The 2017 women’s cycling book list (and teasers for 2018)

It’s a kind of tradition that I collect a list of women’s cycling books published in a year. This is a very broad category – books by and about women cyclists and books with cycling in them by women.  It’s always fun to see what’s out there, they make great Christmas-birthday-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-Solstice presents, and it’s definitely showing how much of an interest there is in the sport.   So here’s the 2017 version, with photography, autobiography, cartoons, recipes, Young Adult fiction, adventure, inspiration and more!

If you want the previous booklists, here are books published in 2016, 2015, and all the ones I found in 2014, when I started.   And if you want some ideas for other women’s cycling-themed presents, or gifts for women who love bikes, have a browse through the shopping category of the site, of things I’ve seen over the years.

As always, I don’t get any benefit from recommending this, it’s just something I enjoy (although if you buy them via my Amazon Associates link, I’ll get a cut).  And of course, if I’ve missed anything, please do share, in the comments or on twitter, and I’ll edit it in.   I’d especially love to hear about books that aren’t in English.

How to Build a Bike: A Simple Guide to Making Your Own Ride by Jenni Gwiazdowski (Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-0711238985)

I’m a real fan of Jenni Gwiadowski, who runs the London Bike Kitchen, and you might remember my podcast with her from back in May, or me turning up on the Wheelsuckers podcasts she runs with Alex Davis, where I tried to convince Jenni to love pro women’s cycling, and the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

The LBK is all about giving people the skills, tools and space to fix their own bikes, so it’s completely in character that Gwiazdowski’s first book is about building one from scratch.   I really love Gwiazdowski’s style, and with all her experience teaching people over the years, she’s the perfect person to write this.

You can buy a signed copy of the book from the LBK shop, which I recommend for bike-y presents, or via my Amazon Associates link

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One of my favourite women’s cycling initiatives is the Adventure Syndicate, and my last few booklists have had books by the fabulous Emily Chappell, Juliana Buhring, Sarah Outen and Lee Craigie – and this year there’s another to

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Three happy films (& links) for February: Bike science fiction, Lee Craigie and WorldTour

If you, like me, live in the UK, you’ll know that February can be a hard month – so often grey, dreary, dreich, and feeling like it will never end.  Cyclocross is over, and the Spring Classics are yet to begin.  But there are also so many positives too – sunny days feel so much better, for their rarity, and days are getting noticeably longer; the first Spring flowers are out; and in the women’s cycling world, we get tons of great film-ettes that remind us that the winter is nearly over.

I’ve seen three that I love this week – and they include a book giveaway too, because I’m sharing the joy and want to give two lucky readers a nice gift!

1. Lee Craigie’s ‘Escape’ film

You probably already know I’m a huge fan of the Adventure Syndicate, a group of women who share their bike-based adventures to inspire and encourage others to do more.  One of the Founders, Lee Craigie, has made a little film for UK charity Sustrans, sharing her love of cycling as she rides the Caledonia Way.

It’s a gorgeous little film, combining a love of bike riding with gorgeous scenery, and Craigie’s soft Scottish accent.  It’s uplifting, inspiring and happy, and you all should watch it!

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Presents for women’s cycling fans 2016 – this year’s books (and a giveaway)

It’s become a tradition that I pull together posts full of present ideas for women’s cycling fans and cycling fans/cyclists who are women, for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice etc etc, or birthdays, or just because you want to treat someone (yourself).  And it’s also a tradition that I start with books published in 2016, either by women, or about women and cycling, because I do love a good cycling book.

If you want to see the previous posts, the 2014 booklist was the first, and included everything from autobiography to poetry, chicklit to history, science fiction to economics, and even books about men’s races!  Last year’s booklist had cycling and women’s health, more autobiography, photography and art, and more.

This year’s collection includes autobiographies, of course, but also a Young Adult novel, photography, economics, colouring books, fiction, city planning, global warming, a cookbook and some general bikey books.  It’s amazing how many things I found just from this year, and I always love the variety – and while this year’s theme was definitely ultra-endurance, and colouring, there are books about track, road, cyclocross and “everyday” cycling, including cycling for amputees – even a love story set at my favourite race, the Aviva Women’s Tour!  If you can find more that have been published in 2016, especially books in languages other than English, please do let me know in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit them in.

As always, I don’t get any financial benefit from sharing these books, BUT if you buy though my Amazon Associates, I get a little cut of Amazon’s costs (don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the writers’ royalties, it just helps me).

Like last year, I’m going to start with a giveaway, courtesy of Microcosm Publishing.  They sent me a copy of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling, by Kelli Refer, which was published in 2013, and if you’d like this book leave me a message below or tweet me at @_pigeons_, telling me you want it, and I’ll pull a name out of a hat for whoever gets the free copy on Friday 25th November.  There’s another giveaway later in the post, too….

If you don’t win it, it can also be bought directly from Microcosm, and if you browse around the bike section of their catalogue, you’ll find all sorts of other books about bikes by other authors, as well as a whole section of bike zines.  So what else have Microcosm published this year?  All their books can be bought from their site in paperbacks, e-books and more – click through the title link for that, author interviews, little videos about the books and more.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-18-47-45The Velocipede Races by Emily June Street (Microcosm Publishing, ISBN 978-1-62106-058-1)

I am always delighted by the different genres Microcosm link bikes to – so a Young Adult Feminist Steampunk novel was always going to make me smile.   Here’s how they describe it:

“Emmeline Escot knows that she was born to ride in Seren’s cutthroat velocipede races. The only problem: She’s female in a world where women lead tightly laced lives. Emmeline watches her twin brother gain success as a professional racing jockey while her own life grows increasingly narrow. Ever more stifled by rules, corsets, and her upcoming marriage of convenience to a brusque stranger, Emmy rebels—with stunning consequences. Can her dream to race survive scandal, scrutiny, and heartbreak?”

Order from my Amazon Associates linkUpdate!  Feargal McKay’s review on Podium Café.

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Couriering and other adventures: Sarah interviews Emily Chappell

Podcast interview logoFor six years, Emily Chappell was a cycle courier in London, living that dream of cycling-as-livelihood, and she’s now written a book about her life.  Of course it focuses on that courier lifestyle, but it weaves in so much more – stories about living in the city, romance and heartbreak, psychogeography, love of cycling, and addressing that glamour and mythology around couriering, and how it’s changed and changing.

I talked to Chappell about how she moved from blogging to writing, how couriering lead to bigger bike adventures (Cycling solo across Europe to Japan!  Riding across Alaska on a fatbike in winter!  Moving into ultra-endurance racing!) and lots more.  This is a long interview (sorry Emily!) so there’s a write-up of parts of it it over on Podium Café, or you can listen to it here, or click through to Soundcloud to download it.  And if you want to win a copy of the book, read on below…

 

You can get automated free podcast updates via the iTunes store here (leave us a review too!) or via our RSS feed. (Please note, this is a new RSS, so long-time listeners may need to re-subscribe)

Chappell’s book comes out on 7th January 2016, but you can pre-order it from your favourite local independent bookshop, or from AmazonWhat goes around: A London cycle courier’s story” (Guardian Faber, ISBN 9781783350537)

I very much recommend this book, so I’m really happy that, thanks to Faber & Faber, I’ve got a free copy to give away – if you want to win this, leave me a comment below, or tweet me with the hashtag #PigeonsGiveaway, and I’ll pull a name out of a hat on 24th December.

Follow Chappell’s adventures cycling round the world, getting into racing, and all kinds of other things, on her blog – and if you’ve ever thought about solo cycling adventures, check out her Q&A sections about the practicalities, including answers from other women about their international travels.  And of course you can follow her on twitter, and go and see her talk when she turns up in bookshops.

Big thanks to Feargal McKay, and to Lauren Nicoll at Faber for setting this interview up.

Presents for women’s cycling fans 2015 – new books & 2016 calendars – with a giveaway!

It’s that time of year again, when I start thinking about present ideas for women’s cycling fans, cycling fans and cyclists who are women, and one place I like to start is on a bookshelf.  I’ve been doing these posts for a couple of years, so I’m going to start by pointing you to the 2014 booklist, which including everything from autobiography to poetry, chicklit to history, science fiction to economics, and even books about men’s races!  This post is going to focus on the books published in 2015, either by women, or about women and cycling, a couple of 2016 calendars you might like, and includes three books I’ll give away to three lucky readers.  As always, I get absolutely nothing for promoting any of these – they’re just things I find interesting and think you might like.

Update!  I don’t get any financial benefit from sharing these books, BUT I’ve just set up an Amazon Associates account, so if you buy though my links, I get a little cut of Amazon’s costs (don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the writers’ royalties, it just helps me!)

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Let’s start with the giveaways!  All of these three are edited by USA bike activist Elly Blue, who you should be following, as she’s super-interesting, and are published by Microcosm Publishing.  They’re very different, but I really enjoyed each of them for different reasons.

Our Bodies, Our Bikes, edited by Elly Blue & April Streeter (Microcosm Publishing, ISBN 978-1-62106-895-2)

It’s a crowd-sourced collection of all kinds of information for women who ride bikes, and along with lots of advice for cycling newbies as the title suggests (they call it an homage to the classic Our Bodies, Our Selves), there are big sections about health in here, both physical and mental, covering everything from periods to pregnancy to menopause, cycling and disability, aging and cycling, and so much more.  Because there are so many contributors, there’s a range of tones and voices, and it’s the perfect thing to dip in and out of, although I found every time I read one piece, I’d have read 4 more before I realised!  It’s got humour, anger, practicality and a sense of the ridiculous in the pages, with happy illustrations all through it.  And if you read my 2014 guide, you know I love books which talking about cycling and the female anatomy, as I well remember wondering if I’d ever be able to ride through that saddle pain!

Amazon Associates link: Our Bodies, Our Bikes (Bicycle)

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Presents for women’s cycling fans 2014 – the booklist

Every now and then I do posts about gift ideas for women’s cycling fans and women who cycle.  It’s always a case of things I like, or that are recommended to me, I don’t get any personal benefit – I just want to help you buy nice presents for the nice people in your life!

Now, I love reading, so I’m starting with books, and I’m pretty sure there’s something here to suit every taste.  I’m roughly dividing this into books by women cyclists, about women and cycling, and books about cycling written by women, but it includes everything from autobiography to poetry, chicklit, history, science fiction, economics, books about men’s races and more.  My big thanks to Feargal McKay, whose reviews have introduced me to a lot of these (I’ll link to the reviews, to give you more of an idea about the books).  The link to each book title takes you to the publisher’s page where possible, which usually has information on how to buy. Update! I don’t get any financial benefit from sharing these books, BUT I’ve just set up an Amazon Associates account, so if you buy though my links, I get a little cut of Amazon’s costs (don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the writers’ royalties, it just helps me!)

Of course there are tons more books out there, so if you have any recommendations of womensy-cyclingy books, please get in touch, and I’ll put together an second post.

Books by women cyclists

Nicole Cooke:  The Breakaway (Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1471130335)

If you’re interested at all in women’s cycling in the UK, you have to read this one.  Cooke was the first cyclist to win the Olympic and World Championships road race in the same year, in 2008, and she fought all the way, on and off the road.  She wrote this without a ghost-writer, so it’s very much her own voice, and if you know anything about Cooke, you’ll know she doesn’t pull her punches.  Read the reviews by Feargal on Podium Café (part 1 and part 2) and on the Guardian.

My Amazon Associates link: The Breakaway

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Marianne Vos/Rick Booltink:  Op de Troon (ISBN 9789462280564)

From one World and Olympic champion to the next – this is the story of Vos’ 2012, where author Rick Booltink followed her around for the year. It’s very honest, talking about how she became anorexic in the push to win the Olympics, and then came back from that to win, and she talks about all the pressure and doubts.  Vos is this incredible character, and this is very honest…  but! it’s only available in Dutch!  It’s available on Dutch book-seller Bol.com, and my Amazon Associates link is here: Op de troon: Marianne Vos fietsmalle wielerkoningin

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