10 great cycling books

From physiology to history, and Rwandan nonfiction to children's stories

As parents and kids start collecting books for the beginning of school, let us suggest a little extracurricular reading for cyclists of all ages. Here we present 10 of the best new cycling books, from illustrated children's tales to useful physiology tips to the drama of professional racing.

Eric's Big Day

Aimed at children from four to eight years old, Eric's Big Day: A Bicycle Race Unlike Any Other follows Eric as he rides through his village to meet his friend Emily for a picnic. Along the way he encounters wayward bike racers who he helps with items from his backpack. Author and illustrator Rod Waters holds a Guinness World Record for cycling between Paris and London in just over 14 hours. www.velopress.com

Captain Disaster

To deal with the emotional turmoil of his father's death in a mountain biking accident, 12-year-old Kevin Tobin escapes into his imagination. A mysterious package in the mail arrives… as does a ruthless villain set on world domination. Mix in some superpowers, a teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend, and drama inevitably ensues. www.captaindisasterbook.com

Changing Cadence: Meditations on life, family & country from a leather bicycle seat

Laid off from being a corporate lawyer in the midst of a recession, Mike Dillon seized the opportunity to live a dream, and set off alone across the United States on a bike loaded with camping gear. Changing Cadence recounts his travels through the farming and fishing communities of the Southern US, the ranches of Texas, the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, and then up the Californian coast. Along the way he encounters other wandering souls: a London woman exploring the States by motorcycle, college students walking across the US, a woman hiking the circumference of the country on a prosthetic leg, and fellow cyclists like Don, a former Marine with a grey ponytail and a penchant for McDonald's Egg McMuffins. www.amazon.com

The Bike Deconstructed: A Grand Tour of the Modern Bicycle

With love and thorough knowledge, author Richard Hallett dissects the modern road bike, telling the history, evolution and function of each and every component. Detailed photography and helpful illustrations complement the careful and well-researched text. Simple and esoteric questions alike are addressed with aplomb. www.papress.com

The Six Pillars of Sports Recovery

Dr Rick Rosa is a chiropractor whose specialism is sports recovery. Having worked with scores of amateur and professional cyclists, Dr. Rosa works from the basic theory that the quicker you recover, the harder you can train and the better you become. This book details what Dr. Rosa calls the Six Pillars of proper training — Awareness of State (fatigue, stress, and so on), Rest, Play, Nutrition, Physical and Psychological — and how each can be improved, examining everything from laughter to sweat rates to sleep aids to kinesiology tape. www.rosachiropractictemplehills.com

Étape: 20 Great Stages from the Modern Tour de France

Veteran cycling author Richard Moore digs deeps into the drama of the Tour de France with exclusive interviews, highlighting the stoires of Greg LeMond's return from near death, the Tour Eddy Merckx describes as the toughest ever, Bernard Hinault's battle with Laurent Fignon and more. From the beautiful to the deceitful, Moore explores it all. www.thebesttdfstages.com

North of Highway 8

"Adventure is like trouble," writes Dan Woll. "If you go looking for it, you will find it. North of Highway 8 recounts Woll's adventures in northern Wisconsin, and musings on life and death with a fair number of laughs mixed in. Many anecdotes start with introductions such as the following: "If my buddy Scott ever dreamed of a three-way, most likely it didn't involve a Bicycle Yard Sale on the Cedar River Trail." www.danwoll.com/north-of-highway-eight

Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever

Written by two Wall Street Journal reporters, the new paperback edition of Wheelmen contains a fresh afterword with updates since the book's publication. The 370-page book tells the full tale of the complex rise and fall of the Lance Armstrong machine, detailing the many layers of financial and political. Wheelmen is arguably the definitive book on the larger-than-life subject that is Lance Armstrong. www.wheelmenthebook.com

Goggles & Dust

With restored vintage photography from the 1920s and 19302, Goggles & Dust tales a vivid tale of cycling in another era. The hardcover, 120-page book pulls from the private collection of Shelly and Brett Horton, who have amassed some 15,000 objects and 170,000 vintage images. www.hortoncollection.com

Land of Second Chances

Observer journalist Tim Lewis chronicles the true story of four men who found a new hope for Rwanda with cycling: Adrien Niyonshuti, Tom Ritchey, Jonathan Boyer and Paul Kagame. Together they struggle to put an upstart cycling team on the map. Young racer Adrien Niyonshuti becomes obsessed with earning a slot to compete in the London Olympic Games and his coach, Jonathan Boyer, the first American to race in the Tour de France, is there to support him. www.velopress.com

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