Recommended reading

Clicking the book cover images below will take you to Amazon where you can read more about the book and purchase a copy if you would like to.  We receive a very small commision from Amazon for this which helps contribute to the cost of our next adventure.  The money comes from Amazon and doesn’t mean you pay any more for your book.  These are all books which we have read and found interesting or useful in planning our trips or providing inspiration.  We don’t receive anything from the authors for recommending these books.  Thank you!

Dervla Murphy – The Island that Dared

This wonderful book by Irish cyclist Dervla Murphy delves deep into the history and politics of this fascinating island nation and tries to understand its relations with near neighbour the United States.  A must for anyone who plans on visiting Cuba.  Click on the image to buy the book.


Sarah Outen – Dare to Do

Joe and I were lucky enough to hear Sarah speak at a recent festival.  In 2015 she completed the circumnavigation of the globe under her own power alone – rowing across the oceans and cycling overland – a phenomenal achievement.  Her understated style and honesty about the challenges she faced make this a refreshingly accessible book that everyone can take something from.  She is in particular, refreshingly candid about the mental health issues she dealt with on her journey. Her account of cyling (and camping!) as she crossed Canada in -30C temperatures is the stuff of legend.  This is a really inspriational book and an engaging read.

Lee Craigie – Joining the Dots – The Highland Trail 550

I have to admit that this is the only book in the collection that I haven’t read yet.  It is also the only one where the link doesn’t take you to Amazon, but to an independent bookseller.  I have included it as I have heard great things about this book and also because having heard Lee speak, I know what an inspriational speaker she is.  Her mission is to inspire more women and young girls in particular to get on their bikes and head outdoors.  The emotional currency that Lee finds in spending time in wild places on her bike shines through in everything she does.  Check out this podcast if you don’t know Lee and would like to hear more:

Graham Obree – The Flying Scotsman

Scottish cyclist Graham Obree’s self-built bike made of washing machine parts has rightly passed into cycling legend.  His radically alternative, challenging approach gave the world of cycling a much-needed kick in the pants and represented one of those rare and precious times when the underdog triumphed.  The book is inspirational, moving and searingly honest in a way that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

Dave Barter – The Year

In 1939 Tommy Simpson cycled 75,000 miles in a single year to win The Year challenge.  If you stop for a moment to do the maths you will find that this is a jaw-dropping average of more than 200 miles a day, every single day for a year.  The record of this phenomenal human achievement stood for over 70 years.  The book details Tommy’s life and cycling, but is also packed with tales of other riders who held the title in the pre-war years, including the inspirational Walter Greaves, who truimphed in 1936 in spite of only having one arm.

Dave Barter – Obsessive Compuslive Cycling Disorder

This book is a series of short articles written about cycling.  They are frequently funny, accessible and human and always entertaining.  It’s a great book to dip in and out of, particularly for times when you are feeling unmotivated. Available in Kindle format only.

Joe Kurmaskie – Momentum is your friend

This book details the author’s trip from one side of America to the other pulling his children behind him on a tag-along and trailer. It was the first book I read that talked about taking your child along with you on long-distance cycle rides and as such it planted the seed in my mind that became our VeloOdyssey trip in 2016.  Joe Kurmaskie’s highly-caffeinated, ‘talking a mile a minute and cycling nearly as fast’ style doesn’t match my own, but I still got a lot out of reading this book.  At times he operates in very much what I consider to be a ‘guy style’ by focussing on statistical achievements rather than the pleasure of the ride, but it is no bad read for all that – even if it only serves to focus your mind on the opposite approach.  It is also extremely funny.

Joe Kurmaskie – Mud, Sweat and Gears

Another Joe Kurmaskie book – this time detailing his ride across Canada with his partner and three kids.  It is best read as a sequel to the book above. It is once again very funny and entertaining, with often touching passages about the people they encountered along the way.

Joe Kurmaskie – Metal Cowboy

A series of articles from Joe Kurmaskie’s writing career – most of which will have appeared in various magazines over time, each of them written in Joe’s crazy-ass, hilarious style. A good, fun, entertaining book for lovers of cycling.

Jamie Andrew – Life and Limb

Scottish mountain climber Jamie Andrew lost both hands and both feet to frostbite in 1999 after a freak storm caused a routine mountain climb in the French Alps to go horribly wrong.  Jamie’s practical, no-nonsense approach to the challenges of everyday life have been an inspiration to people the world over.  The book details his accident, rehabilitation and return to the mountains which he clearly loves.  Written with humour and a complete absence of self-pity, it is a sobering reminder of the advantages we all take for granted as well as a massive motivator to put these to good use by pushing ourselves to achieve more.

Alistair Moffat – Hidden Ways

Alistair Moffat is a well known, award winning writer. This, his latest book, details his searches for the lost pathways of rural Scotland.  Anyone who rides in the Scottish Borders in particular would love this book.  It is full of anecdotes about the history of the landscape and the pathways that linked communities of the past.  Its a wonderful read, something like going for a walk with an interesting and well-informed elderly uncle.

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