tip jar here.

It’s a way you can say thank you and help us carry on creating top quality content with no annoying ads and no pay wall.

Leave us a tip here!

Got a question for Clare?

Fill out this form and we will send it to Clare. We aim to get you an answer within 24 hours wherever possible!

We will use this info to send the enquiry to Clare and/or their team. Our privacy policy explains more and here’s a reminder of our disclosure policy and terms and conditions.

Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

The contents of this website are provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on it. You should carry out your own due diligence and take professional advice. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our website is accurate, complete or up to date. If you use any information or content on this website, download from, or otherwise obtain content or services through our website, it is entirely at your own discretion and risk. Epic Road Rides Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information and content on this website. Find out more here.

5 Responses to “33 best cycling books of all time (for road cyclists)”

  1. Hi, as vintage bike aficionados you might be interested that our award winning biography on Hélène Dutrieu is now available in an English (and French) edition. Hélène Dutrieu: the first female world champion cycling, the second (or first?) woman to fly a plane, a role-model for the suffragettes, winner of several cycle races and six-days, roaming Europe with her daring cycle stunt, beating male competitors on the bike and in her airplane, defender of Paris during WWI, WWII heroine, aviation pioneer known as the “girl hawk” of aviation because she was the most daring and accomplished woman pilot of her time. She first soloed in France in 1909 and within a year was setting altitude and distance records and made the first flight over Union Square, author/journalist, comedy actrice and much more. Discover why the American suffragettes went on the streets with signs reading “Dutrieu for president!” and discover her lifestory in a truly amazing biography with over 400 never before seen photos.

Leave your comment

  • (will not be published)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.