Need for the Bike

Need for the Bike

4.43 (221 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by  , Translated by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?



'Nobody evokes the transformative joy of cycling the way Fournel does here ... magical' - Herbie Sykes

"I ride to rest and to tire myself out; I ride to do myself good and to do myself harm"

... one of the many cycling paradoxes explored in this unique and delightful book.

"I've never got over this miracle"

Starting with the childhood joy of learning to ride a bike, Need for the Bike goes on to relate the agony of climbing, the angst of crashing, and all the other universal moments and feelings which all cyclists will recognise.

"To get on a bike is to take possession of the landscape"

The sounds, smells, pains and joys of riding with friends or alone, finding things on the road; getting lost, "re-reading" familiar routes; Paul Fournel's classic comes as close as any book has to an encapsulation of why we all need the bike ...
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 15mm | 221g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1788162692
  • 9781788162692
  • 45,882

Review quote

Few sportswriters fancy themselves members of the literary avant-garde, but Frenchman Paul Fournel is the real deal. In his carefully cadenced prose poem Need for the Bike, translated by Allan Stoekl, he shares a passion for the sport matched only by his love of language. * Bicycling * Captures cycling's joy and pain with matchless wit and elegance -- Richard Williams With a poet's precision and compassion, he has got to the heart of the same compulsion I have shared, to jump on a bike, and just go cycling off ... -- Ned Boulting If you don't know Fournel, then you're missing out ... -- David Millar Nobody - not anybody - evokes the transformative joy of cycling the way Fournel does here ... magical -- Herbie Sykes If the bike has ever touched you, Fournel's prose poem to two wheels is essential reading. For initiates to the Sunday gruppetto, it is an education; for ageing rouleurs, it is a lens on everything you hold dear about the beautiful machine. -- Robert Penn A beautiful and lucid evocation of all that is best - and worst - about riding a bicycle, by a writer for whom cycling and life are simply inseparable. -- Michael Hutchinson This classic collection is as great a book as has ever been written about cycling. Fournel's witty, insightful and affectionate prose has the kind of class that mesmerises the reader, whether they be a lover of bikes or simply an admirer of thoroughbred writing. Watching this French poet and author shifting effortlessly through the gears is like watching Anquetil pedal - and thanks to this fluent translation, readers in English can finally enjoy the lightness and precision of these essays. By several bike lengths, the cycling publication of the year. -- Chris Cleave Need for the Bike taught me how to think about cycling. Re-reading it made me fall in love with my bicycle all over again. -- Max Leonard
show more

About Paul Fournel

Paul Fournel is a French writer, poet, publisher, and cultural ambassador. He was awarded the Prix Goncourt for short fiction for Les Athletes dans leur tete. His Anquetil, Alone was published in English by Pursuit.
show more

Rating details

221 ratings
4.43 out of 5 stars
5 60% (133)
4 26% (58)
3 11% (24)
2 2% (5)
1 0% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X