Fuel your stoke when the weather's rubbish by curling up on the sofa with a good book about mountain biking
If you’re planning on being at home a bit more then chances are you’ll end up needing some new books to read. Here’s a selection to get you started.
Gary Fisher and the Bicycle Revolution
By Guy Kesteven
Where else to start than with the godfather of mountain biking himself, Gary Fisher? Authored by our very own contributor, Guy Kesteven, the biography dives into the birth of mountain biking as well as the Californian hippy culture that allowed it to flourish.
The Birth of Dirt: Origins of Mountain Biking
By Frank J. Berto
The version of the early history of mountain biking that’s retold with the least amount of vested interest.
“Relive the birth of a sport and the invention of a machine. In this fascinating book, Frank Berto, leaves no stone unturned in his quest for the truth about the beginnings of mountain biking and the invention of the mountain bike. Illustrated with period documents and vivid photographs by two of the early pioneers themselves (including Wende Cragg and Erik Koski), this book should put an end to the question of who invented the mountain bike. At the same time, it will let you experience the pioneering days of the sport for yourself.”
Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking
by Charlie Kelly
Whilst there is no shortage of vested interest in this version of history, it’s no less fascinating or valid.
“Charlie Kelly — co-founder of the MountainBikes company with Gary Fisher, organizer of the Repack races, and chronicler of the sport — now delivers the true, complete, and often unbelievable history of the rise of mountain biking and its lasting culture. Rich with first-hand descriptions and bursting with original photographs, drawings, and memorabilia, Fat Tire Flyer is the definitive history of one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century.”
Great Britain Mountain Biking: The best trail riding in England, Scotland and Wales
by Tom Fenton and Andy McCandlish
This is not a book to read to front-to-back but it is more than just a series of routes. It’s part inspiration and part information.
“The book is split into four sections – Southern England, Northern England, Wales and Scotland. Within each area is a detailed introduction, advice on what kind of riding to expect and when to go. Each area includes at least one featured route – 56 in total – complete with introduction, information box, route directions and Ordnance Survey map, together with suggestions for further rides (around 200 rides in total!), with abbreviated directions to allow you to plan your adventures. There’s also a detailed information panel with accommodation details, bike shops, trail centres and more. The book is illustrated with stunning photography throughout.”
Hurly Burly 6, the 2022 Downhill World Cup and Championships Yearbook
by MisSpent Summers
“Hurly Burly 6 is the 2022 UCI Downhill World Cup and Championships Yearbook, covering every round of the 2022 series and the World Championships across 276 pages of high-quality photography, event reporting and opinion features. Perfect for any downhill mountain biker or follower of the UCI World Cup series.”
Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design: the art and science
by Tony Foale
For those who can’t enough of banging on about fork offset, front-centre rear-centre balance and steering dynamics. Geek-tastic.
“There are a wide range of technical topics discussed within a relatively small book and so in some cases a prior knowledge of the basics has had to be taken for granted. Naturally some parts of the general text are more technical than others, but there should be little problem for any interested enthusiast in gaining a better understanding of the principles involved. It is not necessary to understand every last detail to derive benefit. To cover the subject adequately it is impossible to completely avoid mathematics, I have tried to keep this as simple as possible. The level of mathematics used is deliberately kept at a level below that requiring a knowledge of calculus, in the hope that the book will be of use to the widest range of readers. A multitude of diagrams and graphs from both data logging and computer simulation have been used to demonstrate various phenomenon without a great number of formulae” Download from motochassis.com
Race Tech’s Motorcycle Suspension Bible
By Thede and Parks
In a similar vein to the above book, Race Tech’s Motorcycle Suspension Bible is a must-read for bike nerds looking to further understand damping, spring rates, anti-squat and steering geometry. It’s not perfect – there’s a big section about Race Tech’s suspension tuning products, and being about motorcycles means it’s not only partly relevant – but it’ll give you a good foundation of knowledge.
Into the North Wind: A Thousand-mile Bicycle Adventure Across Frozen Alaska
by Jill Homer
Scott of the Antarctic on knobblies. With less death. Jill Homer is a singular individual. She has also written a great account of riding The Tour Divide.
‘Into the North Wind’ chronicles Jill Homer’s record-breaking bicycle ride across Alaska on the Iditarod Trail. Fitness, however, remained elusive as ambitious preparations left a wake of failures, sickness and injury. Even the existence of the trail remained in question — throughout the winter, Alaska experienced unprecedented heat waves and snow melt that threatened to render the Iditarod Trail impassable. By the time Jill lined up at the start, she was ready to chuck her dream into the barely-frozen lake. Instead, she pedaled across waterlogged ice, repeating her mantra of ‘one day at a time.’