A TRUE CLASSIC OF CYCLING LITERATURE'Nobody evokes the transformative joy of cycling the way Fournel does here ... magical' - Herbie Sykes"I ride to rest and to tire myself out; I ride to do myself good and to do myself harm" ... one of the many cycling paradoxes explored in this unique and delightful book. "I've never got over this miracle"
Starting with the
childhood joy of learning to ride a bike, Need for the Bike goes on to relate
the agony of climbing, the angst of crashing,
and all the other
universal moments and feelings which all cyclists will recognise. "To get on a bike is
to take possession of the landscape"
The sounds, smells, pains and joys of riding with friends or alone, finding things on the road; getting lost, "re-reading" familiar routes; Paul Fournel's classic comes as close as any book has to an encapsulation of why we all need the bike ...
Paul Fournel is a French writer, poet, publisher and cultural ambassador. He was awarded the Prix Goncourt for short fiction for Les Athltes dans leur tte. His Besoin de Vlo (translated into English as Need for the Bike and Vlo) is a classic cycling text, in which he describes himself as the Proust of the chute. Anquetil, Alone is translated by Nick Caistor.
Few sportswriters fancy themselves members of the literary avant-garde, but Frenchman Paul Fournel is the real deal. In his carefully cadenced prose poem Need for the Bike, translated by Allan Stoekl, he shares a passion for the sport matched only by his love of language.
Captures cycling's joy and pain with matchless wit and elegance
With a poet's precision and compassion, he has got to the heart of the same compulsion I have shared, to jump on a bike, and just go cycling off ...
If you don't know Fournel, then you're missing out ...
Nobody - not anybody - evokes the transformative joy of cycling the way Fournel does here ... magical
If the bike has ever touched you, Fournel's prose poem to two wheels is essential reading. For initiates to the Sunday gruppetto, it is an education; for ageing rouleurs, it is a lens on everything you hold dear about the beautiful machine.
A beautiful and lucid evocation of all that is best - and worst - about riding a bicycle, by a writer for whom cycling and life are simply inseparable.
This classic collection is as great a book as has ever been written about cycling. Fournel's witty, insightful and affectionate prose has the kind of class that mesmerises the reader, whether they be a lover of bikes or simply an admirer of thoroughbred writing. Watching this French poet and author shifting effortlessly through the gears is like watching Anquetil pedal - and thanks to this fluent translation, readers in English can finally enjoy the lightness and precision of these essays. By several bike lengths, the cycling publication of the year.
Need for the Bike taught me how to think about cycling. Re-reading it made me fall in love with my bicycle all over again.