Perfect for those rainy days that you can't face taking the bike out, these ten inspirational autobiographies written by a selection of the world's most successful and celebrated cyclists will instantly transport you to the eccentric and determination-fuelled world of competitive cycling from the comfort of your sofa and the warmth of your home.
Smash Guinness World Records circumnavigating the globe with Mark Beaumont, win the Giro d'Italia, World Championship and Tour de France all in the same year with Bradley Wiggins, or discover how impossibly high expectations and fame could lead you to fall out of love with cycling in Victoria Pendleton's painfully honest account of her career. Whichever you choose, you're in for a ride.
1. The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
This book will change the way you watch competitive cycling forever as the web of lies, deceit and rule-breaking seemingly rife in the industry are unravelled before your eyes.
Hamilton wrote The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France, with the help of Daniel Coyle, to finally put an end to the countless lies he had been a part of throughout his cycling career.
Once Lance Armstrong's team mate, the details of this book are a complete indictment of Armstrong too as Hamilton's confessions completely tear apart Armstrong's previous denial of using drugs or doping to aid his performance. Hamilton doesn't spare himself at all, but he certainly brings his teammates down with him. For a glimpse into the secret world of seriously driven -and allegedly cheating- Tour de France competitors, this is an absolute must-read.
The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-Ups, and Winning at All Costs | RRP £18.99
2. Racing Through the Dark by David Millar
A thoroughly gripping read right from the start, Racing Through the Dark is David Millar's confessional account of his doping past. One of Britain's best cyclists, Millar was banned from professional cycling and arrested due to his substance misuse during competitions.
He used this time to reflect on what he had done and is now a major ambassador for anti-doping. He admits: "I doped for money and glory in order to guarantee the continuation of my status".
Despite having won stages of the Tour de France in his young, drug-free years, the doping culture of professional cycling soon encompassed Millar too and in turn led to his downfall. His autobiography tells the story of how he got involved in doping and details his journey from amateur to pro to suspended cyclist.
Racing Through the Dark | RRP £8.99
3. We Were Young and Carefree by Laurent Fignon
Two-time Tour de France winner, Laurent Fignon tells the remarkable story of his professional cycling career in a time before the words 'competitive cycling' and 'doping' came so readily hand in hand.
His autobiography We Were Young and Carefree openly details the truth of what went on behind closed doors during the prime of his career. Tales of rivalries and betrayals are mixed in with stories of wild parties, drugs and girls to provide a compelling account of life as a pro-cyclist in the eighties.
We Were Young and Carefree | RRP: £12.99
4. One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers by Tim Hilton
Beginning in the 1950s, One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers is a humorous, anecdotal tale of how cycling became such a prominent part of so many of our lives. Written by an amateur cycling-obsessee, it offers the perfect blend of hard-hitting history and personal racing stories. Hilton may have fallen in love with cycling during its hyped-up golden age, but his love has continued to grow ever since.
Different to most cycling autobiographies written by world-class professionals, One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers gives the more regular man's perspective and what a welcome one it is. Hilton may touch on Continental cycling and the rise and fall of the Tour de France, but the greatness of his writing comes in his detailing of the eccentric world of British cycling clubs, his journey from Land's End to John O'Groats and his competing in extinct amateur British races such as the Isle of Man race 1959.
One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers | RRP: £14.99
5. Tomorrow, We Ride by Jean Bobet
A tale of two brothers bonded in career by their passion for cycling, Tomorrow, We Ride is an almost tribute-like tale to Jean Bobet's late brother, the World Champion racing cyclist and three-time Tour de France winner, Louison. Set in the golden age of cycling, Tomorrow, We Ride details how Bobet quit his academic career for a life of cycling by his brother's side. Together they competed in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia as well as racing along thrilling and beautiful roads through Brittany and the Alps on leisurely rides.
As well as commending his inspirational brother, in this lifting tale of cycling spirit Bobet shares with us what it was like to be a part of the cycling buzz of the 1950s and 1960s - a time when Tour de France winners were celebrated as heroes and dreams of cycling completely lifted the beaten down post-war public spirit.
Tomorrow, We Ride | RRP: £12.95
6. Bradley Wiggins: My Time
As an Olympic Gold Medallist and the first British cyclist ever to win the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins became a huge household name in the summer of 2012.
In My Time, Wiggins gives us an idea of just what it takes to journey from the bottom of the pack in his famously shattering performance at the Tour de France in 2010, to be the first Brit ever to bring the title home just two short years later. He lets us into the behind the scenes world of competitive road cycling, detailing the horrific training schedules, team mate rivalries and what it is really like to be a member of Team Sky. A heart-warming, inspirational story, My Time is a commendable story of an incredibly strong and talented young cyclist who overcame all that was thrown at him to be crowned the best.
My Time | RRP: £20.00
7. Between the Lines by Victoria Pendleton
Written by Britain's most-loved female cyclist Victoria Pendleton, Between the Lines is an honest and emotional account of one woman's rise to the top and her struggle at coping with fame, pressure and expectations. With numerous gold medals and a MBE to her name, Pendleton has undeniably had a hugely successful career but it hasn't always been as easy as it once was. In Between the Lines, she reveals how she is falling out of love with the very sport that made her so incredibly famous. For an immensely truthful and revealing insight into the world of professional women's cycling and the tough plight of staying at the top of your game, Between the Lines is a must-read.
Between the Lines | RRP: £20.00
8. The Man Who Cycled the World by Mark Beaumont
The man who smashed the Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the globe on a bicycle, Mark Beaumont is an inspiration to all challenge-loving road cyclists. The Man Who Cycled the World is an account not only of this epic journey, but begins with details of his childhood and ends with snippets of his life post-world record too.
Following the 195-day mind-blowing feat of pedalling more than 18,000 miles alone, The Man Who Cycled the World will leave you breathless with envy and intrigue as you trail behind this remarkably determined man as he completes the journey of a lifetime. This is armchair travelling for the cycling enthusiast at it's absolute best.
The Man Who Cycled the World | RRP: £8.99
9. Born to Ride: The Autobiography of Stephen Roche
Born to Ride: The Autobiography of Stephen Roche focuses greatly on 1987 - the year that was to become the best of Roche's life. After winning the World Championship in Austria, the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia all in the same year, this was the year that Roche won the hugely prestigious triple crown that had only ever been achieved by one other cyclist in history.
Roche uses this aspirational year as the starting point of his autobiography and bounces off of it to explore snippets of the rest of his life. Extremely naturally talented, Roche also boasts sheer tenacity and determination without which his incredible feats wouldn't have been possible. An absolute must-read for anyone looking to break into the world of professional road racing, Born to Ride is packed full of intricate race strategy tips from the master, sure to give you a huge head start over fellow novice competitors.
Born to Ride: The Autobiography of Stephen Roche | RRP: £18.99
10. Easy Rider: My Life on a Bike by Rob Hayles
Son of cycling coach Killer Kowalski, Rob Hayles was unlikely to become anything other than a pro-cylist himself. After competing his first races with his own bike and a hand-me-down jersey, it wasn't long before Hayles was winning Olympic medals and speeding across finish lines on fancy bikes with his choice of sponsorship deals.
Easy Rider: My Life on a Bike tells the story of Hayles' journey from novice to professional, dropping in anecdotes about fellow riders Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish, David Millar and Bradley Wiggins for that extra slice of light-hearted and juicy entertainment value too.
Looking for some more cycling-related inspiration? Check out 10 Mind Blowing Things Made From Bicycle Parts.