Writing the Ride: Cycling and the Written Word

Cycling and writing share a long history, from the newspapers that sponsored the first road races (such as Paris-Brest-Paris, the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia) to pro riders’ biographies that fill every cyclists’ Christmas stocking (whether they ask for them or not). Writing about cycling has long been a way of selling bikes and the sport of cycling. But it’s also become a way of challenging and changing the sport; it was, after all, two investigative journalists (Pierre Ballester and David Walsh) who first exposed the Armstrong Affair.

On the 8 November, we discussed why they ride and why they write about riding with four cycling authors:

Isabel Best, a freelance cycling journalist who has written for Procycling, Rouleur and Cyclingnews.com, amongst others, and author of Queens of Pain: Legends and Rebels of Cycling.

Paul Jones, author of Corinthian Endeavour: The Story of the National Hill Climb Championship, I Like Alf – 14 Lessons from the life of Alf Engers, and the forthcoming End to End: A tale of Obsession, Hallucination and Happiness.

Marlon Moncrieffe, an interdisciplinary researcher and lead investigator on the project ‘Made in Britain: Uncovering the life-histories of Black-British Champions in Cycling’, who has written extensively on black British cycling champions and issues of race in cycling more broadly.

Ian Walker, a psychologist and champion ultradistance athlete who holds the world record for the fastest bicycle crossing of Europe, author of Endless Perfect Circles.

Access and download the discussion for free here.