From The New Yorker
At the start of this chronicle of a single bike race, the creator glances up from his gear to assess the crowd of spectators. “Non-racers,” he writes. “The emptiness of those lives shocks me.” In immediate, living prose, Krabbé, a novelist in addition to a cyclist, takes us with him, inch by inch, as he rides the hundred-and-thirty-seven-kilometre Tour de Mont Aigoual, a course through the mountains that may be better referred to as one of the most cruellest stages of the Tour de France. He imagines an official collecting his clothes “after I’ve died in the race” recalls a champion cyclist who suffocated to death whilst climbing one particularly nasty hill; and insists that “being a good loser is a despicable evasion.” Along the way, he lays bare the athlete’s strange mixture of arrogance and terror, viciousness and camaraderie, and the result is without doubt one of the more convincing love stories of latest memory.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
<div>”The Rider a beautiful brute, as hard and fast as a thin wheel in a concrete road.” The Observer (UK)
“Its 148 pages will flash by in a blur of reckless, high-speed pleasure.” The Independent (UK)
“The Rider is a great read a great ride. Krabbé’s half-day race, delivered kilometer by kilometer onto the page, shows the sport for what it is: painful, exhilarating, tactical, relational, fast, slow, dangerous, consuming, prone to mechanical failure, heroic, futile. The race and the book about the race becomes a raining and cold history of the rider’s life. But to say that the race is the metaphor for the life is to miss the point. The race is everything. It obliterates whatever isn’t racing. Life is the metaphor for the race; –Donald Antrim
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The instant cult classic about biking, road racing, and the bicyclists who love their sport. Originally published in Holland in 1978, The Rider went on to sell more than 100,000 copies. Brilliantly conceived and written at a break-neck pace, this is a loving, imaginative, and, above all, passionate tribute to the art of bicycle road racing. Tim Krabbé begins this story at the very start of the Tour de Mont Aigoual, ready to race his rivals through the mountains of Central France. Over the course of the 150 pages that follows, Krabbé takes his bike 150 kilometers, and pulls his readers into the life of the sport he loves. The Rider is beloved as a bicycle odyssey, a literary masterpiece, and the ultimate book for bike lovers in addition to the arm-chair sports enthusiast.